The Desert Nights, Rising Stars
Writers Conference

Conference Schedule 2020

Saturday, February 22, 2020, 4:15 p.m. to 5:15 p.m.

Wading through the Noise: Resilience and the Role Critique Plays in Revision with Natalie Scenters-Zapico, Jenny Irish, Bill Konigsberg

Date(s): Saturday, February 22, 2020, 4:15 p.m. to 5:15 p.m.
Carson Ballroom, Old Main (view map)
Genre and Form(s): Criticism, Mixed Genre, Revision

About the Session

Everyone’s a critic. In this digital age, criticism can be loud, painful, or downright vicious. It is imperative that writers exercise resilience when taking on critique. How do you know what’s helpful and what’s harmful? What critiques should catch our eyes and ears when it comes to revision of the manuscript, versus those we can cast aside as not helpful? Panelists will talk about how to cut through the noise of trolls and remain centered on genuine improvement in your work.  

Meet the Presenter(s)

Photograph of Natalie Scenters-Zapico

Natalie Scenters-Zapico is the author of Lima :: Limón (Copper Canyon Press 2019) and The Verging Cities (Center for Literary Publishing 2015). She has won fellowships from the Lannan Foundation, CantoMundo, and was a 2018 Poetry Foundation Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellow. Originally from the sister cities of El Paso, Texas and Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, she teaches Latina/o Studies and Creative Writing at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma Washington.

Photograph of Jenny Irish

Jenny Irish lives in Tempe, Arizona, where she is an assistant professor in the Creative Writing Program at Arizona State University. Her work has appeared in Alaska Quarterly Review, Blackbird, Catapult, Colorado Review, Epoch, The Georgia Review, and Ploughshares. She is the author of the hybrid collection, Common Ancestor, and the story collection, I am Faithful.

Desert Nights Rising Stars Writers Conference Faculty 2019 Bill Konigsberg

Bill Konigsberg is the award-winning author of five young adult novels, including The Porcupine of Truth, which won the PEN Center USA Literary Award and the Stonewall Book Award in 2016, and Openly Straight, which won the Sid Fleischman Award for Humor, and was a finalist for the Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award and Lambda Literary Award in 2014 and has been translated into five languages. In 2018, The National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE)'s Assembly on Literature for Adolescents (ALAN) established the Bill Konigsberg Award for Acts and Activism for Equity and Inclusion through Young Adult Literature. He lives in Chandler, Arizona, with his husband, Chuck, and their Australian Labradoodles, Mabel and Buford.

Malik Toms was born and raised in Harlem, New York, and is a 20+ year veteran of the pen and keyboard. He did his undergraduate work in Sociology at Iowa State University, working as a drug rehabilitation counselor before returning to college to pursue a graduate degree in Creative Writing. He published his first short story at the age 18 after two years of "No thanks." Since then he has worked as a freelance author, which is a bit like being a freelance mercenary minus all the bullets and moral ambiguity. His work has appeared in over thirty publications including multiple anthologies and a stand-alone novella. A graduate of Iowa State’s Creative Writing MFA program, Toms polished his writing skills crafting cyberpunk and steampunk fantasies on the way to multiple Origin and Ennie award nominations including six Ennie wins. Toms also was part of the Shadowrun Returns video game team which won Diehard gameFan’s PC Game of the year in 2013. He is presently hard at work writing his first fantasy thriller. Toms currently lives in Arizona where he is regularly super-smashed by at least one of his three video game obsessed boys. When he isn’t writing, he’s teaching writing and sociology at community colleges throughout the Arizona desert, and maybe watching a lot of TV.