The Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writers Conference
October 10 - 12, 2024
Conference scholarships and fellowships
The Piper Center offers a limited number of scholarships and fellowships for the Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writers Conference to create more access and opportunity. All scholarships and fellowships cover the full cost of conference registration. 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.
We also offer discounted presenter opportunities through MFA Presents and Community Writer.
When registration opens, you can also explore discounts offered for students, seniors, people with disabilities, teachers, ASU affiliates, as well as active and retired military personnel.
Keep reading to learn more about conference scholarship and fellowship opportunities. If you have any questions, please reach out to DNRSConference@asu.edu.
Browse scholarships and fellowships
Conference Teaching Fellowship
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 diverse, vibrant, and emerging voices in the literary landscape, Conference Teaching Fellows are an integral part of Desert Nights, Rising Stars conference experience. Beyond presenting alongside nationally recognized authors, fellows are spotlighted in readings at the conference, invited to attend the VIP 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 the local, regional, and national literary landscape.
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 open January 15, 2024 and close April 1, 2024 at 11:59 pm Arizona time. All applicants will be informed of their selection no later than April 30, 2024.
The Open Scholarship covers 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 2024 will open May 1, 2024 and close August 1, 2024 at 11:59 PM Arizona Time. All applicants will be informed of selection no later than August 20, 2024.
Arizona Educator Scholarship
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 2024 will open May 1, 2024 and close August 1, 2024 at 11:59 PM Arizona Time. All applicants will be informed of selection no later than August 20, 2024.
In addition to our scholarships and fellowships, the Piper also offers opportunities for significantly discounted registration through MFA Presents and Community Writers. These programs offer a $50 conference registration and the opportunity to present on a panel and be featured at a reading at the conference.
Applications open January 15, 2024 and close on April 30, 2024. If you have any questions, please reach out to us at DNRSConference@asu.edu.
Additional funding sources
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.