The Desert Nights, Rising Stars
Writers Conference

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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. 

While sessions vary from year to year, the conference generally covers all major genres and forms—fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, memoir, young adult, and genre fiction—as well as editing, publishing, the business of writing, and the writing life. We also highlight special topics or issues such as 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.

The schedule for the 2021 Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writers Conference will be announced this Fall.

In the meantime, you can view past schedulesdownload last year's program, meet our faculty, or register for the conference today!

View Sessions for the 2020 Conference


Thursday, February 20, 2020, 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., Piper Writers House, 450 E Tyler Mall, Tempe, AZ 85281
Generative Workshop, Workshop; Fiction, Mixed Genre, Novels, Short Stories


Thursday, February 20, 2020, 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., Piper Writers House, 450 E Tyler Mall, Tempe, AZ 85281
Advanced Workshop, Generative Workshop, Workshop; Poetry


Thursday, February 20, 2020, 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., Piper Writers House, 450 E Tyler Mall, Tempe, AZ 85281
Advanced Workshop, Workshop; Creative Practice, Mixed Genre, Writing Process


Thursday, February 20, 2020, 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., Piper Writers House, 450 E Tyler Mall, Tempe, AZ 85281
Advanced Workshop, Generative Workshop, Lecture, Workshop; Experimental, Hybrid, LGBTQIA, Poetry, Sexuality


Thursday, February 20, 2020, 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., Piper Writers House, 450 E Tyler Mall, Tempe, AZ 85281
Advanced Workshop, Generative Workshop, Workshop; Poetry


Thursday, February 20, 2020, 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., Changing Hands Phoenix, 300 W Camelback Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85013
Reception, Social, Workshop; Mixed Genre


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

Creative Writing is Queer
Piper J Daniels, Kay Ulanday Barrett, Raquel Gutiérrez

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


Friday, February 21, 2020, 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m., Thoren, University Club
Conversation, Discussion, Panel, Presentation, Reading, Talk; Feminism, Latin American, Latinx, Poetry, Translation, Women's Studies, World Literature


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


Friday, February 21, 2020, 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m., Basha, Old Main
Craft Talk, Presentation; Mixed Genre


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
Generative Workshop, Presentation; Creative Nonfiction, Memoir


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., Heritage, University Club
Craft Talk, Presentation; Poetry, Social Practice, Therapeutic Practice


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

Panel: Making a Mystery
Shannon Baker, Dianne Freeman, Denise Ganley, Deborah J. Ledford, Sisters in Crime Desert Sleuths

Friday, February 22, 2020, 10:15 a.m. to 11:15 a.m., Thoren, University Club
Panel; Crime Fiction, Fiction, Mixed Genre, Mystery


Friday, February 21, 2020, 10:15 a.m. to 11:15 a.m., Tooker, Old Main
Lecture, Presentation, Seminar; Business of Writing, Creative Practice, Professional Development


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


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

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


Friday, February 21, 2020, 1:45 p.m. - 2:45 p.m., Tooker, Old Main
Panel; Children's Books, Marketing, Middle Grade, Publishing, Submitting, Young Adult Literature


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
Craft Talk, Presentation; American Indian, Creative Nonfiction, Indigenous, Poetry


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, 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., Carson Ballroom, Old Main
Panel; Agents, Business of Writing, Editing, Publishing, Submitting


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., 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., Heritage, University Club
Generative Workshop, Presentation, Workshop; Experimental, Nature Writing, Poetry

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