The Desert Nights, Rising Stars
Writers Conference

Picture of Piper Center Artistic Director Alberto Álvaro Ríos speaking at Desert Nights, Rising Stars

Piper Center Artistic Director and Arizona inaugural Poet Laureate Alberto Álvaro Ríos speaking at the Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writers Conference in 2018. Photo by Kevin S Moul.

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From the Director

A letter from Alberto Ríos

Welcome writers. Welcome readers.

This year, we celebrate the 15th anniversary of the Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writers Conference. 2019 has me thinking about meaning, and specifically the meaning of numbers. The number 15 in numerology marks a manifestation of harmony, the steady flow of energy, the source of both power and cooperation. The number also holds significance for those who wish to learn, to make change in their lives. We gather over the next two days to do just this: unite in our passion for creative writing, gather with open minds and hearts to discover and surprise ourselves, and share space as artists, writers, readers, and community members with the hopes that our collective sensibility will bring good into the world. Thank you for being a part of this significant milestone. Welcome to our home at Arizona State University! 

For 15 years, the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing has offered this conference to connect writers to each other, to the larger conversations on creative writing, and to support the individual journey that you are on as a reader, writer, and thinker. This conference exists because we believe gathered voices hold strength, we believe that education takes place within community, and we believe our combined voices, as writers and human beings both, are the necessary catalyst for thoughtful change and a bettering of our times.

How to navigate being a writer in today’s cultural climate, social justice, literary citizenship, equity, and, of course, craft all fill these discussions, panels, and sessions. Our faculty were carefully selected not only for their work as artists and educators but also their involvement in their communities. Our conference continues to evolve in ways that allow for more access and more engagement for you, our readers and writers. Thank you for being an integral part of this year’s conference. Welcome to the Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writers Conference 2019!

 —Alberto Ríos

Director, the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing
February 22, 2019