The Desert Nights, Rising Stars
Writers Conference

Picture of Old Main with large yellow moon, blue rays, and sunset sky

Original photograph of Old Main by Deanna Dent / ASU Now. Other original photographs by NASA.

The Desert Nights, Rising Stars Literary Fair

Saturday, February 22, 2020, 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. at ASU Tempe

Presented as a public extension of the Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writers Conference in partnership with ASU Open Door, the Desert Nights, Rising Stars Literary Fair presents an afternoon of readings, panels, conversations, and performances from authors, publishers, and other literary organizations from all over the Southwest.  

This year's fair takes place on Saturday, February 22, 2020 on the Front Lawn of Old Main on ASU Tempe (400 E Tyler Mall, Tempe, AZ 82581). Exhibitors will be set up from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Talks, readings, and other featured programs will take place from 12:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

All fair events and activities are open to the public and free. You do not need to register for the conference in order to attend.

This year's exhibitors include the Arizona Professional Writers, Arizona State Poetry Society, Barrett Honors College, Bookmans, Brick Cave Media, Cardboard House Press, Cinthia Richie, Desert Botanical Garden, Dorothy Rice, Elizabeth Martina Bishop, Hayden's Ferry Review, Holum Press, Hoot n Waddle, Jeffrey Marshall, Jessica McCann, Karen Shiffman Lateiner, little somethings press, Northern Arizona University Creative Writing Program, Palabras Bilingual Bookstore, Poets and Muses, Poisoned Pen Bookstore, Queer Poetry Salon with Equality Arizona, Read Better Be Better, rinky dink press, Romance Writers of America Phoenix, Sandra Marinella, Sisters in Crime Desert Sleuths, Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators, Sonora ReviewSuperstition Review, Tanline Printing, Tolsun Books, University of Arizona Press, Warner House Press, & Write On, Downtown.

This year's schedule is: 

To learn more about the fair, you can meet our exhibitors or view the fair schedule. You can also learn more about the conference.

Interested in exhibiting? Engage with over 30,000 community members and 300 attendees by becoming an exhibitor today!

Find Events at this Year's Fair

Beyond the Ripped Bodice: Romance Writing in the 21st Century
Romance Writers of America Phoenix, Andie J. Christopher, Cathy McDavid, Deloris Nash, Willow Sanders, Kris Tualla

Date: Saturday, February 22, 2020 - 12:30pm
Type: Panel, Reading, Talk
Genre & Forms: Romance
While romance of yesteryear may have conjured images of Fabio-like men with muscles and flowing hair, and breathless women suffocating in constricting bodices, the new millennia has heralded in a new age of romance. Discuss, love, romance, smooching, and more with the Romance Writers of America Phoenix!

Children's Storytime
Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators Arizona, Michael Hale

Date: Saturday, February 22, 2020 - 1:45pm
Type: Reading
Genre & Forms: Children's Books
Something for the whole family. Take a moment to sit down with the kids in an interactive storytime with local author and illustrator Michael Hale from the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators!

Getting Published in Literary Journals
Superstition Review, Hayden's Ferry Review

Date: Saturday, February 22, 2020 - 2:15pm
Type: Panel
Genre & Forms: Business of Writing, Editing, Publishing, Submitting

What do editors truly want to discover and publish? Learn the do’s and don’t’s of submitting to literary journals with editors from Superstition Review and Hayden’s Ferry Review, two nationally-recognized literary journals based at ASU.


Date: Saturday, February 22, 2020 - 3:00pm
Type: Performance, Reading, Talk
Genre & Forms: Book Arts, Community, Poetry, Translation, World Literature

"Sometimes I talk a lot. Sometimes I don't. It's nice to sit at the table, hands busy, and let the conversation in flipping and shifting language just wash over and around me. Hard to pinpoint how, exactly, this heals. But it does. [ . . . ] The politics seem clear. These books are being written or were written in the past. We should read them." (Ryan's Testimony, Cartonera Collective Member)


Pollentongue + Queer Poetry Salon
tanner menard, Jake Skeets, Elliot Winter

Date: Saturday, February 22, 2020 - 3:30pm
Type: Conversation, Panel, Reading, Talk
Genre & Forms: American Indian, Community, Creative Practice, Indigenous, LGBTQIA, Poetry, Social Justice, Social Practice
Drawing from their experiences as writers, organizers, educators, and students working with queer and indigenous communities, Jake Skeets, tanner menard, and Elliot Winter will explore how they use their poetry to create opportunities for others, center diverse voices, uplift individuals, and build community.

Listen Here, Jackalope: A Tolsun Books Reading
Sarah Abigail Adleman, Angela M. Brommel, Michael Buckius, Sarah Sala

Date: Saturday, February 22, 2020 - 4:15pm
Type: Reading
Genre & Forms: Hybrid, Memoir, Mixed Genre, Poetry

Based in Airzona and Nevada, Tolsun Books is an independent, non-profit press publishing poetry, comics-poetry, short stories, hybrids, memoirs, photo stories, and other cool artistic book-type things. They're not fancy or formal. Their books look rad. See why they're putting the Southwest on the map with readings from Sarah Abigail Adleman, Angela M. Brommel, Michael Buckius, and Sarah Sala. 


City, State, Nation: Poets Laureate of the Southwest
Alberto Álvaro Ríos, Rosemarie Dombrowski, Sareya Taylor, Laura Tohe, TC Tolbert

Date: Saturday, February 22, 2020 - 5:30pm
Type: Conversation, Panel, Q&A, Reading
Genre & Forms: Poetry

Alice Walker once said “Poetry is the lifeblood of rebellion, revolution, and the raising of consciousness.” As the 2020 Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writer’s Conference draws to a close we hope that our attendees have shifted the ways in which they think about their writing and the power of their words. Whether you are a poet,  a novelist, or are just beginning to choose a path, we want to send everyone off with a final celebration of writing as we hear from some of our most beloved poets laureates of the Southwest.