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'Rising stars' invited to annual writers conference

October 18, 2011

Desert Nights, Rising Stars, Arizona State University’s Writers Conference, will be back for the ninth year Feb, 23-26.

The faculty for 2012 will feature some familiar names mixed with some new faces. Robert Boswell, Antonya Nelson and Jem Poster all return for a second-straight year and will be joined by past participants Bernard Cooper, Denise Duhamel, Carolyn Forché and A. Van Jordan. Pam Houston, Adam Johnson, Mat Johnson, Alix Ohlin, Eleanor Wilner and Xu Xi will be making their first appearance at the annual event. ASU MFA faculty will also participate.

The conference, sponsored by ASU’s Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing, offers writers of all levels the chance to hone their craft in the classroom with distinguished writers, dialoguing with them during classes, readings and other events.

The conference begins the evening of Thursday, Feb. 23, with an opening banquet and the introduction of faculty. Friday and Saturday will begin with a keynote talk for all participants, followed by discussion classes and master classes.

Afternoons will feature faculty readings and a combination of classes, panels and multi-faculty question-and-answer sessions. The day will conclude with faculty readings and book-signings.

Participants can expect an experience that is intimate and affordable, such as the master classes, which will offer six hours of instruction, spread over three days, in groups of no more than 10.

General registration for the conference is $375 ($335 early-registration discount through Oct. 31. The fee for Piper Friends is $335 ($300 by Oct. 31). Registrants can purchase a Piper Friends membership for $50 during the registration process.

ASU faculty, staff and students, ASU MFA alumni, non-ASU MFA students, and Arizona teachers can register for $300.

Master class tuition is $125 (conference registration required). Piper Friends, ASU faculty, staff, students, ASU MFA alumni, non-ASU MFA students and Arizona teachers may register for master classes for $100 (conference registration required).

Manuscripts for master classes must be submitted between Jan. 1 and Jan. 29. If a manuscript is not received by Jan. 29, the master class registration will be cancelled without refund. Late applicants for master classes can join a waiting list in case of cancellations.

For more information, and to register, go to or call (480) 965-6018.

Conference Faculty: Sally Ball, Robert Boswell, Bernard Cooper, Denise Duhamel, Carolyn Forche, Pam Houston, Adam Johnson, Mat Johnson, A. Van Jordan,  Antonya Nelson, Alix Ohlin, Jem Poster, Melissa Pritchard, Jeannine Savard, Eleanor Wilner and Xu Xi.

Additional guests: Norman Dubie, Beckian Fritz Goldberg, Cynthia Hogue, T.R. Hummer, Tara Ison, T.M. McNally, Sean Nevin, Jewell Parker Rhodes, Alberto Rios and Peter Turchi.