Desert Nights, Rising Stars Conference Returning to ASU in October

The Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writers Conference is returning to ASU’s Tempe campus on October 12-14 after several seasons away.

The “literary event of the year,” hosted by Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing, will feature 70 craft talks, workshops, panels, and readings from some of the industry’s most influential voices, including Superstition Review’s founding editor Patricia Murphy.

The conference spans a variety of genres and forms: fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, memoir, screenwriting, young adult, and picture books.

Sessions will discuss editing, publishing, the business of writing and the writing life. Discussion topics include travel writing, climate change, graphic novels, translation, disability studies, hybrid forms, social justice, and more

“I’ve been to lots of writing conferences in my time, and I’ve always learned something really vital about the art of writing, the practice of writing by being at conferences. It isn’t only the presentations and workshops and readings but also the chance meetings and conversations you have along the way,” says Sheila Black.

This year’s lineup includes more than 60 presenters, such as keynote speaker Joy Harjo who served three times as the U.S. poet laureate and Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Natalie Diaz. Attendees will have an opportunity to intimately engage with these voices in group readings.

“We went big this year and sent out invitations to all of the major writers we wanted, and not one person turned us down,” says Sheila Black, assistant director of the Piper Center. “The depth of talent at this year’s conference is amazing and will cover multiple genres.”

Black continues, “I think what makes a writing conference particularly valuable is the opportunity to get up close and personal with a number of different writers (including fellow attendees) and learning through hearing about their lives: how they made the books they made, what tricks and tips (often hard-won) they picked up along the way.”

View the schedule and the list of conference faculty. Find more information here.

Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writers Conference for 2023 is sold out, but please check out the faculty and schedule and think about joining next October for the 2024 conference. 

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