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Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writers Conference

2013 Conference Format

Dear Readers and Writers,

This year's Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writers Conference is focusing on Popular Fictions. Most of you can recall that childhood tale that sparked our imagination, or the mystery story that confounded us, the fantasy tale that swept us away, and the science fiction tale that enthralled rendering new worlds.

For me, Little Women by Louisa M. Alcott helped me as a child to dream of becoming a writer.

Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle always amazed me because I couldn't solve any of the mysteries. Today, watching the BBC's Sherlock, a new theater rendition of the beloved Holmes and Watson, I am still in awe of Doyle's writing legacy.

My favorite fantasy, I must confess was Peter Beagle's The Last Unicorn and Ursula Le Guin's The Wizard of Earthsea (okay, I confess, I was no longer a child, but I had children!).

Finally, I adored and taught at the University of Maryland both the fantasy and science fiction of Ray Bradbury. I still get chills from Farenheit 451 and The Martian Chronicles.

The 2013 Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writers Conference welcomes all lovers and writers of popular fictions! Come and join me. Let's honor literary history together and discuss how each of us can become better writers for this generation and the next.

Jewell Parker Rhodes
Founding Director
The Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing

About the Conference Site

The Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing hosts the Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writers Conference in Arizona State University's historic quarter. The conference workshops, readings, and book signings will largely take place in the buildings near College Street and University Drive, on the north end of the main campus.

The Piper Writers House and its grounds offer a vibrant, nurturing environment in which writers, faculty, students and community members exchange ideas and share an appreciation for literature and writing.

The historic President's Cottage on the ASU Main Campus became home to the Piper Center for Creative Writing in Spring 2005. Located on the corner of Palm Walk and Tyler Mall, the house was constructed in 1907 and served as the home of the university's president until 1959. Since that time, it has been used by the ASU Alumni Association for administrative offices (1961 to 1972) and as the home of the University Archives (1972 to 1995). The house, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is especially fitting as a home for the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing, as Robert Frost visited there twice as the guest of then-President Grady Gammage.

In 1898, when Tempe was a village and Arizona a territory, the growing Tempe Normal School moved into a new home: an impressive, three-story edifice called the Main Building. For decades this dignified Victorian structure was the heart of the institution that would mature into Arizona State University. President Teddy Roosevelt spoke from her front stairway, and generations of students relaxed in the afternoon shade of her balconies. Today, Old Main still has a special place in ASU's history and spirit. The oldest building on campus, Old Main was just restored to its original grandeur.

Click here for a map of the Arizona State University campus. The historic quarter is located at 4D on the map.

About ASU and Tempe

Arizona State University is a new model for American higher education, an unprecedented combination of academic excellence, broad access, and impact. This New American University is a single, unified institution comprising four differentiated campuses that positively impact the economic, social, cultural and environmental health of the communities it serves. Its research is inspired by real world application, blurring the boundaries that traditionally separate academic disciplines. ASU serves more than 70,000 students in metropolitan Phoenix, Arizona, the nation’s fifth largest city. ASU champions intellectual and cultural diversity, and welcomes students from all fifty states and more than one hundred nations.

A unique aspect of ASU is that we are “one university in many places,” not a system with separate campuses, and not one main campus with branch campuses. Each campus has a unique identity. The Tempe campus focuses on research and graduate education along with an undergraduate education that is analytic and preparatory for graduate or professional school or employment. The Polytechnic campus focuses on learning by doing offering an applied approach to professional and technological programs that meet business and societal needs and an emphasis on technical education that is a direct preparation for the workforce. The West campus focuses on interdisciplinary liberal arts education with professional programs that connect to the community. The Downtown campus is focused on programs with a direct urban and public connection.

The city of Tempe is Arizona's seventh largest city, with a population of 160,000. Tempe is located in the center of the Valley of the Sun, bordered by Phoenix, Scottsdale, Mesa and Chandler. Tempe offers more than 300 days a year of sunshine to its residents and visitors. Mill Avenue, with its numerous shops and restaurants is within walking distance from the conference venues.


The conference will once again offer intimate classes and discussions

Many of the classes and readings take place in historic Old Main on the ASU campus

Mill Avenue in downtown Tempe offers a number of shops and restaurants.


Click HERE to take a look back at the 2012 conference