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Writing faculty to read from work at ASU

February 04, 2009

Six writers, who are on the faculty of the 2009 Desert Nights, Rising Stars writing conference at Arizona State University, will read from their work on four evenings, beginning Feb. 18.

The readings will be held at 7:30 p.m. in Old Main’s Carson Ballroom on the Tempe campus. Admission is $10, payable at the door. Advance sale tickets are available online until Feb. 10 and by phone until Feb. 17.

The schedule includes:

Wednesday, Feb. 18 – Poet Nancy Mairs.

Thursday, Feb. 19 – Novelist Percival Everett and poet Mary Ruefle.

Friday, Feb. 20 – Nonfiction writer Meredith Hall and poet Natasha Trethewey.

Saturday, Feb. 21 – Novelist Alice Sebold.

Desert Nights, Rising Stars, is sponsored by the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing at ASU. For more information about the conference or readings, call (480) 965-6018 or go to

Writer Bios:

Nancy Mairs grew up north of Boston and received the A.B. cum laude from Wheaton College. She earned her doctorate from the University of Arizona and has taught at the University of Arizona and University of California, Los Angeles. She is a poet and essayist. Her most recent works includes a memoir, “Remembering the Bone House”; a spiritual autobiography, “Ordinary Time: Cycles in Marriage, Faith, and Renewal”; and three more books of essays: “Carnal Acts,”  “Voice Lessons: On Becoming a (Woman) Writer,” and “Waist-High in the World: A Life Among the Nondisabled.”

Percival Everett is the author of 15 novels, three collections of short fiction, and one volume of poetry. Among his novels are “Wounded,” “Glyph,” “Erasure,” “American Desert,” “For Her Dark Skin,” “Zulus” and “God’s Country.” His stories have been included in the Pushcart Prize Anthology and Best American Short Stories. He currently teaches at the University of Southern California.

Mary Ruefle is the author of 20 poetry collections; her most recent work is a book of prose, “The Most of It” (Wave Books, 2008). She also makes one-of-a-kind erasure books, using discarded nineteenth century texts, many of which have been exhibited in galleries and museums and sold into private collections. She is the recipient of NEA and Guggenheim fellowships, a Whiting Award, and an Award in Literature from The American Academy of Arts and Letters. She lives in southern Vermont.

Meredith Hall graduated from Bowdoin College at the age of 44. She wrote her first essay, “Killing Chickens,” in 2002. Two years later, she won the $50,000 Gift of Freedom Award from A Room of Her Own Foundation, which gave her the financial freedom to devote time to “Without a Map,” her first book. Her other honors include a Pushcart Prize and notable essay recognition in Best American Essays. She teaches writing at the University of New Hampshire and lives in Maine.

Natasha Trethewey is author of “Native Guard,” for which she won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize; “Bellocq’s Ophelia,” which was named a Notable Book for 2003 by the American Library Association; and “Domestic Work.” She is the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Study Center and other sponsors. Currently, she is Phillis Wheatley Distinguished Chair in Poetry at Emory University. Her first collection of poetry, Domestic Work (2000), was selected by Rita Dove as the winner of the inaugural Cave Canem Poetry Prize for the best first book by an African American poet.

Alice Sebold’s first book, “The Lovely Bones,” had an international impact, which is a rarely attained achievement – particularly for a book that focuses on subjects of rape, child murder, and the dissolution of families. Three months after the publication of “The Lovely Bones,” Sebold’s 1999 memoir “Lucky,” an account of her rape at the age of 18 and the trial that followed, was issued in paperback. Born in Madison, Wisconsin, Sebold grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia and attended Syracuse University as well as the University of Houston and UC Irvine.