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Transfer U with Mike Conklin

Date(s): Friday, February 22, 2019, 4:30 p.m.
Piper Writers House, 450 E Tyler Mall, Tempe, AZ 85281
Genre and Form(s): Fiction, Humor, Novels, Sports, Sports Writing
Cost: Free

About this Event

Join Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writers Conference Fellow Mike Conklin for a reading from Transfer U, a novel of fiction parodying college basketball and academia, on Friday, February 22, 2019 at 4:30 p.m. 

Drawing from his experience as a Chicago Tribune journalist and university instructor, Conklin's novel follows two teams as they find their way on the annual NCAA March Madness tournament trail. One team, from an Indiana college named for the most inconsequential president in U.S. history, has a starting lineup entirely from China. Their concern? That continued success is interfering with studies and library time. The other team, from a school better known for its rodeo program, is located in the Oklahoma panhandle. It was built the traditional, old-fashioned way. The coach cheated like hell to put together a cast of misfits and miscreants.

While encouraged, RSVPs are purely for the purposes of monitoring attendance, gauging interest, and communicating information about parking, directions, and other aspects of the event. You do not have to register or RSVP to attend this event. This event is open to the public and free.

About the Literary Fair

Presented in partnership with ASU Open Door as a public extension of the Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writers Conference, the Desert Nights, Rising Stars Literary Fair features two days of talks, readings, and other literary events and activities from authors, publishers, and other organizations from all over the Southwest, February 22 - 23, 2019 at Arizona State University, Tempe Campus. All events are open to the public and free. You do not need to register for the conference in order to attend. To learn more about the fair, visit our website at

About the Book

Bogus scholarships, China, provincial faculty, Oklahoma earthquake, immigration, cowboys, and a motorcycle gang. It’s a mix of academia and basketball in America like you’ve never seen. One team, from a sleepy Midwestern college named for the most inconsequential president in U.S. history, features an all-Chinese lineup concerned over lack of library time. The other, from a school better known for a rodeo program, includes players from a Texas prison, U.S. Special Forces, East LA, St. Louis YMCA, and a 7-footer discovered by its scheming coach in a McDonald’s line in Murdo, S.D. It’s East vs. West with showdowns in Chicago, on and off the court, and a national title at stake.

About the Author

Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writers Conference Fellow 2019 Mike Conklin

Mike Conklin is a career journalist, whose feature, news and daily column writing was familiar to Chicago Tribune readers for three-plus decades. His assignments were local, national and international, often appearing in Tribune Syndication distributed to over 300 newspapers. Other work appeared in the New York Times, Encyclopedia of Chicago, Encyclopedia of American Journalism, History Magazine, textbooks, and a variety of other publications. 

Conklin left The Tribune to join the full-time faculty at DePaul University, where he taught, served as student newspaper advisor, and helped found the school’s Journalism Department. He also taught communication at Xiamen University in China and writing as an adjunct at Cornell College (Ia.), Lake Forest College (Ill.), and University of Illinois-Chicago. Other projects have included editing, writing, and contributing to five nonfiction books, publishing two fiction novels, and peer reviewing for Northwestern University Press. Currently he is working on a nonfiction Dust Bowl novel. Conklin lives in Arizona in the winter, where he teaches writing and consults as a volunteer in the Scottsdale Public Library and Phoenix Public School systems.

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