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Speaker Spotlight

October 10 - 12, 2024

Gracious, generous teachers and writers with a passion for community

Gracious, generous teachers and writers with a passion for community

Featuring award-winning writers, editors, agents, educators, and other internationally recognized creative writing professionals, Desert Nights, Rising Stars faculty are here to do more than expand your skill set or open new ways of thinking about your work. They're here to share their experiences, answer questions, and spend time connecting.

Our 2024 keynote speakers are internationally renowned poets Nicole Sealey and John Murillo.

Nicole Sealey was born in St. Thomas, U.S.V.I. and raised in Apopka, Florida. She is the author of Ordinary Beast, finalist for the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award and the PEN Open Book Award, and The Animal After Whom Other Animals Are Named, winner of the Drinking Gourd Chapbook Poetry Prize. An excerpt from her forthcoming collection, The Ferguson Report: An Erasure, was awarded the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem. Her honors include a 2023-2024 Cullman Center Fellowship from the New York Public Library, a Rome Prize in Literature from the American Academy in Rome, a Hodder Fellowship from Princeton University, the Stanley Kunitz Memorial Prize from The American Poetry Review, and fellowships from CantoMundo, Cave Canem, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the New York Foundation for the Arts. Her work has appeared in various journals and anthologies including The New Yorker, Poetry London, and The Best American Poetry (2018 and 2021). She was the Executive Director at Cave Canem Foundation from 2017–2019. She is a visiting professor at Boston University and teaches in the MFA Writers Workshop in Paris program at New York University.

John Murillo is the author of the poetry collections Up Jump the Boogie (Four Way Books 2020; Cypher 2010), finalist for both the Kate Tufts Discovery Award and the Pen Open Book Award, and Kontemporary Amerikan Poetry (Four Way 2020), winner of the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award and the Poetry Society of Virginia’s North American Book Award, and finalist for the PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry and the NAACP Image Award. His many honors include the Four Quartets Prize from the T.S. Eliot Foundation and the Poetry Society of America, two Larry Neal Writers Awards, a pair of Pushcart Prizes, the J Howard and Barbara MJ Wood Prize from the Poetry Foundation, and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Bread Loaf Writers Conference, Fine Arts Work Center, Cave Canem, and the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing. Recently, his poems appeared in American Poetry Review, Poetry, and Best American Poetry 2017, 2019, and 2020. He is an Associate Professor of English at Wesleyan University.

2023 Keynote Speakers: Nicole Sealey and John Murillo