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.

Literary Fair Schedule

Over 20 talks, readings, performances, and more

Presented as a public extension of the Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writers Conference, the Desert Nights, Rising Stars Literary Fair features over 20 talks, readings, and performances from authors, publishers, and other organizations from all over the Southwest on Saturday, February 22, 2020 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on the front lawn of Old Main.

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

The schedule for the 2020 Desert Nights, Rising Stars Literary Fair will be announced in Winter 2020. 

In the meantime, you can view past schedulesmeet our exhibitors, or learn more about the conference.

Interested in becoming an exhibitor? Learn more about becoming an exhibitor today! 

View Past Fair Schedules

Date: Friday, February 22, 2019 - 11:30am
Genre & Forms: Creative Nonfiction, Fiction, Poetry

Join the graduate students of Arizona State University's Creative Writing program for a mixed-genre reading of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction on Friday, February 22, 2019 at 11:30 a.m.

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.


Red Hen Press presents Kate Gale
Kate Gale, Red Hen Press

Date: Friday, February 22, 2019 - 12:30pm
Genre & Forms: Poetry

Red Hen Press presents a reading from poet, editor and librettist Kate Gale at 12:30 p.m. on Friday, February 22, 2019. 


Red Hen Press presents Douglas Manuel
Douglas Manuel, Red Hen Press

Date: Friday, February 22, 2019 - 1:00pm
Genre & Forms: Poetry

Red Hen Press presents a reading from poet Douglas Manuel on Friday, February 22, 2019 at 1:00 p.m.

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.


Date: Friday, February 22, 2019 - 1:30pm
Genre & Forms: Creative Nonfiction, Fiction, Mixed Genre, Poetry

Join mentors and mentees from the Piper Center's Volta student programs for a mixed-genre reading of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction on Friday, February 22, 2019 at 1:30 p.m. Mentors and mentees are graduate and undergradute students in Arizona State University's Creative Writing Program. In addition reading, students will be on hand to share their experiences in the creative writing and mentoring programs. 


Date: Friday, February 22, 2019 - 2:30pm
Genre & Forms: Business of Writing, Publishing

So you've written your book. How do you navigate the everchanging flow of the publishing world? Join local authors Susan Stoltz and Hayley Rose for "Up the Amazon River Without a Paddle," a talk about selling your book on Amazon.com on Friday, February 22, 2019 at 2:30 p.m. In this talk, Stoltz and Rose will share tips, tricks, and basic knowledge they've learned working as independent authors and publishers, as well as practical advice and expectations for making the most out of online sales. 


Date: Friday, February 22, 2019 - 3:00pm
Genre & Forms: Creative Nonfiction, Fiction, Mixed Genre, Poetry

Join editors and contributors from The Literary Review (TLR) for "The TLR Share Project," a mixed reading of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction on Friday, February 22, 2019 at 3:00 p.m. Published since 1957, The Literary Review (TLR) publishes the best new fiction, poetry, and prose from a broad community of international writers and translators, both emerging and established, whose commonality is literary quality and urgency of voice and artistic conviction. It is this genuine community of readers, writers, and publishers that distinguishes us.


Date: Friday, February 22, 2019 - 3:30pm
Genre & Forms: Poetry, Translation, World Literature

Join Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writers Conference Fellow María Luisa Arroya for a reading from Destierro Means More than Exile, a collection of poems in Spanish and English, on Friday, February 22, 2019 at 3:30 p.m.


The Operator
Howard Gershkowitz

Date: Friday, February 22, 2019 - 4:00pm
Genre & Forms: Fiction, Mystery, Novels, Science Fiction

Local author Howard Gershkowitz shares The Operator, a novel of literary fiction with elements of science fiction and mystery, at 4:00 p.m. on Friday, February 22, 2019. In addition to readings, Gershkowitz will also discuss his creative and research processes. 

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.


Transfer U
Mike Conklin

Date: Friday, February 22, 2019 - 4:30pm
Genre & Forms: Fiction, Humor, Novels, Sports, Sports Writing

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. 


Going Indie
Kay Hartford

Date: Friday, February 22, 2019 - 5:00pm
Genre & Forms: Book Design, Business of Writing, Marketing, Publishing

Independent publishing can be both terrifying and exhilarating. Join local author and publisher Kay Hartford for her talk, "Going Indie" on Friday, February 22, 2019 at 5:00 p.m. Hartford will discuss the skills, mindset, and expectations one should have for producing a book and finding readers—editing, design, marketing, and more—and will also explore what it means to be a 'real' author. 


Date: Friday, February 22, 2019 - 5:30pm
Genre & Forms: Poetry

When you think of Las Vegas, your mind might not immediately land on poetry. However, the neon city brims with literary talent. Join authors from Tolsun Books and other presses for "Off Duty Elvis," a reading by Las Vegas poets on Friday, February 23, 2019 at 5:30 p.m. Featuring Jennifer Battisti, Heather Lang Cassera, and Elizabeth Quiñones-Zaldaña.


Out of the Queue: Common Mistakes in the Submissions Process
Superstition Review, Tahoma Literary Review

Date: Saturday, February 23, 2019 - 10:00am
Genre & Forms: Business of Writing, Publishing, Submitting

Every month, editors read hundreds of unsolicited submissions. Join editors from Superstition Review and Tahoma Literary Review for "Wading Through Slush," a panel on submitting work to literary journals, on Saturday, February 23, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. Editors will detail common mistakes they see during the submissions process, as well as best practices for standing out and maintaining a solid submissions practice. Ample time will be allotted for open audience Q&A. Featuring Ann Beman, Yi Shun Lai, Patricia Colleen Murphy, Spencer Litman, Alyssa Lindsey, and Lian Ammerman.


Date: Saturday, February 23, 2019 - 11:00am
Genre & Forms: Creative Nonfiction, Fiction, Mixed Genre, Poetry

Join students and editors from Lux Undergraduate Creative Review for a mixed reading of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction on Saturday, February 23, 2019 at 11:00 a.m.

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.


Date: Saturday, February 23, 2019 - 11:30am
Genre & Forms: Creative Nonfiction, Fiction, Mixed Genre, Poetry

Join the Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writers Conference for a mixed-genre, open-mic style community reading of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction on Saturday, February 23, 2019 at 11:30 a.m. Conference attendees who are interested in reading should prepare no more than five minutes of material. Sign-ups will open at 11:15 a.m. There are no advance sign-ups. You must be attending the Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writers Conference in order to sign up and read.


Rewriting the Literary Landscape: Five IAIA Writers
Institute of American Indian Arts

Date: Saturday, February 23, 2019 - 12:30pm
Genre & Forms: American Indian Studies, Creative Nonfiction, Fiction, Indigenous Studies, Poetry

Join the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) for "Rewriting the Literary Landscape" a mixed-genre reading of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction with five current and former students from the IAIA's MFA in Creative Writing program, on Saturday, February 23, 2019 at 12:30 p.m. Featuring Jake Skeets, Lemanuel Loley, Joaquín Zihuatanejo, Carla Crujido, and Douglas Suano Bootes.


Reading between Lines, Writing behind Bars: Creative Writing & Incarceration
Iron City Magazine, University of Arizona Poetry Center

Date: Saturday, February 23, 2019 - 1:30pm
Genre & Forms: Community, Creative Nonfiction, Fiction, Mixed Genre, Poetry, Social Justice, Social Practice

Prisoners are people. But too often, their potential to make meaningful contributions to society is overshadowed by their crime, let alone the punitive institutions in which they exist. Join volunteer creative writing teachers from Iron City Magazine: Creative Expressions By and For the Incarcerated, The University of Arizona Poetry Center, and other organizations for "Reading between Lines, Writing between Bars" a panel, reading, and conversation around creative writing and incarceration on Saturday, February 23, 2019 at 1:30 p.m.


of/from/around La Frontera: A Reading
University of Texas at El Paso Department of Creative Writing

Date: Saturday, February 23, 2019 - 2:30pm
Genre & Forms: Fiction, Human Rights, Poetry, Social Justice, Translation, World Literature

President Trump has relentlessly attacked Latinx and immigrant communities working in the US. As a community-making practice, writing has become a way to connect and to express rage, but also to produce solace. Join the University of Texas at El Paso Department of Creative Writing for "of/from/around La Frontera: A Reading," a bilingual reading of poetry and fiction that deal with living and writing in the US-Mexico Border on Saturday, February 23, 2019 at 2:30 p.m. Featuring current and former UTEP students Giancarlo Huapaya (Perú) and Sylvia A. Zéleny (México) .


Date: Saturday, February 23, 2019 - 3:00pm
Genre & Forms: Book Arts, Book Design, Poetry, Printing, Visual Art
Join artist, poet, and educator Kelly M. Houle as she shares A Dream: Selected Poems by Abramek Koplowicz, a limited-edition, illustrated book of poems by a child victim of the Holocaust, at 3:00 p.m.

Date: Saturday, February 23, 2019 - 3:30pm
Genre & Forms: Fiction, Novels

Join local author Jennifer Spiegel for a reading from And So We Die, Having First Slept, a novel of literary fiction about marriage and middle age in Generation X, on Saturday, February 23, 2019 at 3:30 p.m. 

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.


Date: Saturday, February 23, 2019 - 4:00pm
Genre & Forms: Book Arts, Book Design, Poetry, Publishing

What do you call a collection of poems that’s bigger than a credit card and smaller than a postcard? Join rinky dink press for "Punk Rock Poetry: Publishing for the People," a reading and talk about micro-poetry and do-it-yourself publishing, on Saturday, February 23, 2019 at 4:00 p.m.


Stories of Service: Creative Writing and the Military
Office for Veteran and Military Engagement

Date: Saturday, February 23, 2019 - 4:30pm
Genre & Forms: Fiction, Journalism, Military Writing, Poetry, Science Fiction, War

Join the Office for Veteran and Military Engagement for "Stories of Service," a panel and mixed-genre reading of fiction, science fiction, poetry, journalism, and more from veteran writers on Saturday, February 23, 2019 at 4:30 p.m. The panel will feature four veterans from different branches who served during different eras, bound by a life-long love of developing their craft to share their stories of service and society. Featuring:


Date: Saturday, February 23, 2019 - 5:30pm
Genre & Forms: Book Arts, Book Design, Interdisciplinary, Mixed Genre, Poetry, Printing, Translation, World Literature

Join the Cartonera Collective of Cardboard House Press for bilingual readings, music, and dialogue in Spanish and English on Saturday, February 23, 2019 at 5:30 p.m. The Cartonera Collective is a team of book makers devoted to the production of bilingual book art from Latin American authors. Cartonera books are handmade in limited editions at community workshops all across the country. Readings will sample cartonera books recently published by Cardboard House Press:


De Las Islas: A Celebration of Cuba & Puerto Rico
Achy Obejas, Jennine Capó Crucet, Nicole Sealey

Date: Saturday, February 23, 2019 - 7:30pm
Genre & Forms: Creative Nonfiction, Essays, Fiction, Mixed Genre, Poetry, Short Stories

The Borderlands Reading Series and the Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writers Conference present De Las Islas: A Celebration of Cuba and Puerto Rico with Achy Obejas, Jennine Capó Crucet, and Nicole Sealey on Saturday, February 23, 2019 in Carson Ballroom at Old Main, Arizona State University Tempe (400 E Tyler Mall, Tempe, AZ 85281) at 7:30 p.m.