The Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writers Conference
October 12 - 14, 2023
Conference scholarships and fellowships
Each year, the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing offers a limited number of scholarship and fellowship opportunities to create more access and opportunity for the writing community. All scholarships and fellowships cover the full cost of conference registration.
- Open scholarships for anyone over the age of 18.
- Arizona educator scholarships for anyone teaching classes in primary, secondary, or higher education in the state of Arizona.
- The Conference Teaching Fellowship for emerging writers. This competitive program allows writers of all backgrounds, genres, and experiences to present a class alongside our award-winning faculty.
You may apply in multiple categories. Deadlines vary. No additional assistance for travel, lodging, or other costs incurred to attend the conference are available at this time. However, we do offer discounted presenter opportunities through MFA Presents and Community Writers. When registration opens, you can also explore discounts offered for students, seniors, people with disabilities, teachers, ASU affiliates, and retired military personnel on our registration page.
To learn more about conference scholarship and fellowship opportunities, keep reading. If you have any questions, contact Iliana Garcia at Iliana.Garcia.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Browse scholarships and fellowships
Anyone over the age of 18
Open scholarships cover the full cost of conference registration for any individual over the age of 18. There are no other requirements for eligibility.
Preparing your application
Applications for the Open Scholarship are simple, and consist of answering a set of questions around your interest in the conference, your relationship to creative writing, and the conference's personal and professional impact (500 words or less each):
- What is your relationship to creative writing?
- What interests you in attending the Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writers Conference in 2023?
- How will the conference benefit you as a writer, reader, or literary advocate? How will the conference help you to achieve your personal or professional goals?
- Why did you apply for this scholarship?
Open Scholarship applications for 2023 will open May 15 and close August 15 at 11:59 PM Arizona Time. All applicants will be informed of selection no later than September 15.
Arizona educator scholarships
Any teacher in Arizona is eligible
Arizona Educator scholarships cover the full cost of conference registration for Arizona teachers working in primary, secondary, or higher education. You do not need to teach English, creative writing, or a related field. All subjects and grade levels are encouraged to apply.
Please note: individuals who have received an Arizona Educator Scholarship for the Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writers Conference within the past year are ineligible to apply.
Preparing your application
Applications for the Arizona Educator Scholarship are simple, and consist of answering a few questions about the conference's personal and professional impact (500 words or less each):
- What do you hope to gain from attending the Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writers Conference?
- What are your personal and professional goals? How will the conference benefit you as an educator or writer?
- How will the conference benefit your institution and its students?
Arizona Educator Scholarship applications for 2023 will open May 15 and close August 15 at 11:59 PM Arizona Time. All applicants will be informed of selection no later than September 15.
Conference Teaching fellowships
Present a session
Conference Teaching Fellowships cover the full cost of conference registration in exchange for presenting a craft talk or generative workshop. The program is competitive and offers emerging writers from diverse backgrounds the opportunity to teach at a national writers conference alongside award-winning faculty.
Created as a showcase for voices that might not be heard, fellows are an integral part of the conference experience. Beyond presenting alongside nationally-recognized authors, fellows are invited to attend conference author receptions, formally recognized at an opening ceremony, and included in national promotion and publicity.
Conference Teaching Fellowships are open to emerging writers of all backgrounds and genres with a passion for teaching and writing.
Preparing your application
The session proposal is the core of the application. Generally speaking, we are interested in sessions with the following characteristics:
- Engaging: Lively, dynamic sessions with innovative content presented through generative exercises, workshops, readings, discussions, small group work, and other conference formats
- Relevant: Engage, explore, and advance current trends, topics, and issues in creative literature, publishing, and contemporary literature
- Interdisciplinary: Approach their topics through different genres, styles, art forms, perspectives, or fields
- Inclusive: Accurately portray and reflect the diversity of individuals within the larger literary community
As a conference focused on craft and education, we tend to avoid sessions focusing exclusively on literary theory or the business of writing (querying agents, getting published, marketing, etc). However, we do welcome elements of either incorporated into larger proposals.
In addition to your session proposal, you should also prepare a brief statement of merit supporting your session, as well as a professional biography and a resume or CV.
Conference Teaching Fellowship applications for the 2023 Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writers Conference are now open! The deadline for fellowship applications is April 30. Applicants will be notified by May 18.
Beyond our scholarships and fellowships, the Piper Center also offers discounted opportunities to attend through the MFA Presents and Community Writer programs. Check our registration page for more details.
Many individuals may also have access to professional development funds through educational institutions, local or state arts agencies, or their places of work.
Piper has historically partnered with other departments, schools, and organizations to offer sponsored scholarships from various institutions, including the Barrett Honors College, the Office of Veterans and Military Affairs, the creative writing program at Arizona State University, and the Maricopa Community Colleges system. If you are interested in learning about or applying for sponsored scholarship opportunities, please contact the creative writing coordinator or administrator at your respective institution.
If you are interested in sponsoring a scholarship, you can visit our sponsorships page or contact assistant director Sheila Black at (480) 965-1243 or Sheila.Black@asu.edu.