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.

From the Director

A letter from Piper Center Artistic Director Alberto Álvaro Ríos

Each day, all of us make a decision on where to channel our energy, time, and interests. In tandem with all the commitments swirling in life, you have chosen to consider being with us here, now, in this beautiful place, to show your passion for creative writing. We do not take your gesture lightly. We are honored to host you as our guests. Welcome to our home at Arizona State University!

Here at the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing, we strive to help you in your own individual journey as a reader and a writer. This conference exists because we believe your voice, the unique person you are, adds intrinsic value to the larger conversation in creative writing.

We believe in the power of community. We are not a singular voice, but many singular voices, resonating as everyone together.  We believe in your words—how these words form a larger collective and become the catalysts for innovation, inspiration, motivation, and change.

Along with who we are, where we are matters as well. Place, to me, is the actual ground people stand on. We may live our lives in whatever ways we do, but we live somewhere, we are somewhere, and we make our presence somewhere.  We recognize in our welcome that we are in the great Sonoran Desert. Sonoran, as a word, means “sonorous,” or “soundful.” In that spirit, we will listen and make noise both. It is through you that our place becomes meaningful. As we gather, and say such different things, we will be in this place together. Let us embrace our differences and commonalities both, to learn, process, think, and be community. Thank you for considering the Piper Center and this conference as part of the place in which you live.