The Desert Nights, Rising Stars
Writers Conference

Desert Nights Rising Stars Writers Conference Faculty 2019 Fernanda Santos

Fernanda Santos

Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writers Conference Faculty 2019

About Fernanda Santos

Fernanda Santos teaches narrative journalism at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. She joined Cronkite after 12 years at The New York Times, including five as its Phoenix Bureau chief. Her first book, The Fire Line: The Story of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, received the Western Writers of America 2017 Spur Award for Best First Nonfiction Book and was one of two finalists in the Contemporary Nonfiction category. Santos, who is from Brazil, has reported in three languages, throughout Latin America and United States. She is a recipient of the Kiplinger, International Reporting Project and Casey Children and Family fellowships, and co-author of “Latinos in the United States,” a reference guide by the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.

Find Conference Sessions with Fernanda Santos

The Art of Contemporary Nonfiction Panel
Fernanda Santos, Yvette Johnson, Mike Conklin, Walonda Williams

Saturday, February 23, 2019, 1:45 p.m. - 2:45 p.m.
Location: Carson Ballroom, Old Main
Type: Panel
Genre: Creative Nonfiction, Journalism

In a world where the boundaries between fact and fiction are constantly blurred, where does creative nonfiction fit in at this moment in history? How do writers bring the story of the individual to life? What are the intricacies of writing characters who are real people? How does writing the factual impact the creative process? Spanning journalism, memoir, research, and essays, Fernanda Santos, Yvette Johnson, and Mike Conklin will discuss the unique challenges, complexities, and ultimate rewards of writing the real.


We Are All Storytellers
Fernanda Santos

Saturday, February 23, 2019, 9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.
Location: Thoren, University Club
Type: Generative Workshop, Performative Workshop, Presentation
Genre: Fiction, Mixed Genre, Storytelling

"You're not going to believe what happened at the party!" Who hasn't said that (or some version of it)? The truth is, we're all storytellers, but it's when we put our writer's hat on that telling stories gets complicated. In this interactive session, we'll use live storytelling to identify the key elements of narrative, decode the process we all engage in to tell everyday stories, and explore strategies to help us incorporate such process into our writing.  


More About Fernanda Santos

"Fernanda Santos Podcasts The Fire Line." Authors on Tour no. 537, July 21, 2016.

Fernanda Santos covers Arizona and New Mexico as the Phoenix bureau chief for The New York Times. Santos reads from and discusses her book The Fire Line: The Story of the Granite Mountain Hotshots and One of the Deadliest Days in American Firefighting about one of the deadliest fires in American history.


Santos, Fernanda. "Hot Shot Teamwork.TEDx Talks, May 12, 2017.

Fernanda Santos is the author of “The Fire Line: The Story of the Granite Mountain Hotshots and One of the Deadliest Days in American Firefighting” and a longtime staff writer for The New York Times. In her talk, she explores the nature of teams, and of the illusion of working alone.


---. "The Times's Resident Expert for a World on Fire." The New York Times, June 23, 2017. You can also view all of Fernanda's work for The New York Times

There are certain elements that are common to the narrative of deadly wildfires: hot and dry weather, overgrown forests and a rushed evacuation, which may be a result of the fire’s ferocity, poor planning or both. Behind every wildfire, though, is the story of the land that is burning and how it has been treated over time. 


Saul, John B. "The Fire Line: A compelling account of a routine day gone tragically wrong for 'hotshots'.The Seattle Times, July 15, 2016. 

Fires, like wars, often fit a pattern in their telling. Introduce the men, map out the terrain, explain the enemy, tell what went wrong and bury the dead. Fernanda Santos takes this logical storytelling foundation and uses her deep reporting and clear writing to build a compelling story of how 19 firefighters died on June 30, 2013, in the Yarnell Hill Fire near Prescott, Ariz.



Sieg, Stina. "Defining Moment - Fernanda Santos." KJZZ, June 27, 2017.

Fernanda Santos is the Phoenix Bureau Chief of The New York Times. Twenty years ago, she never would have imagined that. But at 23, she started getting headaches. She tells KJZZ's Stina Sieg how, eventually, that pounding pain changed everything.