Frequently Asked Questions

About the Conference

What is the Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writers Conference?

The DNRS Conference is an annual creative writing conference at Arizona State University (ASU) featuring nationally-recognized writers presenting a variety of classes, workshops, panels, and talks on literary craft, technique, and other topics related to creative writing art and practice.

Who is the conference for?

The conference is for developing writers of all levels, and people with an interest in literature and creative writing. Our faculty include writers, editors, agents, critics, translators, educators, publishers, and other creative writing professionals.

When did the conference start?

The conference was founded at the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing in 2003 and, with the exception of 2010 and 2020, has run every year since. 

How long is the conference?

The conference is two and a half days long. Generally, sessions begin around 9:00 am and end around 5:45 pm. Some readings and offsite events take place in the evenings.

How many people attend the conference?

As a mid-sized conference, we create a more intimate, community-focused environment drawing 300-350 attendees each year.


How much does the conference cost to attend?

Early registration for the conference is $225. Standard registration is $275. Other discounts or options are available. To learn more about registration, visit our registration page.

Do you offer discounts?

Discounts are available for ASU-affiliated students, Arizona educators, students, seniors, military and ex-military personnel, and people with disabilities. For more information, visit our registration page.

Discounts for businesses, educational institutions, groups, or other organizations may be available through our sponsorship program. To learn more about sponsorships, visit our sponsorships page or contact assistant director Sheila Black at

Do you offer refunds?

Refunds will be offered up to 4 weeks before the conference. We must receive written notice by 5:00 p.m. MST on September 12th. To request a refund, please send an email to All conference refunds will require a $25 processing fee.

Scholarships and Fellowships

Do you offer scholarships or fellowships?

We do offer a limited number of scholarship and fellowship opportunities each year. All scholarships and fellowships cover the full cost of conference registration. To learn more, visit our Scholarships and Fellowships page.

Do you offer sponsorships?

Yes. The conference offers numerous ways for individuals, businesses, or other organizations to make a contribution or invest in the conference. To learn more, you can view our sponsorship levels and benefits.

Do you offer travel assistance?

Unfortunately, we are not able to offer any travel assistance at this time.


What is included in conference registration?

Conference registration includes access to all classes, workshops, panels, and readings. Classes are designed to be small enough that students receive direct feedback, and benefit from dialogue and interchange with conference instructors. Registration also includes access to supplemental and social events like the nightly off-site readings.

When does registration open and close?

Registration for the conference will open on June 1 and close on September 30 or until sold out.

Can I register late?

Late registrations may be available. For late registrations, please contact

Can I purchase a registration to the conference as a gift?

Of course! Your friends are lucky to have you. What a thoughtful gift! To purchase a gift registration simply register for the conference and enter the specified information as necessary and appropriate for your recipient. For more information about gifts, contact

What materials or supplies are included in registration? Is there anything I should bring?

You will receive a welcome kit with a conference planner and other useful items. Keep an eye out for confirmation emails with additional information. 

Bring writing materials of choice and a sweater since indoor spaces can sometimes be chilly even though October in Tempe is generally warm.


How many sessions are there?

The conference typically features between 50-75 sessions over three days, with five to six sessions running at the same time. To learn more, stay tuned for the release of this year's schedule.

How long are sessions?

Sessions are typically 60 or 90 minutes with ten to fifteen minute breaks in between each session, and longer breaks for lunch.

What kinds of sessions do you offer?

We offer a variety of craft talks, classes, panels, generative workshops, interviews, conversations, discussions, and Q&As. The conference also features readings, networking opportunities, and other ways for people to connect.

What topics do sessions cover?

Beyond major forms like poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction, our conference covers a wide range of genres and topics, including but not limited to essays, memoirs, short stories, novels, hybrid forms, young adult, science fiction, fantasy, genre, screenwriting, and more. Several sessions are devoted to editors, agents, query letters, publishing, and other aspects of the business of writing.

What do you do in sessions?

While each session varies according to faculty and format, sessions typically feature a short lecture or presentation, small or large group discussion, in-class writing exercises and activities, and Q&A. Panels, interviews, or similar formats may be more focused on conversation, discussion, and Q&A.

How many people attend each session?

While most sessions average between 25 and 40 attendees, larger sessions or panels may draw as many as 70 or 80, with the keynote having up to 300 attendees.

Travel and Parking

Where is the conference located?

The conference takes place at the Memorial Union (MU) at 301 E Orange St., Tempe, AZ 85281 at Arizona State University in Tempe, AZ. View our Maps and Directions page.

Where should I park?

The Memorial Union (MU) is located at 301 E. Orange St. on the ASU Tempe campus. Visitor parking is available at the Apache Blvd. Parking Structure.

Is the conference accessible by light-rail or bus?

Yes. Our light-rail stop is College Ave and Veterans Way; campus is also served by numerous modes of public transportation.

I'm traveling. What should I pack?

Tempe in October is generally dry, fairly warm, and temperate, with high temperatures around 85 degrees. As a desert, nights can be somewhat chilly. We recommend checking the weather and planning appropriately.

As such, we recommend packing for spring or summer, including a light coat for lower temperatures in the early mornings, nights, or the off-chance that it rains.

As we live in a desert, we might also recommend bringing a water bottle, sunscreen, or any other items you might need to stay cool and comfortable.

If you're planning on spending any additional time in Phoenix or Arizona—hiking, visiting museums, restaurants, or other attractions, etc—we might also suggest a pair of good walking shoes.

I'm traveling. Where should I stay?

Generally speaking, we recommend staying close to campus to make travel easier and reduce your commute. There are many hotels within walking distance, and we typically secure a few official conference hotels where we can offer discounted rates.


Westin Tempe

Event ID/Group Name: ASU Desert Nights

Room Block Dates: October 11-15, 2023

Traditional Room (King or Queen/Queen)

$239 rate plus tax

Click here for the book link

Hyatt Place Tempe / Phoenix / University

Event ID/Group Name: ASU Desert Nights

Room Block Dates: October 11-15, 2023

Traditional Room (King or Queen/Queen)

$149.00 rate plus tax

Click here for the booking link

*Use the above link to navigate to the hotel website, click “book now”, select your arrival & departure date, then click “book now” again. (The link puts the group code in for you.) Group Code: G-DESE

*Or call 888-591-1234 and ask to reserve a room within the group block using the specific property name and group code.

Vib Tempe

Event ID/Group Name: ASU Desert Nights

Room Block Dates: October 11-15, 2023

Traditional Room (King or Queen/Queen)

$169.00 rate plus tax

Click here for the booking link


Does registration include meals?

Lunch is provided during the conference to those who included this option in their registration.

Can I bring my own food?

Yes. Conference attendees are welcome to bring their own food. However, please note that no refrigerators or other places to store food are available during the conference.

Where can I eat?

A number of restaurants, stores, and other dining options are located at Memorial Union and other walkable areas on campus. We generally work to secure some coupons for restaurants nearby, which we will share with conference participants.

While you're here

Is the conference accessible?

Yes. The Piper Center is committed to creating a welcoming, inclusive environment for individuals of all abilities. For more about accessibility, visit our accessibility page.

Is there a conference hashtag?

Yes. The hashtag for the Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writers Conference is #desertnightsrisingstars and #dnrs followed by the year (e.g. #dnrs2024). You can also use #piperwriters and #piperwritershouse.

Can I smoke on campus?

No. ASU is a tobacco-free campus. You can take a short walk off-campus to smoke. Please note that this includes e-cigarettes. To learn more, visit ASU’s Tobacco-free Initiative page.

Can I take photographs?

Yes. Photography at the conference is welcome. That being said, please be respectful of faculty, attendees, or other individuals who may not wish to have their pictures taken.