The Desert Nights, Rising Stars
Writers Conference

About the Conference

The Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writers Conference is three days of craft talks, panels, workshops and presentations at Arizona State University.

Picture of the Old Main Building at Arizona State University

The historic Old Main Building at Arizona State University, one of the venues for the Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writers Conference. Photo by Kevin S Moul.

Our Goals

Our goals are to provide writers with tools and resources to develop their skills, advance their practice, and further their careers.

Our Vision

Our vision is to create a challenging and supportive environment where writers can gather together to reaffirm the importance of their work, recognize themselves within the larger field of contemporary literature, and leave the conference invigorated and empowered to achieve their goals.

More About the Conference

We are committed to creating an accessible and inclusive space for writers of all backgrounds, genres, and skill levels. Conference faculty and programming encompass many genres which can often go underserved in the literary field, including Young Adult, Science-Fiction/Fantasy, Crime Fiction, Translation, Graphic Novels, Hybrid, and more.

Special topics like climate change, social justice, and other contemporary issues also feature prominently.

Publishing, editing, agents, and other aspects of the business of publishing are included as well.

Beyond sessions, attendees can also participate in receptions, discussion groups, after-hour socials, and other opportunities to connect with fellow conference-goers, develop relationships, and build community.

To learn more about the Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writers Conference, you can view this year’s faculty, browse the schedule, or visit the registration page.


Sky Harbor International Airport is located in the heart of the city and serves as the primary airport for the Phoenix metropolitan area. Arizona State University and surrounding hotels are easily accessible from Sky Harbor via a wide array of transportation options, including light rail, shuttle, bus, taxi, ride-sharing, car rental, and more. For more information about coordinating your travel, visit Sky Harbor's website.


A number of hotels are located within walking distance of Arizona State University, including:

Special rates are available for groups and visitors to ASU. For more information, visit ASU's travel website.


February in Phoenix is one of the most beautiful months of the year, with low humidity, plenty of sunlight, and high temperatures around 70 degrees. As this is a desert environment and temperatures can drop at night and in the early mornings, we recommend bringing a light coat. Rain is uncommon but has been known to occur. Please make sure to check the weather and plan accordingly.

Getting Around

Once you arrive, getting around the conference is easy. Arizona State University is located in the heart of Downtown Tempe and is within walking distance from numerous restaurants, shops, movie theaters, and other cultural and recreational opportunities along Mill Avenue. Phoenix and Mesa are also easily accessible via light rail. For more information on getting around, please see the "Getting Here" tab above.


As part of their registration, all attendees receive a boxed lunch Friday and Saturday afternoon. Coffee, pastries, and fresh fruit are provided each morning in the University Club from 7:30 to 8:30 am. Light refreshments are served throughout the day. Additional dining options are a short walk from the Conference in the Memorial Union and around town. Vegan, gluten-free, lactose-free, and other diets are easily accommodated.

The Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing is located in the historic quarter of Arizona State University at 450 E Tyler Mall, Tempe, AZ 85281.

For more information, you can view an interactive map of Arizona State University or download a campus map.

By Car

ASU is located just a few minutes off the Loop 202 via exit 6 or 7 (Prist Drive / Center Parkway and Scottsdale Rd / Rural Rd, respectively). Limited parking is available in numerous lots around campus for $3 an hour or $15 all day.

For parking, we strongly recommend the Fulton Center Parking Structure off University Blvd (just east of College Ave on the North Side of University), which is the closest lot to the Center and less than 5 minutes away. While parking in the Fulton Garage is generally available, it can become more difficult during football games or other local events. If the Fulton Lot is full, we recommend Visitor Lot 67 off S Forest Ave near the University Towers garage or Visitor Lot 20 on S Mill Ave and W 9th St. Outside of these lots, parking at ASU can be difficult and time-consuming. Please be aware that ASU and the City of Tempe are also extremely vigilant about parking enforcement, ticketing, and towing.

By Light Rail and Public Transporation

Valley Metro light rail service is available throughout Phoenix, Tempe, and Mesa (with additional service to and from Sky Harbor International Airport at 44th St and Washington).

Our light rail stop is College Ave and Veterans Way. To get to the Piper Center from this stop, simply walk south down College Avenue until you come to the traffic light at University Blvd. Arizona State University will be directly in front of you. Cross University Blvd and head slightly left / southeast, where you’ll see a large fountain in the middle of a plaza. University Club will be located on your left to the east. Old Main will be located in front of you to the south. The Piper Writers House is located between these two buildings to the southeast just a few hundred feet away.

Trains run from approximately 4:30 in the morning to 1 am at night with service every 10 to 15 minutes. Fares range between $2 and $4 each day. Free parking for the light rail is available at transit centers located at 19th Ave and Montebello, Central and Camelback, and Sycamore and Main St. Park-and-rides are available throughout the Phoenix metropolitan area as well.

Local public transportation options include Orbit shuttle services, GRID bicycle rentals, or the bus. For more information, download a Valley Metro system map, view the light rail schedule, or visit the Valley Metro website. You can also visit the Transportation page at Arizona State University.

Map of the Piper Center at ASU

Shared Spaces

The Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writers Conference seeks to create a welcoming and safe space for all community members involved. We ask all conference members to be respectful of individuals’ ideas, spaces, and learning. Unwelcomed, aggressive, or bullying behaviors will not be tolerated. Together, we can create a conference climate that’s safe for all!


All conference venues and activities are accessible to individuals with mobility challenges, hearing loss, or other forms of disability. All buildings have ramps and elevators. All sessions have microphones and in-house amplification. Alternative materials--printed versions of presentations, large print handouts--are available with advance notice upon request.

If you have a handicapped permit or decal, public parking is free at meters and in the parking lots and garages operated by the City of Tempe.

Individuals with any questions or concerns they would like to discuss can contact the Center at 480.965.6018 or