January 24-26, 2018

America's Best Writers Festival



Sentator Barbara Boxer

The Writers Festival is a stimulating, thought-provoking event that brings many points of view together from talented writers and participants at a time when we need to hear each other more than ever.


Pico Iyer

I simply can’t get over the elegance, the lavishness, the generosity and the real sense of passion that animates your Festival and lights up all of us who become part of it. From the level of attentiveness in taking care of every last detail to the deeply informed, engaged and knowledgeable people in the audience, all of whom have such stories and insights to add (as evidenced in the exceptional level of questions from the floor); the fact that so many people here care so deeply about the word and the world, filling the rooms to overflow.

It’s something hugely to be proud of, after all the hard work that paid off in radiant weather, a flawless event and such happiness for so many.

Getting to join you all at Rancho Mirage this past winter was truly one of the highlights of my year. It so affected me, in fact, that I … never stopped talking about Lucie Arnaz and some of the remarkable audience members that I met.

Thank you for supporting the word and the idea so generously, and for finding a way to share some of us with your tremendous community out there.


Linda Johnson Rice

The RMWF was wonderful. I felt honored to participate. You and your team made all the guests feel special from the valet parkers to the greeting ambassadors.. all excellent.


Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan

Most exciting, interesting book festival that I have ever been to.


Bret Stephens

So now I’m sitting in my office, already deep in reverie about the extraordinary days just spent in Rancho Mirage.

Thanks for your generosity, friendship and faith in me. As I mentioned yesterday, the Writers’ Festival is the best of its kind and will soon be a landmark institution of literate American culture. All of us authors at the festival felt thrilled to be a part of it.


Del Quentin Wilber

This has been one of the truly inspiring conferences I have ever attended. Thank you so very much for including me. This has been amazing. I’m not usually a gusher, either. You should be extremely proud of your festival. It hit all the high notes and all the right notes.

2017 festival comments


Peggy Jacobs & Bob Howard

We thank you for creating and implementing this marvelous Writers Festival. It is a treasure to the community and a personal treasure to Bob and me.

Van Gordon Sauter

In four years, about 12 days on stage, the festival has emerged a major player among the American book festivals. All the work of one man, whose curiosity, enthusiasm and unrelenting insistence upon quality have defined the conference. And the whole town of Rancho Mirage stands with him in the effort. Bravo, Jamie Kabler!

Hilary Wills

Congrats and kudos to you for a wonderful Writer’s Festival event! I arrived really early as I was fearful of not being able to park. Who knew that the most efficient valet would be laid on? Coffee and croissants too! And really helpful guides to direct you stationed at every corner and post. One of the best organized events I have ever attended in the Valley!

Brenda & Paul Lilly

At the end of the 2016 Festival, I had mentioned to Aaron Espinosa, Dave Bryant and Jamie that it had been one of the most engaging events I had ever attended and prompted me to convince my husband to become angel donors for 2017. One of my favorite quotes at that time was “I live my life in expanding circles; therefore my journey never ends.” Until attending the 2016 Festival, I had begun to feel like my circles were shrinking, not expanding; so the experience was life-changing for me.



Dave Barry

The best Writers Festival in the Universe.


A. Scott Berg

Thank you for inviting me to the Festival again. It’s just wonderful what you’ve built in such a short time — an instant institution; and it’s win-win — for the community (the library, the booksellers, the audience) and for the authors. Certainly for this author, as it’s exciting to speak to an eager and enlightened crowd.


Lee Child

I have been to Writers events on all 4 continents and this is the best in the World.


William D. Cohan

Just wanted to take a moment to thank you and your incredible team at the RMWF for making the past three days so interesting, informative and entertaining. Congratulations on making this such a HUGE success and I hope to see you again soon. I had a great time, made some new friends, saw some old ones and learned a little. Can’t ask for more than that!


Sally Denton

I just wanted to convey my pleasure and gratitude at being invited to attend this fabulous event. It was so over the top in every way. It was a stunning few days of intellectual and creative inspiration and you are obviously the genius behind it.


Lord Michael Dobbs

What an extraordinary festival you have created. I have never been to a better organized, more fun literary occasion. I feel I learned far more than I gave. We were delighted to be part of your magic. Thank you so much for including us.


David Ebershoff

Many thanks for including me in this year’s RMWF. You put on an incredible show and it is the best organized, most upbeat, and enthusiastically supported festival I’ve ever attended. It was an honor to be a part of it and you should be very proud of what you have created in three short years.


Marvin Kalb

The best Writers Festival in the United States.


Victoria Kastner

Last night’s wonderful party will be my closing memory of this inspiring festival. It has been a marvelous celebration of words, art, beauty, and friendship.


Jodi Kantor and Ron Lieber

We can’t thank you enough for masterminding that great festival, inviting us to share our work, planning event after great event, and even arranging a snowstorm so we could stay a few extra days. Seriously, we wish everyone treated authors the way you and your crew do. We were stunned by the beauty of Rancho Mirage, impressed by the professionalism of the event, and so happy to make new friends among the authors and guests.


Beth Macy

Thanks so much for a wonderful festival experience. You did a remarkable job — that was a LOT of excellent content you packed into a short, exciting few days. My favorite part was getting to know people like Hampton Sides better, and having late-night conversations with journalists doing some really important, top-level work. Writing from Roanoke, Va., I don’t often get to delve into such interesting work conversations with people like Bill Cohan, and Jodi Kantor and Ron Lieber, with whom we had dinner with on our last night. Great hearts and brains, those guys! Thank you deeply for giving me that experience.


Molly Guptill Manning

I just wanted to thank you for hosting such a wonderful literary festival! It was so well-organized, the library was a beautiful venue, and you could not have been more generous or welcoming. It was such a treat to see Sunnylands and your home — from the beginning to end, the festival was just fantastic. Thank you so much for inviting me to be a part of it.


Andrew Roberts

Rancho Mirage is set fair to become the finest literary festival in the United States of America.


Hampton Sides

What an embarrassment of riches, this caliber of writers.

2016 festival comments


Chotsie Blank

I am still in awe over what I was able to attend at your writers festival and now you are offering what I was unable to attend as well, since I could only be at one place at a time. What a dividend, and ever so many thanks. Thanks for enriching my desert life!

Michael Childers

Congrats on all the well deserved kudos and great press articles about your brilliant Writers Festival. It was beyond all expectations; so beautifully organized, well thought out, well produced, running the gamut from comedy to Putin’s seminar. Just absolutely incredible. What a gift you have given to the desert on this one. You should glow with pride.

Harry Oppenheimer

I cannot describe what this weekend has meant to me. The erudition and intellectual wildfire I experienced has my synapses running amok. Thank you for creating one of the peak experiences of my life; in other words, I loved every minute of the Rancho Mirage Writers’ Festival of 2016.

Erin Simpson

Thank you so much for having me at this year’s festival! I had such a wonderful time and it was an incredible event, from start to finish. The festival team created a flawless event – and you have such an engaged and enthusiastic audience! It was truly a unique and memorable festival. I’m already looking forward to next year! And after talking with all of the authors, I can safely say that everyone had an amazing time (and all the East Coasters were so excited to trade the snow for the Cali sun!).

Pamela Smallwood

How do you thank someone who provides access to a program that elevates your awareness of the very issues you’ve been pondering? And how do you thank them for executing that learning opportunity in such an entertaining manner? In this case, noting the many formal accolades you’ve already received, I’ll just say it straight. You nailed it! Thanks for the gift of reinforcing my existing knowledge while presenting me with new perspectives to consider on such varied topics of importance.

Van Gordon Sauter

Again my congratulations on a fabulous festival. I was awed at something of such merit being executed with such imagination and authority.



Dave Barry

Wonderful program. Wonderful audience.


A. Scott Berg

Thanks for … once again, for the very nice reception and it is the best audience anywhere. (Also a great auditorium!) Renewed thanks for a really nice (though brief) time. And congratulations! You did/do an amazing job.


Richard Breitman

Everything was extremely well run. Sunnylands was unforgettable! Please convey our gratitude to the whole team involved in running the conference.


Jeff Chang

I hope this finds you still in the glow of last weekend’s amazing festival. I just wanted to send my deepest thanks and gratitude for your invitation. The talk itself is pretty much going to be etched into my mind forever!


Jonathan Darman

Thank you for that truly wonderful visit to Rancho Mirage. I was so impressed by the festival you’ve put together—thoughtful and courteous organizers, great writers, smart audience members and the most splendid of settings.


Nathan Filer

Thank you so much for putting on such a special festival and for welcoming me as a guest. I had the most fun and met so many fascinating authors, angels and attendees.


Jonathan Gottschall

The Rancho Mirage Writer’s Festival is a paradise for readers and writers.


Sarah Lewis

Thank you for such an incredible time at the Rancho Mirage Writers Festival! I couldn’t have imagined more thoughtful, engaged audience—an author’s dream. I was also thrilled to see that we sold out of the book!


Mona Simpson

Thank you so much for having me to the Rancho Mirage Writers Festival. I loved my days there. The small group on Friday was especially meaningful; it’s rare to actually get to know people at writers’ festivals (I’ve been to many) and it was wonderful to talk about something real for a long time in your beautiful glass building with its amazing vistas. I’m still thinking about the light.


April Smith

I must have done every major (and minor) festival and book convention in the country, and from the author’s point of view, this was, hands down, the best. You delivered a smart, eager audience who made the effort worthwhile, and there were no duds amongst the authors.


Deborah Solomon

Thanks so much for the grand welcome this week. The preparation and execution of the entire festival were exemplary, and I feel very lucky to have been included.


Michael York

Many congratulations on the undoubted triumph of the recent Festival. Pat and I certainly had a wonderful time and are indebted to you and your colleagues for enriching our lives so much during these past few days. Brava! Everything was so well organized and enjoyable and, not least, we made many new friends.

2015 festival comments


Peter Bart

I think you not only staged a terrific event, you also impacted the community. A very positive and encouraging impact.

Phyllis Bart

You outdid yourself this past week. As Variety would say the book festival was BOFFO. Congratulations.

Frances Horwich

Kudos! Congratulations! Admiration! Most importantly you have created a legacy for the valley and a personal highlight for me. Thank you does not quite cut it but sincerity is part of my being and it comes from my heart!

Susan Loder

I want to thank you for a most extraordinary and elegant event, from start to finish. The Writers’ Festival was a joy and a pleasure from the first day to the last—and the selection of writers and lectures far beyond what anyone might have expected or hoped for. I was and and am proud to be an Angel and so look forward to next year’s writers’ series.