Meet Mare Swallow

In addition to being a professional speaker and speaking coach, Mare Swallow is the founder and Executive Director of the Chicago Writers Conference, an organization focused on helping writers grow their careers. She tells stories in bars, and she loves red wine.


What don’t people know about you?  

I’ve been keeping a diary since I was 10.

What do you hate? 

Noisy neighbors. Neighbors who are rude, loud, and/or disrespectful. Noisy people in general. When I’m out in public, I don’t want to hear you yapping on your cell phone. People who blow stop signs and don’t use their turn signals. And texting while driving. Oh, this could take awhile…

What is a little known fact about you? 

I’m an ex-surfer! I used to live in San Francisco, and I was determined to learn to surf. I did it, but very poorly. But I did it.

Who is your favorite character? 

I’ve been binge-watching Breaking Bad (cliché, I know) and my absolute favorite from BB is Hank Schrader, the DEA agent. Dean Norris plays him so incredibly well – he’s your hard-ass-I-won’t-show-my-feelings cop, but with so many nuanced tones. And Hank is one of the few characters on that show that I haven’t come to loathe. 

What do you geek out about? 

The Simpsons, although not as much as I did years ago. Up until a few years ago, I could quote any episode verbatim. When I was in college, my dream was to write for The Simpsons. I wrote two spec scripts and pestered the hell out of two story editors at The Simpsons to read them and give me feedback. Bill and Josh, I am sorry.

Want more? Tweet with her @ChiWritersConf