Santa Barbara Writers Conference Scrapbook: Thirty Years of Literary Excellence
In 1983 Santa Barbara Mayor Sheila Lodge issued a proclamation making June 17th – 25th Santa Barbara Writers Conference Week because of the international prestige and success that the conference brought to the city.
From its simple beginnings at the Cate School in 1972, the Santa Barbara Writers Conference quickly established itself under the landmark blue roofs of the Miramar Hotel in Montecito. During the magical week of the conference, the classy, old fashioned, Miramar resort became a world unto itself where on any given day you might find Ray Bradbury, Charles (Sparky) Schulz, Jonathan Winters, Robert Mitchum, Elmore Leonard, Eudora Welty, Alex Haley, Gore Vidal, William F. Buckley, William Styron, Fannie Flagg, and many other literary lights who defined the last half of the twentieth century.
Couple those stellar talents with beach front cottages, tennis courts, and railroad tracks that went through the middle of the property at all hours of the day and night, and a stationary railroad club car restaurant by the tracks, and you had the perfect setting for a gathering of creative talent dedicated to nurturing and celebrating their shared love of writing. The Miramar became the home of the Santa Barbara Writers Conference for the last quarter of the twentieth century until it closed in 2000, ending an enchanted era in the history of American literature.