The Desert Nights, Rising Stars
Writers Conference

Saturday, February 23

Conference Schedule 2019

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

To view Saturday'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 or visit the registration page.

Saturday, February 23

Queerness in Creative Writing
Achy Obejas, Terry Galloway, TC Tolbert

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

More information about this session is coming soon

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

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

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

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

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

From Writer to Author: a Primer on the Ins and Outs of the Publication Process
Natashia Deón, Matt Bell, Ramona Ausubel

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

More information about this session is coming soon.

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

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