Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writers Conference

Tempe, Arizona, United States

Feb 22 - Feb 23, 2019


TUITION / COST:$250 early, $300 regular, $200 single day
For scholarship information visit

CONTACT: Felicia Zamora
PHONE: 480.727.1787

Featuring more than 50 craft talks, workshops and panels from over 25 faculty, the Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writers Conference is a unique and intimate creative writing experience where writers of all backgrounds, genres, and skill levels gather together and connect through the celebration and study of literary craft, culture, and community.

We seek to create a warm, welcoming and intimate environment that meets people wherever they are—whatever their background or level of experience—where writers can learn from and support each other as they work toward their goals.

Our conference is eclectic, comprehensive, balanced, and diverse. Beyond covering more prominent genres like fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, memoir, young adult, and genre fiction, we also touch on editing, publishing, and other aspects of the business of writing, and regularly highlight special topics like travel writing, climate change, graphic novels, translation, disability studies, hybrid forms, social justice, and more. In doing so, each attendee engages in a uniquely meaningful experience—the one that makes the most sense for them—personally tailored to their particular interests and needs.

The heart of our conference lies in our faculty. Our faculty represent nationally-recognized writers, editors, agents, educators, and other creative writing professionals. More importantly, they’re human beings making a difference in their communities. They’re here to do more than expand your skill set or open new ways of thinking about your work; they’re here to share their experiences, answer questions, and spend time connecting with conference attendees.

Beyond regular sessions, the conference also features advance pre-conference workshops, an exhibitor fair, readings, and other opportunities for attendees to deepen their experience. Fellowships and scholarships are available, too.

Early registration is $250 through December 31. Standard registration is $300. Single day passes are available for $200.

To meet our faculty, view the schedule, and learn more, visit


Featured Writers Include:

Keynote speaker Carmen Gimenéz Smith with Hanif Abdurraqib, Ramona Ausubel, Sally Ball, Matt Bell, Jennine Capó Crucet, Kirsten Chen, Natashia Deón, Terry Galloway, Tara Ison, Yvette Johnson, Kirby Kim, Erin Jade Lange, Bojan Louis, Terese Mailhot, Deborah Miranda, Patricia Colleen Murphy, Achy Obejas, James Sallis, Nicole Sealey, TC Tolbert, and more


Poetry, Fiction, Creative nonfiction, Playwriting, Screenwriting


Arizona State University
Arizona, United States

The Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing at Arizona State University

The Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing is the artistic and intellectual heart of a vibrant, multinational and culturally diverse world of writers. Housed in the historic President’s Cottage at Arizona State University, the Center and its grounds serve as an inspiring, supportive environment in which writers, faculty, students, and community members can exchange ideas and share an appreciation for literature and writing.

The Piper Center is dedicated to serving its writing communities, both local and global, by offering exceptional literary programs and resources, and a variety of educational opportunities to support writers in every stage of their development. These programs include:

•Your Novel Year – An accelerated online certificate in writing the novel. Featuring tracks in Fiction and Young Adult Fiction, the certificate offers small classes, expert instruction, a full 12 to 18 months of mentoring, and a supportive community of fellow writers. This unique program provides novice writers the framework and structure to complete a polished manuscript, while also incorporating tools for publication and professional development. Knowledgeable, award-winning authors, including Bill Konigsberg, Amy Nichols, Jewell Parker Rhodes, Barry Lyga, James Blasingame, Beth Staples, and many more, guide students in bringing their novels to the page.

•The Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writers Conference – Each spring, the Piper Center brings together multigenre authors and publishers from Arizona and throughout the world for its annual Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writers Conference. With three days of lectures, workshops, readings, and panels, attendees immerse themselves in a global community of writers to engage in discussions on topics most pertinent to modern writing and publishing. Through the guidance of industry veterans and the camaraderie of fellow writers, attendees leave the conference armed not only with inspiration, but also with the practical knowledge and tools to advance their work and careers.

•Piper Writers Studio – Throughout the year, the Piper Center provides an extensive assortment of in-person and online classes dedicated to supporting writers of all experience levels. These craft lectures and workshops aim to improve the skills of students writing fiction, poetry, memoir, young adult, mystery, science fiction, fantasy, historical fiction, and many other genres of creative work. Piper Writers Studio courses are admired for being both challenging and nurturing, led by excellent, attentive faculty who reveal and redefine what it means to write.

•The Distinguished Visiting Writers Series – Annually, the Piper Center invites authors of particular distinction and merit to the ASU campus and greater Phoenix metropolitan area for a variety of celebrated events, including public readings, lectures, craft talks, panel discussions, writing residencies, and outreach events. Recent and upcoming visiting writers include Margaret Atwood, Amy Tan, Michael Ondaatje, Aimee Bender, Jim Shepard, Stephen Dobyns, Tony Kushner, Michael Chabon, Zadie Smith, Elizabeth Kolbert, Marlon James, Amitav Ghosh, and many more.

•Piper Center Writer-in-Residence – As part of the generous endowment from the Piper Charitable Trust, the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing welcomes Distinguished Writers in Residence into the ASU and Phoenix metro area communities for extended stays. Previous Writers-in-Residence include Xu Xi, Michael Schiffer, Jem Poster, Michael Stackpole, Kevin McIlvoy, and Lee Gutkind.

•Piper Global Initiatives Teaching and Writing Fellowships – The Piper Global Initiatives program seeks to promote understanding, celebrate multiple perspectives, and foster the exchange of ideas and creativity throughout local and international writing communities. With this mission in mind, the Piper Center awards several competitive international teaching and writing fellowships to students in ASU’s MFA Creative Writing program, with current and recent opportunities for exchange in Hong Kong, Singapore, Greece, Prague, Montreal, China, Oxford, Wales, and Argentina.

• Financial Times Oxford Literary Festival – The festival welcomes thinkers and writers from across the globe to the city of Oxford for a week of creative and literary engagement. Arizona State University is the first American University to partner with the Festival, and due in part to this relationship, the Festival developed a new program on American literature and culture, which last year featured some two dozen American speakers among writers and panelists from over 20 countries. The Piper Center is a sponsor of the festival and selects notable American authors to represent the Center at the festival each year.

To learn more about the Virginia G. Piper Center’s mission and programs, please visit