The Desert Nights, Rising Stars
Writers Conference

Picture of large moon rising over purple desert with pink sky

Advanced Conference Workshops

Deeper engagement with conference faculty

Beyond panels, craft talks, and the rest of the regular conference schedule, the Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writers Conference features a number of advanced workshops that provide individuals with opportunities for deeper learning, closer feedback, and more personalized relationships with conference faculty.

By participating in advanced workshops, writers form tight-knit bonds with each other and become part of an intimate cohort ahead of the larger activities. Each workshop takes place the day before the conference (Thursday) and is about three hours long.

Advanced workshops are open to the public with a $25 discount for conference attendees. (Please note: advanced workshops are not included in the conference registration. Discount codes will be sent to attendees upon registration.)

Advanced workshops for the 2020 Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writers Conference will be announced in Fall of 2019.

In the meantime, you can view past advanced workshopsmeet our faculty, view the schedule, or find upcoming classes and workshops through the Piper Writers Studio.

View Past Advanced Workshops

Date: Thursday, February 21, 2019, 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Type: Generative Workshop, Lecture, Workshop
Genre: Creative Nonfiction, Fiction, Hybrid, Novels

Starting a novel is hard. Finishing a novel seems nearly impossible. And the middle, well, the middle is a thousand years long. But! But! There are things you can do to turn walls into doorways and keep you moving forward. Join award winning novelist, Ramona Ausubel, in a course on discussing strategies for survival in writing your novel and for keeping the process fun, inventive and full of life. This workshop consists of both moments of lecture and exercises, so be prepared to learn, talk, engage, and put your thoughts and ideas on the page!


Date: Thursday, February 21, 2019, 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Type: Advanced Workshop, Generative Workshop, Workshop
Genre: Mixed Genre, Translation, World Literature

How do you approach creative writing in a multilingual landscape? Join critically acclaimed author, translator, and educator, Achy Obejas, to explore how authors use codeswitching, bilingualism and multiple languages in the same text to highlight culture, the necessity of home languages, and to demonstrate new creative paths for their writing. When and how do we codeswitch? To what to end do we use codeswitching in our art? What does it mean for our single language readers when these techniques are employed?


Date: Thursday, February 21, 2019, 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Type: Advanced Workshop, Generative Workshop, Workshop
Genre: Poetry

We too often rely on a “good/bad” binary to shape our characters and considerations in our stories. How do our complexities as human beings find their way to the page? In this generative workshop, join poet, essayist, and cultural critic, Hanif Abdurraqib, on an exploration on empathy and the dynamics of character in popular culture. The group will use an empathy tree in which participants figure out which characters in popular culture they find empathetic or non-empathetic.


Writing Down the Demons
Deborah Miranda

Date: Thursday, February 21, 2019, 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Type: Advanced Workshop, Generative Workshop, Workshop
Genre: Poetry

How do we summon creative power in the face of our personal and/or global demons? How can we speak of beauty when our world seems full of loss, grief, climate change, and political turmoil?  Thich Nhat Hanh says that the work of meditation is to transform “compost into flowers”; that is also the work of poetry.  This generative workshop will help you to re-see your demons as a form of poetic compost.