The Virginia G. Piper
Center for Creative Writing

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About the Center

A home for writers, readers, and the larger community

Established in 2003 with a gift from the Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust, the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing at Arizona State University is a non-academic university center dedicated to offering talks, readings, classes, workshops, and other literary events and programs for the larger community. 

To learn more about who we are and what we do, keep reading the information below


Our History

Following a philanthropic legacy of supporting arts and culture throughout Maricopa County, the Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust founded the Center with a historic gift to Arizona State University in 2003. 

Envisioned as a catalyst for dynamic and visionary leadership in creative writing and contemporary literature, the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing was tasked with organizing a conference, presenting visiting writers, and developing other outreach programs and initiatives that would enrich the intellectual and artistic life of Arizona State University, the Phoenix metropolitan area, and the state of Arizona as a whole.

The Piper Center's founding Artistic Director Jewell Parker Rhodes laid the groundwork for the Piper Center's signature programming and paved the way to where we are today. Other leadership over the years has included T.R. Hummer, Peter Turchi, and Matt Bell. Following Dr. Rhodes' departure, ASU University Professor and Arizona Inaugural Poet Laureate Alberto Álvaro Ríos was appointed as the new Director in 2017.

To learn more about who we are, you can meet our staff members, learn about our historic building, or read our annual report.

We are not the Creative Writing Program at Arizona State University

While the Piper Center works closely with the Creative Writing Program at Arizona State University by offering various educational opportunities and other forms of support to faculty and students, the Piper Center is a separate unit from the Creative Writing Program. All of our classes and workshops are open to the public and are not for credit.

If you have questions about for-credit classes, degree programs, or other matters of academic enrollment, you can visit the Creative Writing website or contact Creative Writing Program Manager Justin Petropoulos at 

To learn more about our student programs and services, you can visit our student services and programs page.


Our Mission & Goals

As a center, we aspire to be a point of reference in people's lives—a way of orienting oneself in relationship to others, of finding a direction—by creating moments of individual, social, and cultural significance around creative writing and contemporary literature.

  • Connecting writers and readers of all genres and backgrounds across multiple disciplines and fields of interest
  • Supporting writers in every stage of their development by providing challenging, diverse, and accessible educational opportunities
  • Fostering an active, engaged literary community by enriching the Valley's cultural life 
  • Driving a dynamic and creative environment throughout Arizona and the entire Southwest
  • Encouraging mutual understanding through international artistic and cultural exchange
  • Making art integral to all our lives and promoting its value and benefits to the larger community

Our Programs

Everything we do is for the community. The Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing at Arizona State University is dedicated to serving the public with a wide variety of literary events and programs within and beyond the metropolitan Phoenix area.

Additionally, the Piper Center has a rich history of parternering with the Creative Writing Program at Arizona State University to offer scholarships, fellowships, and other educational opportunities for students and faculty, with specific support to the program's literary journal, Hayden's Ferry Review.

The Center also leads numerous outreach programs and initiatives beyond ASU to serve the needs of greater Phoenix's diverse communities. 

To learn more about what we do and find an event or program near you, view our calendar. You can also drop by for open hours every first and third Friday from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Shared Spaces

The Piper Center is committed to creating a safe and welcoming environment for all community members to enjoy our programming, learn from each other, and participate in creative writing and the literary arts. As such, we ask all individuals to be respectful of each others’ thoughts, opinions, ideas, and beliefs. Bullying, aggressive behavior, or other actions that deny the rights of individuals are unacceptable and will not be tolerated. Additionally, we would ask all audience members to be respectful and aware of authors’ time and personal space. If you experience or observe any behavior that violates this policy, please contact a Piper Center staff member immediately. Together, we can create a climate that’s safe for all. Thank you for your help!


The Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing is committed to ensuring that all individuals have fair and equal access to Piper Center events and programs.

All venues are accessible to individuals with mobility challenges, hearing loss, or other forms of disability.

ASL interpreting services, printed versions of presentations, large print handouts, translations, and alternative forms of materials for classes, workshops, or other programs are available with two to three weeks advance notice (upon request).

To request materials or contact the Center with any other questions or concerns, call the Center directly at 480.965.6018 or send us an email at