About the Conference

Meals | Professional Development | Conference Grounds | Lodging

The Conference

February 18-20, 2016

The Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writers Conference gathers writers, scholars, and lovers of literature for three days of instruction, conversation, and inspiration. We aim to provide practical information to writers of all levels, and to create a supportive environment for community building. Entering its thirteenth year, the 2016 conference will feature highly accomplished faculty in fiction, poetry, nonfiction, mystery, science fiction, fantasy, YA, and many who resist identification by genre. We have the honor of hosting Arizona Poet Laureate Alberto Ríos, 2015 National Book Award Longlist nominee T. Geronimo Johnson, two-time Edgar Award winning author T. Jefferson Parker, international sensation and O. Henry Award winner Xu Xi, “the Godfather behind creative nonfiction” Lee Gutkind, and many more talented authors and scholars. Students will also have the opportunity learn from experienced editors in several genres and gain valuable insights into the publishing world.

The conference schedule includes a broad variety of writing topics in several different formats and combinations, including lectures, craft classes, panels, and Q&A sessions. Our 2016 program will also feature special sessions by writers whose work engages with issues of global conflict. In bringing these writers together, we are creating a space for meaningful dialogues about art that bears witness to violence, instability, and oppression.

The Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writers Conference is a long, energetic, provocative conversation about what matters to us as writers. We encourage you to immerse your self in the experience.

We would like to thank the Piper Circle of Friends who have made donations that support scholarships for Arizona educators, Maricopa Community College students, and students in the Letras Latinas Writers Initiative. Your support truly makes a difference.


When you register for the Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writers Conference, you will have the option to select a packed lunch for an additional cost. The lunches will be provided on-site, and include delicious vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free choices, as well as choices for meat-eaters. Of course, you are always welcome to support one of the many local restaurants located with walking distance of ASU.

Professional Development

Arizona educators may earn 24 hours of professional development credit for attending all three days of the Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writers Conference. This is a fantastic opportunity to interact with writers, readers and educators while earning Professional Development credits. Arizona educators are also eligible for discounted conference tuition. If you’ve already registered, but wish to receive Professional Development credit, click here.

The Conference Grounds

The center of the Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writers Conference is the beautiful Historic Quarter of Arizona State University’s Tempe Campus. Most sessions will be held in the University Club and in Old Main, located on the north end of campus near College Avenue and University Drive. The Conference Bookfair and refreshment stations will also be set up in these buildings. Additional sessions will be held in Sun Devil Marketplace, just a short walk up College Avenue.

Click here for a map of the Arizona State University campus.
(The historic quarter is located at 4D on the map.)

On the opening night of the conference, we will invite our conference community to gather at Tempe Mission Palms Hotel in the heart of the Mill Avenue District for a catered reception and reading by some of our conference’s most esteemed faculty.

Click here for a map of the Mill Avenue District.


*NOTE: Remember to book your hotel accommodations before they fill up!  While we cannot guarantee room availability, we do suggest checking with these local hotels and making arrangements as early as possible. 

  1. Tempe Mission Palms
  2. The Graduate (Conference attendees receive a 20% discount.)** 
  3. Four Peaks Sheraton
  4. Marriott Residence Inn
  5.  Aloft (located near the light rail)
  6. Crown Plaza Airport  (located near the light rail)
    **Must book by phone and mention that the conference is an ASU event in order to receive the discount.