The Desert Nights, Rising Stars
Writers Conference

Conference Schedule 2019

How to Survive Your Novel
Ramona Ausubel

Thursday, February 21, 2019, 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Starting a novel is hard. Finishing a novel seems nearly impossible. And the middle, well, the middle is a thousand years long. But! But! There are things you can do to turn walls into doorways and keep you moving forward. Join award winning novelist, Ramona Ausubel, in a course on discussing strategies for survival in writing your novel and for keeping the process fun, inventive and full of life. This workshop consists of both moments of lecture and exercises, so be prepared to learn, talk, engage, and put your thoughts and ideas on the page!

Location: Piper Writers House, 450 E Tyler Mall, Tempe, AZ 85281
Type: Generative Workshop, Lecture, Workshop
Genre: Creative Nonfiction, Fiction, Hybrid, Novels

Multiplying Language: The Art of Codeswitching and Bilingualism in Creative Writing
Achy Obejas

Thursday, February 21, 2019, 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

How do you approach creative writing in a multilingual landscape? Join critically acclaimed author, translator, and educator, Achy Obejas, to explore how authors use codeswitching, bilingualism and multiple languages in the same text to highlight culture, the necessity of home languages, and to demonstrate new creative paths for their writing. When and how do we codeswitch? To what to end do we use codeswitching in our art? What does it mean for our single language readers when these techniques are employed?

Location: Piper Writers House, 450 E Tyler Mall, Tempe, AZ 85281
Type: Advanced Workshop, Generative Workshop, Workshop
Genre: Mixed Genre, Translation, World Literature

Writing Down the Demons
Deborah Miranda

Thursday, February 21, 2019, 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

How do we summon creative power in the face of our personal and/or global demons? How can we speak of beauty when our world seems full of loss, grief, climate change, and political turmoil?  Thich Nhat Hanh says that the work of meditation is to transform “compost into flowers”; that is also the work of poetry.  This generative workshop will help you to re-see your demons as a form of poetic compost.

Location: Piper Writers House, 450 E Tyler Mall, Tempe, AZ 85281
Type: Advanced Workshop, Generative Workshop, Workshop
Genre: Poetry

Writing Away from a Good/Evil Binary
Hanif Abdurraqib

Thursday, February 21, 2019, 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

We too often rely on a “good/bad” binary to shape our characters and considerations in our stories. How do our complexities as human beings find their way to the page? In this generative workshop, join poet, essayist, and cultural critic, Hanif Abdurraqib, on an exploration on empathy and the dynamics of character in popular culture. The group will use an empathy tree in which participants figure out which characters in popular culture they find empathetic or non-empathetic.

Location: Piper Writers House, 450 E Tyler Mall, Tempe, AZ 85281
Type: Advanced Workshop, Generative Workshop, Workshop
Genre: Poetry

Conference Welcome

Friday, February 22, 2019, 8:00 a.m. - 8:45 a.m.

More information about this session is coming soon

Location: Carson Ballroom, Old Main
Type: Community Event, Networking
Genre: n/a

Demystifying the Creative Process: Rituals, Self-Care, and Habits for Writers
Elizabeth Charles

Friday, February 22, 2019, 9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.

Maya Angelou rented a motel room and took down all the wall art. Truman Capote wrote in bed and never started or finished something on a Friday. Charles Dickens, Virginia Woolf, Henry David Thoreau, and many others took long, rambling walks. Writers have been trying to hack creativity since quill and parchment existed, but for most people the act of sitting down to write a story or novel feels like an act shrouded in mystery.

Location: Tooker, Old Main
Type: Discussion, Seminar, Talk
Genre: Writing Life

Writers Relationship to Reading
Tara Ison, Deborah Miranda, Patricia Colleen Murphy, Mark Athitakis

Friday, February 22, 2019, 9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.

Many of us come to writing through a love of reading: the strike of literary lightning, a certain line or phrase that stays with us for years. As we continue to grow as writers and participate in the community, our creative process evolves, being shaped and informed by the relationships we have with the works of others.

Location: Carson Ballroom, Old Main
Type: Panel
Genre:

Speaking Their Language: The Voice of the Modern Teen
Erin Jade Lange

Friday, February 22, 2019, 9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.

If you open a book to find the word “groovy,” you are instantly transported to the 1960s and 1970s. If all the characters are “mad” for life and calling each other “Daddy-O,” they are probably straight out of the 1950s. But what vernacular belongs to today’s teens? In this session, we will explore how modern technology has impacted our lingo and how to capture the voice of contemporary teens, when there is no slang to define their generation. Attendees should come prepared to write.

Location: Heritage, University Club
Type: Generative Workshop, Lecture, Presentation
Genre: Fiction, Genre Fiction, Young Adult Literature

Resist the Erasure of Our [Im]Migrant Roots
María Luisa Arroyo

Friday, February 22, 2019, 9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.

Every single poet has complex roots – whether his/her/their family has lived in the States for generations or arrived here recently. This session provides poets the space and freedom to generate material that examines their cultural and linguistic identities in a safe environment. This workshop gives us permission to write about our roots, to learn more about how to use code-switching, and to become mindful of the musical friction and affinities between our English accents and Standard American English.

Location: Thoren, University Club
Type: Generative Workshop
Genre: Experimental, Hybrid, Mixed Genre, Poetry, Regional Literature, Translation, World Literature

Writing Personal Essays for Newspapers
Jane Marcellus

Friday, February 22, 2019, 9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.

Aimed at nonfiction writers, this workshop deals with publication opportunities that have emerged in recent years on the border between journalism and literary nonfiction. Arguably hybrid, these columns differ both from news-focused op-ed pieces and the work found in literary journals and magazines, often calling for different skills in the submission and editing processes. Please note: while this session will take place in person, the fellow will be presenting through Zoom.

Location: Basha, Old Main
Type: Presentation, Workshop
Genre: Business of Writing, Creative Nonfiction, Essays, Hybrid, Journalism

Writing for Change
Yvette Johnson

Friday, February 22, 2019, 9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.

Throughout the world people are trying to figure out how to connect, how to talk about things that matter without having those conversations devolve into chaos. Many are turning to the written word. But, how do we write about provocative topics without sounding like we're standing on a soapbox or shouting through a bullhorn? This session will provide a framework for how to write about controversial issues in ways that open the hearts and minds of your readers and that may even lead to true healing and change. 

Location: Traditions, University Club
Type: Lecture, Presentation
Genre: Creative Nonfiction, Fiction, Human Rights, Mixed Genre, Social Justice

Compositional Improvisation
TC Tolbert

Friday, February 22, 2019, 10:15 a.m. - 11:15 a.m.

In this fully embodied, experiential session, we will study, inhabit, and practice the art of Compositional Improvisation – composing (individually and collaboratively) (with movement, text, sound, and space) in the moment to create dynamic, rigorous, complex, and fully realized “pieces” without rehearsal or planning. This session will allow writers a chance to work from and with their bodies and unique subject positions while demanding acute attention to choice-making and the elements of composition on and off the page.

Location: Thoren, University Club
Type: Generative Workshop, Performance
Genre: Experimental, Hybrid, Interdisciplinary, LGBTQIA Studies, Mixed Genre, Poetry

The Job of Culture and Storytelling for The Resistance
Anna Flores

Friday, February 22, 2019, 10:15 a.m. - 11:15 a.m.

The current atmosphere of sensational opinion and clickbait headlines obsessed with a chaos-driven president has created a national eruption of misinformed dissent. In Arizona, artists and activists have seen a microcosm of present dangerous policies, electoral/resistance strategies. After the passing of SB1070, we gathered our truths to culturally and historically inform the present rhetoric of problem-solving. In this session, we will discuss how storytelling can and should function in the political sphere.

Location: Basha, Old Main
Type: Presentation
Genre: Human Rights, Mixed Genre, Social Justice, Storytelling

Eight Drafts in Search of a Story
Ramona Ausubel

Friday, February 22, 2019, 10:15 a.m. - 11:15 a.m.

Writers are always talking about revision, but what exactly do they mean? I will offer eight of my favorite exercises and strategies for taking a story into bigger, wilder realms. Each draft will open your work up and and reignite your imagination. 

Location: Traditions, University Club
Type: Generative Workshop, Presentation
Genre: Fiction, Mixed Genre, Novels, Short Stories

Fun and Freedom in Writing
Susanne Brent

Friday, February 22, 2019, 10:15 a.m. - 11:15 a.m.

Do you need to re-energize your writing? Looking for a fun and generative way to get your artistic momentum flowing? In this session, we’ll discuss how short, timed writing prompts can stimulate creativity, and demonstrate how individuals may express themselves through creative writing in ways they never believed possible. Many people are drawn to using this technique and find that they are able to move pen to paper with ease, even after gaps and breaks within their writing. We will put this technique into action to rediscover, wonder, and harness our creativity together.

Location: Tooker, Old Main
Type: Generative Workshop
Genre: Mixed Genre, Writing Life, Writing Process

Poet as Bandleader
Hanif Abdurraqib

Friday, February 22, 2019, 10:15 a.m. - 11:15 a.m.

Using sound and explorations of sound to better define the shapes of our poems. For example, what can the use of sampling tell a writer about the different modes their familiar language can be in? Or, what can percussive sounds tell a writer about their word selections, and how the language they select fills out the poem, and gives it a wave of sonic delights. 

Location: Carson Ballroom, Old Main
Type: Presentation
Genre: Poetry

In Search of the Inciting Incident: Novel Plot and Structure
Matthew Salesses

Friday, February 22, 2019, 10:15 a.m. - 11:15 a.m.

Have a great idea for a novel but don't know how to start it? Stuck in the middle of novel-drafting and stalling out? Much of writing a novel through to its end is about what is set up by its premise. A novel, a great writer once said, is a structural machine. That structure begins at the beginning. Agents and editors want to see the first 50 pages of the novel for a reason--a lot has to happen in those 50 pages to sustain a book-length work of fiction. What exactly makes an inciting incident, though? Exploring that question will help the writer set the groundwork for a novel.

Location: Heritage, University Club
Type: Presentation
Genre: Fiction, Mixed Genre, Novels

ASU MFA Reading

Friday, February 22, 2019, 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Join the Piper Center for short readings of poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction from graduate students in the Creative Writing Program at Arizona State University.

Free and open to the public.

Location: Farnsworth Terrace, Old Main
Type: Reading
Genre: Creative Nonfiction, Fiction, Flash, Hybrid, Mixed Genre, Poetry, Short Stories

Actual Lives: Writing and Performing Disability
Terry Galloway

Friday, February 22, 2019, 1:45 p.m. - 2:45 p.m.

What does it mean to explore the actual lives of others? What do we know of disability and how do we write about it? How do we preform disability? Join writer, director, and performer, Terry Galloway in exploring disability in creative writing and performance. In this session participants will spend fifteen minutes writing as frankly as they can about the subject, using as prompts either their experiences with disability or their impressions of disability.

Location: Carson Ballroom, Old Main
Type: Generative Workshop, Presentation, Workshop
Genre: Disability Studies, Drama, Mixed Genre

Electricity & The Service Panel
Bojan Louis

Friday, February 22, 2019, 1:45 p.m. - 2:45 p.m.

This session will explore the basics of an electrical circuit as the foundation for creating tercets and other stanzas comprised of multiples of three. Participants will compose a poem using the methodology and building codes for a residential service panel. The group will examine poems that speak to, or are written by, poets with working class backgrounds in skilled trades and factory work. 

Location: Heritage, University Club
Type: Generative Workshop, Lecture, Presentation
Genre: Experimental, Poetry

Trends in Literary Magazine Publishing
Patricia Colleen Murphy

Friday, February 22, 2019, 1:45 p.m. - 2:45 p.m.

The diverse world of literary publishing is changing more rapidly than ever. We will examine several top markets, identifying trends in design, editorial preferences, leadership, and technology. We will also discuss methods for managing submissions in a fast-paced publishing environment. 

Location: Thoren, University Club
Type: Presentation
Genre: Business of Writing, Editing, Publishing

Beyond Genre: How to Tell Unforgettable Science Fiction Stories
Malik Toms

Friday, February 22, 2019, 1:45 p.m. - 2:45 p.m.

Science fiction, climate fiction and more all represent molds into which we pour our stories. However, genre alone is not what make stories memorable. The heavyweights of genre fiction all know this one secret: You must create characters worth following. In this workshop we will discuss what makes a character story worthy. We will peel back the layers of genre convention and uncover how to place your character in a situation compelling enough to keep the reader turning pages until the end.

Location: Basha, Old Main
Type: Presentation, Workshop
Genre: Climate Fiction, Fiction, Genre Fiction, Science Fiction, Short Stories

The Family Saga: History and the Multi-Generational Novel
Joseph Han

Friday, February 22, 2019, 1:45 p.m. - 2:45 p.m.

This session explores the role of history in contemporary novels—of colonialism, war, and diaspora—as events and periods become catalysts for narrative and character movement through time. It will provide an overview of the “family saga” as a narrative structure: its merits and challenges from both a reading and writing perspective. What gaps are irreconcilable or inevitable in a novel’s spanning across time and through generations of characters?

Location: Traditions, University Club
Type: Discussion, Presentation, Seminar
Genre: Fiction, Novels

Writing the Body in Health and Illness
Laura Maher

Friday, February 22, 2019, 1:45 p.m. - 2:45 p.m.

What is the language of your body? What are the ways the language distances or connects you to your body? How do we write challenging physical experiences creatively and lyrically? This session will explore the ways in which language can shape our experiences of our bodies and our health outcomes.

Location: Tooker, Old Main
Type: Discussion, Presentation, Workshop
Genre: Disability Studies, Mixed Genre

Building a City of Stories
Justin Noga, Noah Trammell

Friday, February 22, 2019, 3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

In fairy tales, there are royalty and dragons, wolves and goblins, knights and millers—but think of the world they occupy. Who are the characters on the margins of society and where are they during the events of the narrative? In this collaborative writing session, we’ll pry open a single fairy tale to discover those hidden characters. After sharing our work, we’ll pry open our own free-writes to spot our characters’ tangly relationships and use these discoveries to further our narratives.

Location: Tooker, Old Main
Type: Craft Talk, Workshop
Genre: Fiction, Mixed Genre

Literary Citizenship Panel: Craft as Culture
Kirstin Chen, Bill Konigsberg, Jennine Capó Crucet, Matthew Salesses, Jake Friedman

Friday, February 22, 2019, 3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

We often think about mass media and journalism in the context of social responsibility: what and how news is covered, as well as accuracy and objectivity. What about literature? Do writers have a responsibility to engage with critical societal issues or movements? What brings a writer to feel compelled to use their art as social commentary or activism? How do race, class, and other social categories affect our lives and lead us toward certain subject matter or genre? Can creativity even be obligated at all?

Location: Carson Ballroom, Old Main
Type: Panel
Genre: Community, Social Justice, Social Practice, Writing Life

Imagination and the War on Cliché
James Sallis

Friday, February 22, 2019, 3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Martin Amis said that all writing is a war on cliche -- not only cliches of expression, but cliches of setting, character, even narrative style. Tim O'Brien wrote that what he finds lacking in so much of today's writing is simple imagination. We'll talk about rejecting the first streams of what comes to mind, about digging deeper: seeing, visualizing, recreating. 

Location: Heritage, University Club
Type: Presentation, Seminar
Genre: Creative Practice, Mixed Genre, Writing Life, Writing Practice, Writing Process

Healing through Creative Writing
Briyana D Clarel

Friday, February 22, 2019, 3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Do you have stories to unravel and unpack? Process-focused writing is a powerful tool for healing. This interactive session will focus on creative writing as an accessible tool for healing, self-care, and wellness, particularly in community settings. Participants will engage in a supportive, creative truth-sharing process and learn how to implement such activities in other settings. This session is ideal for writers on their own healing journeys, as well as educators, activists, and justice oriented artists aiming to better support their communities.

Location: Thoren, University Club
Type: Discussion, Generative Workshop, Presentation
Genre: Mixed Genre, Social Justice, Teaching

Making Facts Matter
Mike Conklin

Friday, February 22, 2019, 3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Join career journalist, Mike Conklin, on his approach to writing creative nonfiction with a focus on the basics: establish the narrative, match it with an intended audience and medium, collect facts, and, depending on length, construct your storytelling with an organized, clear pathway. The structure of sentences, paragraphs and relative details carry the reader. Sounds simple and journalistic, but nonfiction writing is about facts---their use and non-use. Let them tell the story, and the writer provides segues.

Location: Basha, Old Main
Type: Presentation
Genre: Creative Nonfiction, Journalism

Talking Back to Dominant Narratives
Douglas Manuel

Friday, February 22, 2019, 3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

In this session, we will examine poems by people of color that directly speak back to/are in conversation with previous poets of the dominant culture. By exploring poems by Robert Frost and Thylias Moss, Allen Ginsberg and Craig Santos Perez, Maggie Smith and Natalie Scenters-Zapico, we will seek to discover why poets of color often feel the impulse to remix/revise/clap back at older canonized poems.

Location: Traditions, University Club
Type: Lecture, Presentation
Genre: African American Studies, Asian American Studies, Indigenous Studies, Latinx Studies, Poetry, Social Justice

Getting Down to Business: Publishing and You
Erin Jade Lange, Kirby Kim, Sally Ball, Katie Berta

Friday, February 22, 2019, 4:15 p.m. - 5:15 p.m.

What are the realities of publishing in today’s creative writing market? Do you have a work or a manuscript ready for the world to see? What is your plan for submitting your work to publishers and publications? Is your query letter ready to go? Have you inquired about an agent? Are you looking to learn the details of starting the publication process? How does a writer prepare for the next step in the journey of professional writing?

Location: Carson Ballroom, Old Main
Type: Panel
Genre: Agents, Business of Writing, Editing, Publishing, Submitting

Conflict as Heart and Engine of Story
Achy Obejas

Friday, February 22, 2019, 4:15 p.m. - 5:15 p.m.

In this workshop, we will have a laser-like focus on one thing: conflict. Without conflict, stories are flat or meandering. Conflict is the engine, the heart, ground zero of a story, whether it’s a blaster or a 900 page novel. But what is conflict, exactly? How do we set it up? How do we set it up so it’s not terribly obvious or cliché? And how do we use conflict to advance our story?  Participants will be guided through a quick checklist approach to building conflict in stories. 

Location: Heritage, University Club
Type: Presentation, Workshop
Genre: Fiction, Mixed Genre, Novels, Short Stories

Fact into Fiction
Tara Ison

Friday, February 22, 2019, 4:15 p.m. - 5:15 p.m.

This session will examine how seemingly dry facts and figures can be transformed into the stuff of fiction. How can raw data - historical, scientific, or technical information - create drama, inspire metaphor, drive character? And how, from a practical craft perspective, can and should we use such information in the service of story?

Location: Thoren, University Club
Type: Presentation
Genre: Fiction, Mixed Genre, Research

Writers of Color in a White Man's Literary World
Rashaad Thomas

Friday, February 22, 2019, 4:15 p.m. - 5:15 p.m.

What is it like to be a poet of color in a literary world dominated by white men? What does it mean to be a writer of color without an MFA walking the hallways of the academy’s ivory tower that continue to colonize spaces of color? Writers of color will engage in a discussion exploring questions that are common while existing in a white man’s literary world. Participants will look at two poems and one essay that showcases how writers of color historically have nurtured their authentic voice and given a voice for the silenced.

Location: Basha, Old Main
Type: Discussion
Genre: African American Studies, Asian American Studies, Indigenous Studies, Latinx Studies, Writing Life

The Big Fat World: Fiction for All Sizes
Kelly deVos

Friday, February 22, 2019, 4:15 p.m. - 5:15 p.m.

In the U.S., upwards of 40% of the population is currently classified as overweight and there is a growing cultural awareness of the body positive and fat positive movements. It is becoming increasingly important for fiction writers to fill their worlds with people of a variety of body types. This session will discuss how and why to incorporate people of all sizes into fiction as well as how to deal with and/or eliminate fat stereotypes.

Location: Traditions, University Club
Type: Presentation
Genre: Fiction, Mixed Genre

Writing Sex Fearlessly
Kalani Pickhart

Friday, February 22, 2019, 4:15 p.m. - 5:15 p.m.

Sex is one of the basest of human driving behaviors and yet remains one of the most challenging topics to write. Whether we are describing love, intimacy, the act of sex, sexual violence, or simply describing the body, how do we navigate sex in our work without slipping into cliché, detached language, or tonal discord? In this session, we will look at examples of writers in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry who have written sex fearlessly and we will discuss how these authors’ approaches are effective.

Location: Tooker, Old Main
Type: Craft Talk, Discussion, Seminar
Genre: Creative Nonfiction, Fiction, Mixed Genre, Poetry

Small Group Check Ins

Friday, February 22, 2019, 5:30 p.m. - 6:15 p.m.

More information about small group check ins is coming soon.

Location: Piper Writers House, 450 E Tyler Mall, Tempe, AZ 85281
Type: Community Event, Conversation
Genre: n/a

Keynote: Topography of the Self
Carmen Giménez Smith, Letras Latinas

Friday, February 22, 2019, 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.

Gloria Anzaldua referred to her groundbreaking book Borderlands as an autohistoria-teoria, an epistemological autobiography. She conceived of the liminal space, El Mundo Zurdo, where becoming and thinking converge for radical acts of decolonization, and posited the possibility that writing is the praxis where activism, aesthetics, and scholarship converge.

Location: Carson Ballroom, Old Main
Type: Keynote, Reception, Talk
Genre: Autobiography, Human Rights, Pedagogy, Social Justice, Social Practice

Queerness in Creative Writing
Achy Obejas, Terry Galloway, TC Tolbert, Piper J. Daniels

Saturday, February 23, 2019, 9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.

In an article for Lambda Literary, writer Marcie Bianco ask the following question to authors who identified as being queer about the nature of queer writing in its relation to identity politics: “What makes writing ‘queer’?” How does queer writing move counter to heteronormative literary traditions and forms? How does this disruption reshape current trajectories? This panel will explore queer writing in this country and how it may be impacted by gender fluid politics and the intersectional influences of other identities like disability, race and/or class.

Location: Carson Ballroom, Old Main
Type: Panel
Genre: LGBTQIA Studies

Establishing the Terms: Story and Novel Openings as Contracts
Jennine Capó Crucet

Saturday, February 23, 2019, 9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.

One could argue that the first few paragraphs of any work of short fiction establish a contract with the reader: they telegraph tone, character, and even—when exceptionally on point—the trajectory of the story's action.

Location: Heritage, University Club
Type: Presentation
Genre: Fiction, Mixed Genre, Novels, Short Stories

We Are All Storytellers
Fernanda Santos

Saturday, February 23, 2019, 9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.

"You're not going to believe what happened at the party!" Who hasn't said that (or some version of it)? The truth is, we're all storytellers, but it's when we put our writer's hat on that telling stories gets complicated. In this interactive session, we'll use live storytelling to identify the key elements of narrative, decode the process we all engage in to tell everyday stories, and explore strategies to help us incorporate such process into our writing.  

Location: Thoren, University Club
Type: Generative Workshop, Performative Workshop, Presentation
Genre: Fiction, Mixed Genre, Storytelling

Time and Narrative: How We Add Weight to Our Stories
Warren Glynn

Saturday, February 23, 2019, 9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.

When we think of narrative, we typically think of a series of events that chain together and ultimately lead to a conclusion: A leads to B which finally concludes at C. But how much time should we spend on points A, B, and C? How do we determine where (and when!) to invest our narrative attention? In this session, we will examine how various authors use time to give their story elements emotional and narrative weight. Through our exploration, we will begin to develop a philosophy of time that helps us make these kinds of choices in our own stories.

Location: Tooker, Old Main
Type: Craft Talk, Presentation
Genre: Creative Nonfiction, Fiction, Mixed Genre, Short Stories

Setting as a Character: Using Sensory Details to Write a Place that Propels Narrative
Yohanca Delgado

Saturday, February 23, 2019, 9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.

Setting is an often untapped source of power in narrative writing. In this session, we'll discuss ways to build a setting that calls on the five senses and helps propel narrative momentum by influencing character action. Generative prompts will include: writing from the perspective of place, writing across the five senses to generate description, writing object lists that can fuel character thought and action.

Location: Basha, Old Main
Type: Generative Workshop, Presentation
Genre: Creative Nonfiction, Fiction, Mixed Genre

Mining Your Life for Fiction
Yi Shun Lai

Saturday, February 23, 2019, 9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.

“Truth is stranger than fiction,” says the old adage, but how do we write successfully in the area between “write what you know” and work that requires suspension of disbelief? In this workshop, participants will learn to use techniques that will allow them to tell the emotional truth without losing their readers to side-eye. Drawing on years of experience editing and writing fiction, author and editor, Yi Shun Lai, will share with participants the techniques she's learned, as well as examples of work that pass the test of verisimilitude, and make for compelling fiction.

Location: Traditions, University Club
Type: Generative Workshop, Presentation, Workshop
Genre: Fiction, Mixed Genre

What About Love?
Bill Konigsberg

Saturday, February 23, 2019, 10:15 a.m. - 11:15 a.m.

How do we write about love in new ways? What new is there to say about the world’s oldest subject? In this session, we will talk about how to create a riveting relationship and a novel readers can’t put down—because if they do, their hearts will explode. What are some the pitfalls of writing in the romance genre—instalove, clichés, writing sex scenes, and how can we empower ourselves to push the boundaries of the romance genre?

Location: Traditions, University Club
Type: Presentation
Genre: Fiction, Genre Fiction, Mixed Genre, Novels, Romance

The Exploration and Exploitation of Poetic Bodies
Maritza N Estrada, Erin Noehre

Saturday, February 23, 2019, 10:15 a.m. - 11:15 a.m.

In this session, we will dive into a deeper understanding of the poetic and imagined body by looking deeper into our own definitions of exploitation and exploration. Part of the session will press on language often used in connection to the body to explore the presence of emotion internally and how that may manifest externally. We will try to focus on the visualization of the poetic body and discuss its formation in poems from the perspectives of different writers.

Location: Tooker, Old Main
Type: Craft Talk, Generative Workshop, Workshop
Genre: Mixed Genre, Poetry

The Hidden Lives of Books: Publication Ins and Outs
Natashia Deón, Matt Bell, Ramona Ausubel, Jonathan Danielson

Saturday, February 23, 2019, 10:15 a.m. - 11:15 a.m.

A book is more than just an end of one journey, it’s the beginning of another. A book is an artistic expression, but also a product, and putting a book together is a production. Before it ever hits the hands of readers, a book has already lived a life all its own. In this panel, novelists Ramona Ausubel, Matt Bell, and Natashia Deón share their publication journeys, advice on what to anticipate in the publication process, author platforms, and author commitments once the book hits the shelves. How do you find a publisher?

Location: Carson Ballroom, Old Main
Type: Panel
Genre: Business of Writing, Publishing

Creating a Mixed-Genre Family Memoir
Deborah Miranda

Saturday, February 23, 2019, 10:15 a.m. - 11:15 a.m.

This session will demonstrate ways to create richly layered memoir via multiple genres and visual storytelling. Our lives and those of our ancestors leave traces in the human archive that include much more than photographs. Documents like immigration records, religious institutions, letters, newspaper clippings, government forms, song lyrics, even fingerprints, prison records, school assignments, local histories or ethnographic notes—can all be “mined” for creative inspiration, expanding and enriching the narrative of your family.

Location: Heritage, University Club
Type: Presentation
Genre: Creative Nonfiction, Experimental, Fiction, Hybrid, Memoir, Mixed Genre, Multi-genre, Poetry, Research, Short Stories

The Art of Persona: Condensing Social Distance Between Poet and Mask
Jabari Jawan Allen

Saturday, February 23, 2019, 10:15 a.m. - 11:15 a.m.

How does privilege affect authors’ renderings of the masks they employ? What exactly, for example, makes Anders Carlson-Wee’s “How To” poem, which recently appeared in The Nation, minstrelsy instead of persona? How does one avoid falling into stereotypical and indolent writing practices while engaging with persona?

Location: Thoren, University Club
Type: Presentation
Genre: Poetry

Fairy Tales for Truth and Justice
Sarah Rafael García

Saturday, February 23, 2019, 10:15 a.m. - 11:15 a.m.

In this writing workshop, we’ll discuss SanTana's Fairy Tales and blend Mexican folklore and folktales with themes such as gentrification & xenophobia to present stories with Mexican, Chicanx & white characters. Get ready to incorporate a historical character profile and social justice topic with the structure of a contemporary fairy tale.

Location: Basha, Old Main
Type: Generative Workshop, Presentation, Workshop
Genre: Fiction, Human Rights, Mixed Genre, Short Stories, Social Justice

Community Reading

Saturday, February 23, 2019, 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m

More information about this session is coming soon.

Location: Farnsworth Terrace, Old Main
Type: Community Event, Performance, Reading
Genre: Creative Nonfiction, Fiction, Mixed Genre, Poetry

The Art of Contemporary Nonfiction Panel
Fernanda Santos, Yvette Johnson, Mike Conklin, Walonda Williams

Saturday, February 23, 2019, 1:45 p.m. - 2:45 p.m.

In a world where the boundaries between fact and fiction are constantly blurred, where does creative nonfiction fit in at this moment in history? How do writers bring the story of the individual to life? What are the intricacies of writing characters who are real people? How does writing the factual impact the creative process? Spanning journalism, memoir, research, and essays, Fernanda Santos, Yvette Johnson, and Mike Conklin will discuss the unique challenges, complexities, and ultimate rewards of writing the real.

Location: Carson Ballroom, Old Main
Type: Panel
Genre: Creative Nonfiction, Journalism

Seeing is Believing: Drafting the Lasting Image
Nicole Sealey

Saturday, February 23, 2019, 1:45 p.m. - 2:45 p.m.

In The Poet’s Companion, Kim Addonizio and Dorianne Laux argue that images should “produce a bit of magic, a reality so real it is ‘like being alive twice.’” As we know, images are closely linked to memory. As poets, after mining our respective memories, how do we deepen a reader’s experience with the poem via the image? How does one draft a lasting image—an image readers will remember? This craft talk will explore the image, its implications, as more than mere scenery.

Location: Heritage, University Club
Type: Lecture, Presentation, Talk
Genre: Mixed Genre, Poetry

The Agent Journey: From Landing an Agent to Publication
Kirby Kim

Saturday, February 23, 2019, 1:45 p.m. - 2:45 p.m.

What does working with an agent look like? Join agent, Kirby Kim, as he pulls back the curtain from the agent-writer journey, starting with at the moment a writer gets an agent. He'll speak to the important processes of: pre-submission editing, how the agent puts together an editor list, how they sell, then post sale and what to expect in the deal, how writers work with an editor, marketing and publicity, getting blurbs, selling your book, book signings, writing pieces in support of your book, and how you get friends to help. 

Location: Thoren, University Club
Type: Presentation
Genre: Agents, Business of Writing, Editing, Marketing, Publishing, Submitting

Ambiguity: Challenging Gender Stereotypes In Literary Fiction
Sarah Leamy

Saturday, February 23, 2019, 1:45 p.m. - 2:45 p.m.

Is there such a thing as a genderless narrator? Why is it so instinctive to place and categorize each other by sex (female/ male) and gender roles (masculine or feminine attributes)? How do we read fiction when these socially constructed markers are missing? And why should we? To be inclusive? To allow gender-nonconforming readers to be represented in literature? To focus on the common experiences without the social constraints of gender roles?

Location: Basha, Old Main
Type: Presentation
Genre: Creative Nonfiction, Fiction, LGBTQIA Studies, Mixed Genre

Subverting Biological Essentialism in Nature Writing
Halee Kirkwood

Saturday, February 23, 2019, 1:45 p.m. - 2:45 p.m.

In this generative session, we’ll look at amazing examples in animal and plant life that exhibit unique biological, sexual, and familial structures. We’ll discuss how these creatures might subvert traditionally heterosexual and cisgender conceptions of biology, sex, and family, using these examples as a mirror to write about our own relationships to these topics.

Location: Traditions, University Club
Type: Generative Workshop, Presentation
Genre: LGBTQIA Studies, Mixed Genre

Interrogating Empathy
Jabari Jawan Allen, Maritza N. Estrada, Joel Salcido, Elliot Rose Winter

Saturday, February 23, 2019, 1:45 p.m. - 2:45 p.m.

Join four poets/ writers as they discuss the merits and shortcomings of the concept of empathy. These poets will focus on empathy as it functions in creative writing, pedagogy, performance, and currency to interrogate how these aspects affect othered bodies. How does the idea of empathy create a market for trauma? How are the performances of traumas used to placate the white gaze? Can there be new possibilities to describe and employ an empathy that is active and engaged in works, rather than the passive "feeling" of empathy that often functions only to benefit the empathizer?

Location: Tooker, Old Main
Type: Panel
Genre: Community, Pedagogy, Poetry

Hip-hop and Poetry: A Conversation on Intersections of Race, Class, Gender, and Representation
Hanif Abdurraqib, Douglas Manuel

Saturday, February 23, 2019, 3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Music and other forms of art have impacted poetry through historical, social and cultural intersections. In this intimate discussion between poet, essayist, and cultural critic, Hanif Abdurraqib, and poet and editor, Douglas Manuel, the authors will explore how hip-hop sensibilities and aesthetics have influenced contemporary poetry, and how both art forms continue to shape and reshape the futures of social, racial, and gender representation.

Location: Carson Ballroom, Old Main
Type: Conversation, Panel
Genre: African American Studies, Poetry

The Private in Public Art
Alberto Álvaro Ríos

Saturday, February 23, 2019, 3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Public art at its best moves us from where we’re standing to what we’re feeling, from communal showiness and placement to personal, abiding sentiment. In this session, I’ll discuss some successful public art projects of mine in the Valley, with lean toward their secret sense of underlying story, their context from the artist’s point of view. In contemporary life, art in public is out of context and, therefore, surprising: a mural making us feel something about an otherwise plain wall, a few words in stone around a lake helping us, in that moment, to see water differently.

Location: Heritage, University Club
Type: Craft Talk, Presentation
Genre: Community, Social Practice, Visual Art

Free-Range Writers
James Sallis

Saturday, February 23, 2019, 3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

The challenge and wonder of writing freely—of not allowing oneself to be defined by or confined by any notions of genre, but of letting the imagination roam freely. The most popular song in the U.S. on novelist, musician, poet, editor, James Sallis’ birth year was "Don't Fence Me In."  He’s lived his writing life by that. Science fiction? Poetry? Literary fiction? Translation? Crime novels? Yes please! Learn how your writing is limitless in all directions. 

Location: Thoren, University Club
Type: Presentation, Talk
Genre: Crime Fiction, Fiction, Mixed Genre, Poetry, Science Fiction, Translation

The Direct Address of Objects
Sally Ball

Saturday, February 23, 2019, 3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

An epistolary form offers intimacy and a sense of composure: the reader as voyeur, and the writer in charge, addressing a potential interlocutor, but one who will not, we all know, talk back—at least for now. There’s a sub-genre of the direct-address poem, one that might be both safer and stranger as a forum in which to work out a difficult idea: poems that talk to objects, poems that talk to some non-sentience. Why do we do it? To be freer of our own consciousness? To honor the ‘otherness’ we know must exist?

Location: Basha, Old Main
Type: Presentation
Genre: Poetry

Did That Really Happen?: Writing Characters So Real, They Walk Right off the Page
Kirstin Chen

Saturday, February 23, 2019, 3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

This session explores how writers can strategically use details from their lives to craft vivid fictional characters and to tell resonant stories. Beginning—and even more experienced—writers sometimes feel the need to hide that parts of their fiction are rooted in reality. But the use of autobiography is a fictional strategy like any other, such as choosing a particular point-of-view or a particular structure.

Location: Traditions, University Club
Type: Presentation, Workshop
Genre: Fiction, Mixed Genre

Shifting Through Cultural Memory
haydée (hr) souffrant

Saturday, February 23, 2019, 3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

The current trends in contemporary literature reflect a deep sense of using personal narrative and/or cultural history as both text and sites of investigating some of the following questions: How do I heal what's been forced upon my body, my cultural and social communities? How do I use myself as an archive to resolve personal and social conflict? This workshop will ask participants to sift through cultural memories, stories and personal histories to generate poetic text as a form of self-healing.

Location: Tooker, Old Main
Type: Generative Workshop, Presentation, Workshop
Genre: Memoir, Mixed Genre, Poetry, Social Justice

Writing the Dead
Kirk Wisland

Saturday, February 23, 2019, 4:15 p.m. - 5:15 p.m.

This session explores the ethics, challenges, and diverse approaches to writing about the dead. Wisland will discuss the ways in which several writers (essayists, memoirists, journalists) have tackled narratives that require new and alternative approaches to their writing. Based on his own work and that of Adriana E. Ramirez, Tommy, and Maggie Messitt, Kirk Wisland will explore difficult questions: What do we do with the unanswerable and what does it mean to crowdsource the narrative of a life?

Location: Basha, Old Main
Type: Generative Workshop, Presentation
Genre: Essays, Journalism, Memoir, Mixed Genre

Climate Fiction, Eco-Fabulism, and The New Weird: Writing Fiction for the Future
Matt Bell

Saturday, February 23, 2019, 4:15 p.m. - 5:15 p.m.

In this session, we'll explore some of the storytelling tactics used by writers such as Ursula K. Le Guin, Jeff Vandermeer, Paolo Bacigalupi, China Mieville, and N.K. Jemison to depict and confront climate change and its attendant ecological, economic, and political challenges, as well as the often uncanny nature of life in the twenty-first century. 

Location: Traditions, University Club
Type: Presentation
Genre: Climate Fiction, Fiction, Mixed Genre, Science Fiction

Image, Form & Intersections of Identity in Poetry
Nicole Sealey, Bojan Louis, Carmen Giménez Smith, Justin Petropoulos

Saturday, February 23, 2019, 4:15 p.m. - 5:15 p.m.

How do our identities intersect with our writing? How do the concepts of identity manifest themselves in poetry? How does the page represent both the art, itself, and the artist? How does the writing of identity intersect with the political and cultural? What are the interconnections between the technical elements of poetry in consideration with identity?

Location: Carson Ballroom, Old Main
Type: Panel
Genre: Mixed Genre, Poetry

Is Happiness Interesting?: The Craft of Writing Joy
Annie Vitalsey

Saturday, February 23, 2019, 4:15 p.m. - 5:15 p.m.

Why is it so hard to write about happiness? Are happy characters boring? Where is the conflict in joy? In this session we’ll explore the pitfalls of writing joyful stories and characters, and discuss why as writers we often shy away from writing the happy. With an eye toward the craft of character development and narrative structure, as well as lenses from ancient and modern philosophy, we’ll dissect diverse examples of “happy” stories and figure out what makes them work.

Location: Tooker, Old Main
Type: Craft Talk, Presentation
Genre: Creative Nonfiction, Fiction, Mixed Genre, Short Stories

Backstory: Moving Forward, Looking Back
Natashia Deón

Saturday, February 23, 2019, 4:15 p.m. - 5:15 p.m.

Backstories help to create the world of your story. It tells us what’s driving your protagonist (and antagonist) to take the action, to attain a goal, and what your protagonist feels about passionately. Layering the characterization with these histories show us who they are today and will help you avoid writing stereotypes. The aim of this workshop is to address backstory and to get your creative juices flowing in writing scenes (the past affecting the present) and relevant history details.

Location: Heritage, University Club
Type: Presentation, Workshop
Genre: Fiction, Mixed Genre

The Futurists: Writing for the Network Society
Leah Bailly

Saturday, February 23, 2019, 4:15 p.m. - 5:15 p.m.

How does the global village tell stories? How does the digital age change our thinking and our writing? Thanks to the internet, we are now used to events being broadcast instantly and simultaneously. Plural voices report on every issue, and text is always accompanied by video, sound and image. As we delve further into the digital age, we are increasingly comfortable with hyperlinks and hybrid forms and multiple narrators infiltrating our narration. But do we forsake a certain intimacy in our literature? Are we growing accustomed to the isolation of constant connectivity?

Location: Thoren, University Club
Type: Presentation, Seminar
Genre: Experimental, Fiction, Hybrid, Interdisciplinary, Mixed Genre, Science Fiction

Fellowship Recognition

Saturday, February 23, 2019, 7:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.

More information about this session is coming soon.

Location: Carson Ballroom, Old Main
Type: Ceremony
Genre: n/a