The Desert Nights, Rising Stars
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Desert Nights, Rising Stars Fellows Reading

Date(s): Wednesday, January 15, 2020, 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Crescent Ballroom, Lounge, 308 N 2nd Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85003
Genre and Form(s): Essays, Fantasy, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Poetry, Romance, Science Fiction, Short Stories
Cost: Free

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About this Event

Sean Avery. Andrew Hudson. Rogelio Juárez. Natalie Lima. Susan Nguyen. Gionni Ponce. Joel Salcido. Willow Sanders. Judith Starkston. Fargo Tbakhi. Ten incredible writers living in Arizona who are Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writers Conference fellows. Multiple genres. One reading.

Celebrate our local Desert Nights, Rising Stars fellows with the Desert Nights, Rising Stars Fellows Reading, Wednesday, January 15, 2020 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. in the lounge at Crescent Ballroom (308 N 2nd Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85003). Readings will start around 6:30 p.m. 

Please note: all RSVPs are purely for the purposes of monitoring attendance, gauging interest, and sending information and reminders ahead of the event. You do not need to RSVP or register to attend this event. This event is open to the public and free.

About the Fellows

Sean Avery is a gamer and Hip-Hop nerd, who’s only wish in our world is to watch an unproblematic, Black sci-fi TV show. Until then, they toil as a Cultural Worker and Digital Organizer for the prison abolitionist people’s movement, Mass Liberation Arizona, while also creating rap, poetry, prose, and performance. Their work questions the limits of Black masculinity, media (mis)representation, and personal narrative. 

Photograph of Andrew Hudson

Andrew Dana Hudson is a speculative fiction writer and sustainability researcher. His stories have appeared in Slate Future Tense, Lightspeed Magazine, Vice Terraform, MIT Technology Review, Grist, Little Blue Marble, The New Accelerator, and more, as well as various books and anthologies. His nonfiction writing has appeared in Slate, among others. He is a member of the cursed 2020/2021 class of the Clarion Workshop.

Photograph of Rogelio Juarez

Rogelio Juárez is a Phoenix-based writer, a graduate of the VONA/Voices of Our Nation and Tin House workshops, a grandson of Braceros and son of an immigrant and a marine. His writing can be found in J Journal: New Writing on Justice, The James Franco Review, and Zócalo Public Square.

Photograph of Natalie Lima

Natalie Lima is a 2016 PEN America Emerging Voices Fellow and a VONA/Voices alum. She is 2019 alum of the winter Tin House Workshops and will be attending the summer workshop in July. She is a first-generation college graduate of Northwestern University and an MFA candidate in creative nonfiction at the University of Arizona, where she teaches introduction to fiction writing and freshman composition. Her essays and fiction have been published or are forthcoming in Longreads, Catapult, Brevity, The Offing, and elsewhere.

Susan Nguyen hails from Virginia but currently lives and writes in Arizona. She earned her MFA in Poetry from Arizona State University, where she won the Aleida Rodriguez Memorial Prize and fellowships from the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing. In 2018, PBS NewsHour named her one of "three women poets to watch." Her work appears in diagram, Tin House, and elsewhere. Her debut collection, Dear Diaspora, won the 2020 Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Poetry and will be published in September 2021.

Gionni Ponce is a Macondista prose writer living in Tempe, Arizona. She is a former 2020 Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writers' Conference Fellow. In 2019, she received a full-tuition scholarship to the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown and was named a Writer in South Asia Fellow by Indiana University in 2018. She is currently working on a short story collection centered on bilingualism and multi-generational conflict in Mexican-American families. Learn more on Twitter: @GPisMe

Photograph of Joel Salcido wearing a pigeon mask

Joel Salcido was born in the San Fernando Valley and raised in West Phoenix. He is the son of Mexican immigrants, a first-generation college graduate, a husband, and father of three sons. Salcido characterizes his work as hood magical realism—a navigation between the grief & ecstasy of place & experience. His poetry and prose are not simply written to or about his culture and community—but from it.

Photograph of Willow Sanders

A marketer by day, and author by night, Willow Sanders writes sweet with heat Contemporary Romance and Romantic Suspense. Her debut novel, Dirty Little Secret won Breakout Author of the Year in 2012 from and was the Book Buzz PR - Romance Novel of the year. She has been a municipal liaison for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) since 2004, both in Chicago and in Phoenix, is the Publicity Chair for Valley of the Sun RWA, the President of Desert Rose RWA, and also was named a 40 Under 40 Marketer by Connect Association last year.

Photograph of Judith Starkston

Judith Starkston writes historical fantasy set in the Bronze Age world of Hittites and Greeks. She holds degrees in Classics, from University of California, Santa Cruz (BA) and Cornell University (MA). She taught high-school English, Latin and humanities. Her debut novel, Hand of Fire, was a semi-finalist for the prestigious M.M. Bennett’s Award for Historical Fiction. Her second novel, Priestess of Ishana won the San Diego State University Conference Choice Award. She is represented by Richard Curtis.

Photograph of Fargo Tbakhi

Fargo Tbakhi (he/him) is a queer Palestinian-american writer and performer from Phoenix, Arizona. He is the winner of the 2018 Ghassan Kanafani Resistance Arts Scholarship and the 2017 Kristin Valentine Scholarship in Performance Studies. He is a Pushcart nominee, and his work can be found in Cotton Xenomorph, Mizna, Cosmonauts Avenue, Glass: a Journal of Poetry, Peach Mag, and elsewhere.

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