Our 2019 speakers are booked. We will be posting details in the next few days.

2019 Ross Macdonald Literary Award TBA

On opening night of the 2019 Santa Barbara Writers Conference, a TBA author is slated to receive the Ross Macdonald Literary Award. This award is a U.S. book prize given some years by the Santa Barbara Book Council to "a California writer whose work raises the standard of literary excellence." The award is named in honor of California mystery novelist, Ross Macdonald, whose novels were set in a fictionalized version of Santa Barbara, California.

Past Recipients

  • 2002 - Ray Bradbury

  • 2003 - Dean Koontz

  • 2004 - Sue Grafton

  • 2005 - Mark Salzman

  • 2006 - Robert Crais

  • 2007 - T. C. Boyle

  • 2008 - James Ellroy

  • 2016 - Dennis Lynds

  • 2017 - Fannie Flagg

  • 2018 - Pico Iyer

  • 2019 - ???

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Pico Iyer was the Ross Macdonald Award recipient in 2018


Lisa See

Sunday June 16, 8:00 PM, El Cabrillo

Lisa See is the New York Timesbestselling author of Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, Peony in LoveShanghai GirlsDreams of Joy, and China Dolls. Her most recent novel,The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane, was an instant New York Timesbestseller. Her upcoming novel, The Island of Sea Women, will be released in March 2019. Booklist has put The Island of Sea Women on its “High-Demand Hot List,” while Library Journalhas made The Island of Sea Womena “Pre-pub Pick” for 2019. Jodi Picoult has given her praise: “Lisa See excels at mining the intersection of family, friendship and history, and in her newest novel, she reaches new depths exploring the matrifocal haenyeo society in Korea, caught between tradition and modernization.  This novel spans wars and generations, but at its heart is a beautifully rendered story of two women whose individual choices become inextricably tangled.”  

 Ms. See has also written a mystery series that takes place in China, as well as On Gold Mountain, which is about her Chinese-American family. Her books have been published in 39 languages.  Ms. See was honored as National Woman of the Year by the Organization of Chinese American Women in 2001, was the recipient of the Chinese American Museum’s History Makers Award in 2003, and received the Golden Spike Award from the Chinese Historical Society of Southern California in 2017.

 Ms. See wrote the libretto for Los Angeles Opera based on On Gold Mountain, which premiered in June 2000. That same year, she also curated the exhibition On Gold Mountain: A Chinese American Experience at the Autry Museum. Ms. See then helped develop and curate the Family Discovery Gallery at the Autry Museum, an interactive space for children and their families that focused on Lisa’s bi-racial, bi-cultural family. The installation was up for twelve years. In 2003, she curated the inaugural exhibition—a retrospective of artist Tyrus Wong—for the grand opening of the Chinese American Museum in Los Angeles. In addition, she designed a walking tour of L.A.’s Chinatown and wrote the companion guidebook for Angels Walk L.A. to celebrate the opening of the MTA’s Chinatown station.  As a longtime trustee on the University of California Press Foundation, she endowed the Lisa See Endowment Fund in Southern California History and Culture.

You can learn more about her at www.LisaSee.com.


Steph Post

Monday June 17, 8:00 PM, El Cabrillo

Steph Post is the author of the novels Miraculum, Walk in the Fire, Lightwood, and A Tree Born Crooked. She graduated from Davidson College as a recipient of the Patricia Cornwell Scholarship and winner of the Vereen Bell award, and she holds a Master’s degree in Graduate Liberal Studies from UNCW. Her work has most recently appeared in Garden & GunNonBinary Reviewand the anthology Stephen King’s Contemporary Classics. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, a Rhysling Award and was a semi-finalist for The Big Moose Prize. She lives in Florida. 

Website: www.stephpostfiction.com
Twitter: @stephpostauthor
Instagram: stephpostauthor


Stephen Marley

Tuesday June 18, 8:00 PM, El Cabrillo

Stephen Markely’s new novel is Ohio. In it he depicts an American generation fumbling through disillusionment and a turbulent new age of war, addiction, political unrest, and unemployment.

Markley is a gifted writer, masterfully weaving together the stories of his protagonists through a variety of perspectives and timelines that culminate in a stunning reveal. 

Stephen Markley is an author, screenwriter, and journalist. A graduate of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop, Markley’s previous books include the memoir Publish This BookThe Unbelievable True Story of How I Wrote, Sold, and Published This Very Book, and the travelogue Tales of Iceland. He lives in Los Angeles.


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Coming soon

Wednesday, June 19, 4:00 PM, El Cabrillo

To be announced


Taylor Jenkins Reid

Wednesday June 19, 8:00 PM, El Cabrillo

Taylor Jenkins Reid is the author of The Seven Husbands of Evelyn HugoOne True LovesMaybe in Another LifeAfter I Do, and Forever, Interrupted. Her novels have been Indie Next Picks, chosen by Book of the Month, and featured in People, US Weekly, Entertainment Weekly, Good Morning America, and more. Her newest novel, Daisy Jones and the Six, will be out March 5th. She lives in Los Angeles.



Jeffrey C. Stewart

Thursday, June 20, 8:00 PM, El Cabrillo

Jeffrey C. Stewart is a National Book Award Winner for Nonfiction (2018). He is a Professor of Black Studies at UC Santa Barbara, where he was chair of the department from 2008-2016. Dr. Stewart is the author of numerous articles, essays and books, including The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke, Paul Robeson: Artist and Citizen,

1001 Things Everyone Should Know about African American History, an essay to the exhibition catalog “Procession: The Art of Norman Lewis,” and the foreword for “Barthe: A Life in Sculpture.” He founded the Black Studies Review: An Undergraduate Research Journal, for which he won the Chancellor’s Faculty Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research Mentoring (2018). Professor Stewart has taught at Harvard University, Yale University, UCLA, Tufts University, Howard University, Scripps College, and George Mason University.