Desert Nights, Rising Stars 2014 Faculty

  • Lauren-Abramo_600Lauren Abramo Lauren-Abramo_600

    Lauren Abramo

    Lauren E. Abramo completed her B.A. in English at New York University and her M.A. in Irish Studies at the National University of Ireland, Galway. Upon returning to New York, Abramo joined Dystel & Goderich Literary Management (DGLM), where she is now Subsidiary Rights Director for the agency and maintains a small client list. She is always on the lookout for smart commercial fiction and well-paced literary fiction with a unique voice, including middle grade, YA, and adult. She also seeks a wide variety of narrative nonfiction including science, interdisciplinary cultural studies, pop culture, psychology, reportage, media, contemporary culture, and history. Born in New York City and raised not far outside it, she now lives in Brooklyn.

  • Jay-Boyer_400Jay Boyer Jay-Boyer_400

    Jay Boyer

    Jay Boyer’s awards as a writing teacher include being named Arizona Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation and the Council For The Advancement of Education. His most recent books are a novel, Desert Ice (2011), and Flight (2012), a collection of short fiction.

  • Rob-Carlson_600Ron Carlson Rob-Carlson_600

    Ron Carlson

    Ron Carlson’s newest novel is Return to Oakpine.  He is the author of ten books of fiction, including the novel The Signal from Viking.  His short stories have appeared in Esquire, Harpers, The New Yorker, and other journals, as well as The Best American Short Stories, The O’Henry Prize Series, The Pushcart Prize Anthology, The Norton Anthology of Short Fiction and other anthologies. Carlson’s work has been performed on National Public Radio’s “This American Life” and “Selected Shorts,” and his book on writing, Ron Carlson Writes a Story, is taught widely.  He has been awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, the Cohen Prize at Ploughshares, the McGinnis Award at the Iowa Review, the Aspen Literary Award; and his novel Five Skies was One Book Rhode Island in 2009.  Mr. Carlson, who taught at Arizona State University for twenty years, is Director of the Graduate Program in Fiction at the University of California, Irvine.

  • Paul Cook photoPaul Cook Paul Cook photo

    Paul Cook

    Paul Cook has published eight novels in the science fiction field with publishers such as Bantam Books, Roc SF (a division of Penguin USA), Ace Science Fiction, and Berkeley Science Fiction. His stories are published in Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, Amazing Stories, and The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction as well as The Hawaii Review and anthologies such as Digital Science Fiction #4 (2011). He is a Principal Lecturer at ASU and teaches classes in science fiction, creative writing (both science fiction and fantasy), and pulp fiction. He has also published over 1000 classical music reviews and he now reviews the latest science fiction books for the website Galaxy’s Edge.

  • Beckian Fritz GoldbergBeckian Goldberg Beckian Fritz Goldberg

    Beckian Goldberg

    Beckian Fritz Goldberg holds an M.F.A. from Vermont College and is the author of several volumes of poetry including Body Betrayer, Never Be the Horse, Lie Awake Lake, The Book of Accident, and Reliquary Fever: New and Selected Poems, and a collection of prose poems, Egypt From Space. Her work has appeared widely in anthologies and journals including The American Poetry Review, The Best American Poetry 1995, Field, The Gettysburg Review, Harper’s, Indiana Review, The Iowa Review, The Massachusetts Review, New American Poets of The 90s, and American Alphabets: 25 Contemporary American Poets. She has been awarded the Theodore Roethke Poetry Prize, The Gettysburg Review Annual Poetry Award, The University of Akron Press Poetry Prize, The Field Poetry Prize, and a Pushcart Prize. She teaches Creative Writing at Arizona State University.

  • Tayari JonesTayari Jones Tayari Jones

    Tayari Jones

    Tayari Jones was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, and much of her writing centers on the urban South. Her first novel, Leaving Atlanta, a coming-of-age story set against the city’s infamous African American child murders of 1979–81, won the Hurston/Wright Award for debut fiction. Her second novel, The Untelling, about a family struggling to overcome the aftermath of a fatal car accident, received the Lillian C. Smith Book Award from the Southern Regional Council and the University of Georgia Libraries.

    Jones’s widely-praised third novel, Silver Sparrow, has been included in O Magazine‘s Favorite Things for 2011, and was among the best books of 2011 at Library Journal, Atlanta Magazine,, and Jones spent the 2011–12 academic year as a Radcliffe Institute Fellow at Harvard, received a National Endowment for the Arts grant for 2012, and is presently Associate Professor in the MFA Program at Rutgers University.

  • Bill Konigsberg photoBill Konigsberg Bill Konigsberg photo

    Bill Konigsberg

    Prior to turning his talents to fiction, Bill Konigsberg was a sports journalist. His sports writing has appeared in The New York Times, New York Daily News, The Denver Post, The Arizona Republic and for The Associated Press as well as Now he is an award-winning young adult author. His debut novel, Out of the Pocket (Dutton), won the Lambda Literary Award in 2009. The novel was an Indie Next pick for 2008, and made the ALA’s Rainbow List and the New York Public Library’s Stuff of the Teen Age list for 2009. His second novel, Openly Straight, was published by Arthur A. Levine Books (Scholastic) in the summer of 2013. It has been named one of five finalists for the Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award, was an Indie Next Pick, and it received a rave review from The New York Times and starred reviews from Booklist and the Bulletin for the Center of Children’s Books. The novel has been optioned for television by Fremantle Media. Bill lives in Chandler, Arizona, with his partner, Chuck, and their Labradoodle, Mabel.

  • Tom Leveen photoTom Leveen Tom Leveen photo

    Tom Leveen

    Tom Leveen is thrilled to joining the DNRS faculty again, after having attended twice as a student himself. He is the author of five young adult novels (PARTY; ZERO; MANICPIXIEDREAMGIRL; SICK; and RANDOM) with Random House, Abrams/Amulet, and Simon Pulse. He brings to his classes more than 20 years of theatre background as an actor and director and has presented and/or keynoted for the Romance Writers of America, SCBWI, Phoenix ComiCon, Tucson Festival of Books, Las Vegas Book Festival, and more. He is also an instructor for Piper’s Your Novel Year. 

  • Kimberley Griffiths Little photoKimberley Griffiths Little Kimberley Griffiths Little photo

    Kimberley Griffiths Little

    Kimberley Griffiths Little is a native California girl, but a current resident on a dirt road along the Rio Grande in New Mexico where she lives with her robotics engineer husband and three sons. She’s the author of The Healing Spell, Circle of Secrets, When the Butterflies Came, and the upcoming The Time of the Fireflies, all with Scholastic. She recently sold a YA trilogy to Harpercollins which will debut Fall 2014. Kimberley has received the Southwest Book Award, the Whitney Award for Best Youth Novel of 2010, Bank Street College Best Books of 2011, a Crystal Kite Finalist, and the New Mexico Book Award. Kimberley is a co-founder of SPELLBINDERS, an online newsletter for Educators/Librarians/Parents and helped launch the popular Middle-Grade blog, From the Mixed-Up Files. She makes way too many cookies when she’s revising and the best MG book trailers in the universe – for reals! Check them out on

  • D.T. Max photoD.T. Max D.T. Max photo

    D.T. Max

    D.T. Max is currently a staff writer for The New Yorker and has worked as a journalist and editor at publications ranging from The New York Observer to Elle. He is the author of The Family That Couldn’t Sleep: A Medical Mystery, and his long essay on David Foster Wallace, “The Unfinished: David Foster Wallace’s struggle to Surpass Infinite Jest,” was published in the March 9, 2009 issue of The New Yorker to wide acclaim. His 2012 biography of David Foster Wallace, Every Love Story Is a Ghost Story: A Life of David Foster Wallace, is a New York Times bestseller.

    He is a graduate of Harvard University and lives outside of New York City with his wife and two young children.

  • Jessica McCann photoJessica McCann Jessica McCann photo

    Jessica McCann

    Jessica McCann, a professional freelance writer and novelist, lives with her family in Phoenix, Arizona. Her nonfiction work has been published in Business Week, The Writer and Phoenix magazines, among others. Her debut historical novel, All Different Kinds of Free, was awarded the Freedom in Fiction Prize. She teaches an online historical fiction workshop for ASU’s Piper Writers Studio. Jessica enjoys interacting with fellow readers and writers at her website blog ( and on Twitter (@JMcCannWriter).

  • Ander Monson photoAnder Monson Ander Monson photo

    Ander Monson

    Ander Monson is the author of six books, including the forthcoming book in a box, Letter to a Future Lover (nonfiction, Graywolf, 2015), a website, a decoder wheel, two chapbooks, and other paraphernalia. He is an editor for the magazine DIAGRAM and for the New Michigan Press in Tucson, where he teaches at the University of Arizona.

  • Allison-Moore_600Allison Moore Allison-Moore_600

    Allison Moore

    Allison Moore is an assistant editor at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. She works on a range of titles including picture books by Todd Parr, Marc Brown, Andrea and Brian Pinkney, Sujean Rim, Nancy Tafuri, Julie Andrews and Emma Walton Hamilton, and Bob Staake; leveled readers; novelty books by Sandra Magsamen and Matthew Reinhart; and novels by Jewell Parker Rhodes and Karen Healey. Allison is particularly interested in smart picture books that can be appreciated by all ages; early readers with a strong voice; inventive novelty ideas; middle grade stories with interesting settings; and YA novels that encourage readers to consider new points of view. Before working at Little, Brown, she interned at Bloomsbury and Walker Books for Young Readers, Barefoot Books, the Kneerim & Williams agency, and Simon & Schuster UK; worked as a bookseller and at her hometown library; and attended the Columbia Publishing Course. Originally from New Jersey, Allison graduated from Boston University and now lives in Brooklyn.

  • Jim Natal photoJim Natal Jim Natal photo

    Jim Natal

    Jim Natal’s most recent poetry collection, 52 Views: The Haibun Variations, was published by Tebot Bach in April 2013. He is the author of three previous collections: Memory and Rain, Talking Back to the Rocks, and In the Bee Trees, which was a finalist for the 2000 Pen Center USA and Publisher’s Marketing Association Ben Franklin Awards. He is also the author of three chapbooks and two limited-edition handmade chapbooks. A multi-year Pushcart Prize nominee (including 2012), Natal’s poetry has appeared in numerous print and online journals, as well as in many anthologies, among them New Poets of the American West, Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here, and Beyond Forgetting: Poetry and Prose About Alzheimer’s Disease. After a 25-year career as a creative executive with the National Football League, he received his MFA from Antioch University Los Angeles in 2005. Natal teaches creative writing and curates literary events, including The Literary Southwest series at Yavapai College in Prescott, AZ. With his wife, book artist Tania Baban, he runs indie publishing house Conflux Press (www.conflux He lives in Los Angeles.

  • Jeff Pictures Photo Credit Bruce Jenkin 004T. Jefferson Parker Jeff Pictures Photo Credit Bruce Jenkin 004

    T. Jefferson Parker

    Jefferson Parker is the author of 21 novels, including Silent Joe and California Girl, both of which won the Edgar Award for best mystery.  His last six books are a “Border Sextet,” featuring ATF task-force agent Charlie Hood as he tries to staunch the flow of illegal firearms being smuggled from the U.S. into Mexico.  His current novel, Full Measure, is about a young man who returns from combat in Afghanistan to pursue his dreams in America.  Crazy Blood, a novel set in the world of extreme ski racing, will be published in March of 2016. Parker enjoys fishing, hiking and cycling.  He lives in Southern California with his family.


    Photo credit: Rebecca Lawson
  • Barbara Peters photoBarbara Peters Barbara Peters photo

    Barbara Peters

    Barbara Peters holds a BA from Stanford University, an MA from Northwestern University, and an MSLS from the University of Tennesse. After careers at the Library of Congress and in law, she moved to Arizona and founded The Poisoned Pen Bookstore in 1989—for fun. In 1997 she and her husband Robert L. Rosenwald founded Poisoned Pen Press, an independent publishing company with over 100 authors and hundreds of books.

    Peters was nominated for a 1998 Edgar Allan Poe Award, received the Mystery Writers of America’s Raven Award (bookselling) and Ellery Queen Award (editing), has earned a dozen nominations as Bookseller of the Year, and was awarded a 2011 Lifetime Achievement Award /Million Dollar Club from the Arizona Republic. The Poisoned Pen has been named Best Bookstore in Phoenix and in Scottsdale by the Republic and Phoenix New Times.

  • Jem Poster photoJem Poster Jem Poster photo

    Jem Poster

    Jem Poster is the author of a collection of poetry, Brought to Light, and two novels, Courting Shadows and Rifling Paradise. He is currently editing a volume in the six-volume series of Edward Thomas’s prose writings for Oxford University Press. He is Emeritus Professor of Creative Writing, Aberystwyth University; Director of Academic Programmes for the Sunday Times Oxford Literary Festival; Programme Director of Cambridge University’s Summer School in Creative Writing and Programme Advisor for its Master’s programme in creative writing. From January to May, 2014, Poster will be Writer-in-Residence at the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing.

  • Jewell Parker Rhodes imageJewell Parker Rhodes Jewell Parker Rhodes image

    Jewell Parker Rhodes

    Jewell Parker Rhodes is the author of the Louisiana Girls children’s book trilogy, which includes Ninth Ward, Sugar, and Bayou Magic. Her children’s books have received the Parents’ Choice Foundation Award, the Coretta Scott King Author Honor Award, and the Jane Addam’s Children’s Book Award, among others. Towers Falling, her new middle grade novel, will be published in July 2016.

    Jewell is also the author of six adult novels: Voodoo DreamsMagic CityDouglass’ WomenSeasonMoon, and Hurricane, as well as the memoir Porch Stories: A Grandmother’s Guide to Happiness, and two writing guides, Free Within Ourselves: Fiction Lessons for Black Authors and The African American Guide to Writing and Publishing Non-Fiction.

    Her work has been published in China, Korea, France, Germany, Italy, Canada, Turkey, and the United Kingdom, and has appeared on NPR’s “Selected Shorts.” Her adult literary awards include: the American Book Award, the National Endowment of the Arts Award in Fiction, the Black Caucus of the American Library Award for Literary Excellence, the PEN Oakland/Josephine Miles Award for Outstanding Writing, two Arizona Book Awards, and a finalist citation for the Hurston-Wright Legacy Award.

    Jewell grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Drama Criticism, a Master of Arts in English, and a Doctor of Arts in English (Creative Writing) from Carnegie Mellon University. She is also a professor of Creative Writing and American Literature and the former Director of the Master of Fine Arts Program in Creative Writing.

  • Michael Schiffer photoMichael Schiffer Michael Schiffer photo

    Michael Schiffer

    Happily living and writing in Phoenix after escaping alive from L.A., Michael Schiffer wrote the ground breaking screenplay for Colors, directed by Dennis Hopper and starring Sean Penn and Robert Duval.  His next film, Lean on Me, starring Morgan Freeman, won NAACP Image Awards for Best Film and Best Actor and was followed by Crimson Tide (Gene Hackman and Denzel Washington), The Peacemaker (George Clooney and Nicole Kidman), and The Four Feathers, starring Heath Ledger, Wes Bentley, and Kate Hudson.

    Schiffer published two books with Simon & Schuster, Lessons of the Road and Ballpark, and is working on a new novel, To End All Wars.  His producing credits include Lean on Me and Le Divorce, a Merchant/Ivory film based on the novel by Diane Johnson, a finalist for the National Book Award.  A Creative Advisor at the ScripTeast Writers Conference in Poland, Michael has taught for over twenty years and is currently a Trustee Professor teaching actors and writers at Chapman College.

  • Aurelie Sheehan photoAurelie Sheehan Aurelie Sheehan photo

    Aurelie Sheehan

    Aurelie Sheehan is the author of two novels, History Lesson for Girls and The Anxiety of Everyday Objects, as well as the short story collections Jack Kerouac Is Pregnant and, most recently, Jewelry Box: A Collection of Histories. Her work has appeared in Alaska Quarterly, Conjunctions, Epoch, Fairy Tale Review, Fence, New England Review, The New York Times, Ploughshares, The Southern Review, and elsewhere. She has received a Pushcart Prize, a Camargo Fellowship, and the Jack Kerouac Literary Award. Sheehan teaches fiction at the University of Arizona in Tucson.

  • Dana Stabenow photoDana Stabenow Dana Stabenow photo

    Dana Stabenow

    Dana Stabenow was born in Alaska and raised on a 75-foot fish tender in the Gulf of Alaska. She knew there had to be a warmer, dryer job out there somewhere. Her 30th novel and first historical novel, Silk and Song, the first in a trilogy, came out in February, 2013.

  • mikehhillMichael Stackpole mikehhill

    Michael Stackpole

    Michael A. Stackpole is an award-winning novelist, editor, game designer, computer game designer, screen writer, graphic novelist and podcaster. He is the author of over fifty novels, and is best known for the New York Times bestselling novels Rogue Squadron and I, Jedi. In addition to writing original novels, he’s penned novels in a variety of franchise universes including BattleTech, Star Wars, World of Warcraft and ShadowRun. He currently serves as the Science Fiction/Fantasy director for the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing at Arizona State University’s Your Novel Year program. In his scarce spare time he enjoys dancing, computer games and cooking.

  • Beth StaplesBeth Staples Beth Staples

    Beth Staples

    Beth Staples is the assistant director of the Publishing Laboratory  at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, where she teaches Books & Publishing, Publishing Practicum, and Special Topics in Publishing for UNCW’s Creative Writing Department. She is also the Associate Editor for their literary magazine, Ecotone, and the department’s boutique press, Lookout Books. She joined the UNCW faculty from The Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing at Arizona State University where she managed the literary journal Hayden’s Ferry Review and the Center’s other publications from 2007 to 2012.  She has taught classes and given lectures on editing, publishing, and fiction writing at various universities and conferences, and received her MFA in fiction writing from ASU.

  • Laura Tohe Photo by Julaire Scott (2)Laura Tohe Laura Tohe Photo by Julaire Scott (2)

    Laura Tohe

    A librettist and an award winning poet, Laura Tohe’s books include No Parole Today, Making Friends with Water (chapbook), Sister Nations (edited), Tséyi, Deep in the Rock, and Code Talker Stories (oral history)Her commissioned libretto, Enemy Slayer, A Navajo Oratorio made its world premiere in 2008 and was performed by The Phoenix Symphony Orchestra.  Plans are to expand Enemy Slayer into an opera.  She is Professor with Distinction in Indigenous Literature at Arizona State University.

  • Xu Xi photoXu Xi Xu Xi photo

    Xu Xi

    XU XI 許素細 is the author of nine books of fiction and essays. The most recent titles are Access Thirteen Tales (2011), the novel Habit of a Foreign Sky (2010), a finalist for the Man Asian Literary Prize and an essay collection, Evanescent Isles (2008). She is also editor or co-editor of four anthologies of Hong Kong writing in English, most recently, The Queen of Statue Square: New Short Fiction from Hong Kong, co-edited with Marshall Moore (September, 2014). A new novel-in-manuscript, That Man in Our Lives is currently represented by the literary agency Harold Matson.

    Forthcoming books include a collaborative arts & letters project, ekphrastic personal essays responding to photographs by David Clarke, which will be featured as an art installation at the University of Hong Kong’s Art Museum & Gallery in September, 2016, with the book (title tbc). Also forthcoming is a Hong Kong memoir for Penguin Shorts in 2017, to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the city’s handover to China (title tbc). Other work-in-progress includes a novel The Milton Man, a story collection Insignificance: Stories of Hong Kong and an essay cycle memoir about living with her mother’s Alzheimer’s titled Typhoon Mum.

    Recent & forthcoming fiction, essays & critical work appear in the journals The Bellingham Review, The Iowa Review, Water-Stone Review, Lake Effect, Your Impossible Voice, AALR, Kweili Journal, Drunken Boat, Guernica Daily, Ploughshares, Text (Australia), Four Quarters Magazine (India), The Letters Project (Univ. of Nottingham, UK), Silk Road, Ninth Letter, Kenyon Review, 字花Fleur des Lettres (Chinese translation, Hong Kong), Toad Suck Review, Writing & Pedagogy (UK), as well as in several anthologies, including, All About Skin (Univ. of Wisconsin Press), Local/Express: Asian American Arts Community in 90’s NYC (AALR Asian American Literary Review), Creativity & Discovery in the University Writing Class: A Teacher’s Guide (Equinox, UK-US), The Bedford Introduction to Literature (Bedford/St. Martin’s, New York), Still (Negative Press, UK), Understanding the Essay (Broadview Press, Canada).

    A transnational “third culture” writer, she long inhabited the flight path connecting New York, Hong Kong and the South Island of New Zealand, until her mother’s Alzheimer’s ended those peregrinations. From 2002-12 she was on the MFA in Writing faculty at Vermont College of Fine Arts, where she was elected and served as faculty chair from 2009-12. She is currently Writer-in-Residence at City University of Hong Kong’s Department of English and directs Asia’s first low-residency MFA in creative writing, a program she helped the university establish in 2010. In 2016, she will be Distinguished Writer-in-Residence at the Virginia G Piper Center for Creative Writing, Arizona State University in Tempe.

  • Gregg Zachary photoG. Pascal Zachary Gregg Zachary photo

    G. Pascal Zachary

    G. Pascal (“Gregg”) Zachary is a professor of practice at ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. His five books include a memoir, Married to Africa: a love story (2009), and a biography, Endless Frontier: Vannevar Bush, Engineer of the American Century (1997), which won the IEEE Literary Award and was described as “deeply informed” by the New York Times. Zachary has written and directed several television documentaries, including “Code Rush,” about innovation in Silicon Valley, for PBS. At ASU, Zachary has taught fiction writing about the future as well as nonfiction writing about science, technology and society. Zachary spent 13 years as a senior writer at The Wall Street Journal, and wrote the Ping column on innovation for The New York Times from 2007-2008. In a review of his work in 2000, The Atlantic Monthly called Zachary “a serious public intellectual who can combine familiarity with scholarly literature […] with first-hand reporting.”

  • Lisa Zeidner photoLisa Zeidner Lisa Zeidner photo

    Lisa Zeidner

    Lisa Zeidner is the author of five novels, including Layover and, most recently, Love Bomb (Farrar Straus and Giroux).  She has also published two books of poems, one of which, Pocket Sundial, won the Brittingham Prize in Poetry.  Zeidner has written screenplays for Universal Studios and Focus Features.  Her stories, essays, and reviews have appeared in Tin House, The New York Times, GQ, and other publications.  She teaches in the MFA Program in Creative Writing at Rutgers University-Camden.