Sunday evening, July 29, the students, faculty, and advisory board of Antioch University Santa Barbara’s first Summer Writing Institute (SWI) were welcomed by Director Marcia Meier, AUSB President Dr. Nancy Leffert, and Board Chair Victoria Riskin for drinks and dinner on the campus’s beautiful rooftop patio.
A delicious Mexican feast was catered by the recently opened on-site café Book Ends, with wine generously donated by Hearst Ranch Winery. Guests also enjoyed hand-scooped McConnell’s ice cream for dessert before heading downstairs to Community Hall for the evening reading by Gail Tsukiyama, best-selling author of seven novels, including Women of the Silk, The Samurai’s Garden, and her latest, A Hundred Flowers.
The self-effacing novelist shared humorously about what it takes to research, write, and edit consistently lauded manuscripts, while keeping ideas fresh from one book to the next. She read several excerpts and took questions from the delighted audience. Tsukiyama is leading the Fiction workshop, Finding Your Voice, throughout the week.
Workshops also include two memoir classes, The Essentials of Memoir Writing led by Diana Raab, poet and author of Regina’s Closet: Finding My Grandmother’s Secret Journal and Healing With Words: A Writer’s Cancer Journey, and Making Meaning From Your Memories: An Intermediate Memoir Workshop led by Maureen Murdock, best-selling author, The Heroine’s Journey, editor of Monday Morning Memoirs: Women in the Second Half of Life and Huffington Post contributor; Long-form Nonfiction led by Maria Streshinsky, Editor in Chief, Pacific Standard magazine and former award-winning managing editor, The Atlantic; and Screenwriting – Developing Your Story Intuition led by Robin Swicord, Oscar®-nominated screenwriter, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Memoirs of a Geisha.
The participants accepted to this year’s SWI are spread evenly across the three main workshop genres—Fiction, Nonfiction, and Screenwriting—and represent a wide range of ages from 17 to 70. Approximately two-thirds traveled to Santa Barbara from such places as Bayside NY, Bethesda MD, Marco Island FL, Swansea, IL, Scottsdale AZ, Humble and Fort Worth TX, and Vashon and Mercer Island, WA.