The Desert Nights, Rising Stars
Writers Conference

Picture of large moon rising over purple desert with pink sky

Conference Schedule

Over 50 craft talks, panels, presentations, and more

The Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writers Conference is eclectic, comprehensive, balanced, and diverse, featuring over 50 craft talks, workshops, panels, and other presentations on literary craft, current trends, special topics, publishing, and more. 

Sessions cover all major genres and forms—fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, memoir, young adult, and genre fiction—while also touching on editing, publishing, the business of writing, and the writing life. We also highlight special topics like travel writing, climate change, graphic novels, translation, disability studies, hybrid forms, social justice, and more. 

Beyond regular sessions, we also offer advanced workshops with selected conference faculty on Thursday before the conference begins.

To view the schedule for this year's conference, use the side menu or keep reading. 

You can also view individual schedules for ThursdayFriday, and Saturday

To learn more about the conference, you can view past schedulesdownload last year's program, meet our faculty, or register for the conference today!

View Sessions for the 2020 Conference


Friday, February 21, 2020, 8:00 a.m. to 8:45 a.m.
Carson Ballroom, Old Main; Ceremony, Social;

Queer Representation in Writing
Cathy Linh Che, Piper J Daniels, Kay Ulanday Barrett

Friday, February 21, 2020, 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.
Carson Ballroom, Old Main; Panel; LGBTQIA Studies, Mixed Genre, Sexuality


Friday, February 21, 2020, 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.
Basha, Old Main; Generative Workshop, Presentation; Creative Nonfiction, Memoir


Friday, February 21, 2020, 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.
Traditions, University Club; Generative Workshop, Workshop; Fiction, Short Stories


Friday, February 21, 2020, 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.
Heritage, University Club; Craft Talk, Presentation; Mixed Genre


Friday, February 21, 2020, 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.
Tooker, Old Main; Presentation; Fiction, Romance


Friday, February 21, 2020, 10:15 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.
Carson Ballroom, Old Main; Craft Talk, Presentation, Seminar; Fantasy, Fiction, Genre Fiction, Mixed Genre, Science Fiction


Friday, February 21, 2020, 10:15 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.
Heritage, University Club; Craft Talk, Presentation; Poetry, Social Practice, Therapeutic Practice


Friday, February 21, 2020, 10:15 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.
Basha, Old Main; Conversation, Craft Talk, Discussion, Presentation; Fiction, Race, Sexuality


Friday, February 21, 2020, 10:15 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.
Traditions, University Club; Craft Talk, Generative Workshop, Presentation, Workshop; Creative Nonfiction, Essays, Fiction, Humor, Memoir, Personal Essays

Veterans Reading
Office for Veteran and Military and Academic Engagement

Friday, February 21, 2020, 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.
Heritage, University Club; Reading; Creative Nonfiction, Fiction, Mixed Genre, Poetry


Friday, February 21, 2020, 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.
Carson Ballroom, Old Main; Reading; Mixed Genre, Students


Friday, February 21, 2020, 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Carson Ballroom, Old Main; Reading; Mixed Genre


Friday, February 21, 2020, 1:45 p.m. to 2:45 p.m.
Basha, Old Main; Presentation; Business of Writing, Children's Books, Creative Nonfiction, Marketing, Memoir, Middle Grade, Publishing, Young Adult Literature


Friday, February 21, 2020, 1:45 p.m. to 2:45 p.m.
Traditions, University Club; Conversation, Discussion, Generative Workshop, Presentation, Workshop; Creative Practice, Mixed Genre, Therapeutic Practice, Writing Practice, Writing Process


Friday, February 21, 2020, 1:45 p.m. to 2:45 p.m.
Carson Ballroom, Old Main; Presentation; Business of Writing, Professional Development


Friday, February 21, 2020, 1:45 p.m. to 2:45 p.m.
Heritage, University Club; ;

Publishing
Rosemarie Dombrowski, Sally Ball, Kirby Kim

Friday, February 21, 2020, 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Carson Ballroom, Old Main; Panel; Business of Writing, Publishing


Friday, February 21, 2020, 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Heritage, University Club; Generative Workshop, Presentation, Workshop; Experimental, Nature Writing, Poetry


Friday, February 21, 2020, 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Thoren, University Club; Generative Workshop, Workshop; Poetry


Friday, February 21, 2020, 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Basha, University Club; Generative Workshop, Presentation, Workshop; Experimental, Fiction, Hybrid, Mixed Genre, Short Stories


Friday, February 21, 2020, 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Traditions, University Club; Craft Talk, Presentation; Fiction, Mixed Genre


Friday, February 21, 2020, 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Tooker, Old Main; Generative Workshop, Presentation, Workshop; Experimental, Poetry

Building Strong Characters
Michael A Stackpole, Tracey Baptiste, Sarah MacLean, Cristina García

Friday, February 21, 2020, 4:15 p.m. to 5:15 p.m.
Carson Ballroom, Old Main; Panel; Creative Nonfiction, Fiction, Mixed Genre


Friday, February 21, 2020, 4:15 p.m. to 5:15 p.m.
Heritage, University Club; Generative Workshop, Presentation, Workshop; Fiction, Mixed Genre


Friday, February 21, 2020, 4:15 p.m. to 5:15 p.m.
Thoren, University Club; Generative Workshop, Presentation, Workshop; Creative Nonfiction, Essays, Horror, Memoir, Personal Essays


Friday, February 21, 2020, 4:15 p.m. to 5:15 p.m.
Basha, Old Main; Generative Workshop, Presentation, Workshop; Creative Nonfiction, Fiction, Memoir, Mixed Genre, Poetry, Short Stories


Friday, February 21, 2020, 4:15 p.m. to 5:15 p.m.
Traditions, University Club; Generative Workshop, Presentation, Workshop; Creative Practice, Writing Life, Writing Practice, Writing Process


Friday, February 21, 2020, 4:15 p.m. to 5:15 p.m.
Tooker, Old Main; Generative Workshop, Presentation, Workshop; Mixed Genre, Nature Writing, Science Fiction


Friday, February 21, 2020, 5:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Carson Ballroom, Old Main; Reception;

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