The Desert Nights, Rising Stars
Writers Conference

Friday, February 22

Conference Schedule 2019

Featuring over 50 craft talks, workshops, panels, and presentations, our conference is eclectic, comprehensive, balanced, and diverse.

To view Friday's schedule, use the side menu or the view below. You can also view the full schedule for this year. 

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

For more information, you can meet our faculty ovisit the registration page.

Friday, February 22

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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