Program Overview

Small groups. Individual attention from award-winning authors. Readings each evening. Plentiful time to write. Hanging out in beautiful Santa Barbara.


Program Overview

Whether you’re interested in fiction, nonfiction, screenwriting, or writing for young people, writers at all levels of experience will benefit from AUSB’s Summer Writing Institute, including those who have already achieved publishing success and those who are still learning the craft.

Meeting at the university’s beautiful downtown campus, participants will work with accomplished, high-caliber faculty in intimate workshop groups (no more than ten students to one instructor) to learn and practice the qualities of exceptional writing in each genre. At the end of the week, students will come away with the ability to assess their own writing and the specific skills and techniques necessary to bring it to publishable level. Additionally, students will develop a keen awareness of today’s publishing industry and the opportunities it affords.

The exciting workshop topics range from “Finding Your Voice” and “The Essentials of Memoir Writing” to “Adapting for the Screen” and “Hooking the Little Ones.” Our stellar faculty includes such illustrious, award-winning writers as Gail Tsukiyama, author of The Samurai’s Garden, Josh Conviser, author of Echelon and Empyre, Lou Cannon, author of President Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime, Maureen Murdock, author of The Heroine’s Journey, Robin Swicord, Oscar-winning screenwriter & producer of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, John Pielmeier, playwright & screenwriter, Agnes of God, and R.L. LaFevers, author of Grave Mercy.

Every evening there will be a reading by a distinguished author, and two afternoons will feature panels on How to Get Published and Breaking Into New Genres. A first night reception with dinner, continental breakfast each morning and a closing luncheon are included in the cost of the institute. Check out our remarkable, award-winning faculty and their workshop descriptions at the links to the left, and apply now! Space is limited.

2013 SWI Program & Schedule

Sunday, July 28

3:00-7:00 p.m. – Registration in Community Hall
6:30 p.m. – Opening Mexican Fiesta dinner on the Rooftop Patio
7:30-9:00 p.m. – Welcome and reading by novelist Gail Tsukiyama (Women of the Silk, The Samurai’s Garden and her latest, A Hundred Flowers) (Community Hall)

Monday, July 29

7:00-9:00 a.m. – Continental breakfast (Community Hall)
9:00 a.m.-Noon – Workshops (see program for workshop locations)
4:00-5:00 p.m. – A Conversation between editor Jerry Roberts and journalist Ann Louise Bardach: “Journalism Yesterday and Today” (Community Room)
7:30-9:00 p.m. – Reading by memoirist Diana M. Raab (Regina’s Closet: Finding My Grandmother’s Secret Journal and Healing With Words: A Writer’s Cancer Journey) (Community Hall)

Tuesday, July 30

7:00-9:00 a.m. – Continental breakfast (Community Hall)
9:00 a.m.-Noon – Workshops
4:00-5:00 p.m. – Panel Discussion: “The Business of Publishing,” with author Ann Louise Bardach (Without Fidel: A Death Foretold in Miami, Havana and Washington), book designer Anna Lafferty, editor and author Marcia Meier (Navigating the Rough Waters of Today’s Publishing World), book shepherd Ellen Reid, and moderator and Ronald Reagan biographer Lou Cannon (Community Hall)
5:00-6:00 p.m. – Craft and Cocktails – An opportunity to mix and talk shop with fellow writers and faculty on the Rooftop Patio (also, meet Ramzi Hajj from Storiad and learn how Storiad can keep you connected to other writers and find publishers)
7:30-9:00 p.m. – Conversation about Screenwriting, Novel Writing and Publishing with Josh Conviser (Empyre and Echelon) and Marcia Meier (Community Hall)

Wednesday, July 31

7:00-9:00 a.m. – Continental breakfast (Community Hall)
9:00 a.m.-Noon – Workshops
7:30-9:00 p.m. – A Night of Improv with Emmy award winners and “Cheers” writers Cheri and Bill Steinkellner (Community Hall)

Thursday, Aug. 1

7:00-9:00 a.m. – Continental breakfast (Community Hall)
9:00 a.m.-Noon – Workshops
4:00-5:00 p.m. – Panel Discussion: “New Genres,” with blogger Jerry Roberts, memoirist and blogger Maureen Murdock, webisode author Mattie Brickman, YA novelist Jennifer Bosworth, and moderator and Pacific Standard magazine online editor Michael Todd (Community Hall)
5:00-6:00 p.m. – Craft and Cocktails – An opportunity to mix and talk shop with fellow writers and faculty (Rooftop Patio)
7:30-9:00 p.m. – Reading by journalist and author Ann Louise Bardach (Without Fidel: A Death Foretold in Miami, Havana and Washington)

Friday, Aug. 2

7:00-9:00 a.m. – Continental breakfast (Community Hall)
9:00 a.m.-Noon – Workshops
4:00-5:00 p.m – Special event with Barry DeVorzon: Learn how to make Masterwriter work for you and receive a free one-month subscription to this powerful writing software (Community Hall)
7:30-9:00 p.m. – Reading by novelist and short story author Ron Carlson (The Signal and Ron Carlson Writes a Story) (Community Hall)

Saturday, Aug. 3

7:00-9:00 a.m. – Continental breakfast (Rooftop Patio)
9:00 a.m.-Noon – Workshops
12:15-2:00 pm. – Closing luncheon (Rooftop Patio)

Frequently Asked Questions - FAQ

If you can not find the answer to your question in the list below, please use the Additional Questions form

Summer Writing Institute

How many people are in each workshop?

A maximum of 10 participants.

How many people will be in the program?

We expect up to 120 people.

How do I apply?

There is an online application here, or you can download the application and send it by mail to Admissions, Antioch University Santa Barbara, 602 Anacapa St., Santa Barbara, CA 93101, attention Summer Writing Institute.

How long should my writing sample be?

No more than 1,500 words, with manuscript formatting (double-spaced in 12-point Times New Roman font, printed on one-side only).

How soon will I hear whether I’ve been accepted?

If you apply by the application deadline of June 15, you will receive a notification email from our admissions office by June 30. The earlier you apply the better the chances are that you will get your first-choice workshop.

What if I don’t get my first workshop choice?

You will be assigned to your second or third choice, depending on availability.

Where are the workshops held?

At the Antioch campus in downtown Santa Barbara. You can see photos of the campus here.

Will there be agents and/or editors at SWI?

The Antioch Summer Writing Institute is a week devoted to craft and improving your writing. While it’s possible that an agent or editor may be invited to join one of our panels, there is not a formal agent/editor component to the program.

Are meals or housing included?

The opening dinner on Sunday evening and the closing luncheon are included in your tuition, as are continental breakfasts every morning of the institute. All other meals are up to you, as is housing.

Where should I stay?

We have arranged for a block of rooms at Hotel Indigo, which is just a couple of blocks from campus. There is more information about the hotel and the discounted rate here. You can also review other downtown Santa Barbara hotel options here. Be advised that the week of the Institute is also the beginning of Fiesta in Santa Barbara, the city’s annual celebration of its Spanish/Mexican heritage. As such, hotel rooms will fill quickly, so we advise that you arrange your housing as soon as possible.

What is the best way to get to Santa Barbara?

The Santa Barbara airport (SBA) serves all the major carriers. You can also fly into Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and either rent a car and drive up the coast (it is only about 90 miles, and a beautiful drive) or you can buy a ticket on the Santa Barbara Airbus. Another option is to come by Amtrak. The train station is near the beach, about six blocks from campus.

Do I need a car while I’m there?

You could get along fine without a car. Santa Barbara has a very good metro transportation system, and a fun electric shuttle that runs up and down State Street, which is the main street that stretches from uptown to the beaches. If you want to explore areas of the city outside of downtown (and there is lots to see), you may want to rent a car.

What’s the weather like?

Santa Barbara is known for its Mediterranean-like weather. Our average temperature year-round is 70 degrees. In the summer months, days typically are in the mid- to high 70s and nights may drop into the 50s. We do have periods of fog, so we recommend that you bring sweaters or a light jacket and dress in layers. If we have fog (actually, it’s a marine layer) it usually lifts by mid-morning.

What if I have to cancel?

If you must cancel your registration, and the cancellation is at least two weeks prior to the beginning of the Institute, we will refund your payment minus your application fee. Application fees are nonrefundable. If you must cancel within the two-week period before the Institute begins for any reason, you will forfeit your entire payment.



Additional Questions

If you have additional questions not answered in the FAQ section, please use this form: