The Virginia G. Piper
Center for Creative Writing

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Stories & Impact

Making a difference in individual lives

Over the past three years, the Piper Center has been able to offer over 100 scholarships for teachers, veterans, students, and other community members to the Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writers confernce, including partnerships with Letras Letinas, the Maricopa Community College System, the National University of Singapore, the Barrett Honors College, the Creative Writing Program at Arizona State University, and more.

Through these scholarships, individuals receive the critical knowledge, training, and skills necessary for their personal, professional, and artistic development, bringing that value back to their communities.

To learn more about the impact of donations, you can read people's stories below or click here to make your donation.

The Desert Nights, Rising Stars conference was truly one of the best events so far in my undergraduate career [ . . . ] What [the speakers] said about language had me thinking about my own use of it in my life and my work for days after. I called my parents and told all my friends in detail about the new revelations I had experienced and how excited I was to keep writing. In addition, meeting new people was another great part about this conference. Speaking with the other attendees about their work inspired me and also helped me to realize that it’s never too late to become a writer and get published, even though my college mentality can sometimes make me feel like I’m running out of time.

—Angelica Cabral, Undergradute Student,  Barrett, the Honors College (2018)

Arizona Educator Scholarship Recipient Susan Naomi BernsteinAs a white woman originally from the US midwest teaching students from a multiplicity of backgrounds, the intersections of creative writing and diversity remain crucial for my professional development as a teacher, and for my students lives. My students claim queer, disabled, and immigrant identities. They have grown up in Native American communities, in border towns, in Scottsdale, in South Phoenix, out of state, or overseas. Increasingly, the diversity of my students has become the norm rather than the exception [ . . . ] All of these sessions remain immediately applicable for my professional development, and for my writing, and I am grateful for the Arizona Educator Scholarship for making it possible for me to attend Desert Nights, Rising Stars.

—Susan Naomi Bernstein, Arizona Educator Scholarship (2018)

Barrett Honors College Undergraduate Scholarship Recipient Catherine WonerAfter finishing my first novel, I came to a bit of a standstill, unsure of where to go next or who to speak to. While reading articles online about publishing, editing, and outlining was informative, I felt distanced from the advice because I was unable to ask questions of their authors, hear authentic writing journeys, or share my own experiences and ideas. The moment that I walked up to Old Main on the first day of the conference, I knew that it would be so much more fulfilling. The large panels, workshops, and small discussions with a variety of topics enabled me to meet writers with passions completely different to my own, but that I could still share in [ . . . ] Above all, I witnessed the comradery that this crazy process of imagination and creation forms, and how accessible an amazing writing community is [ . . . ] By the end of the conference, I could once again visualize my future as a writer.

—Catherine Woner, Undergraduate Student, Barrett, the Honors College (2018)