Kahini Writing Programs

Commit to your writing: from the comfort of your home or while connecting with writers around the world.

Since our inception in 2014, Kahini participants have published over two thousand individual times in literary magazines; released over one hundred books; been featured in the Best American Essays, Best American Poetry, Best American Short Stories and Best American Science & Nature Writing anthologies; and been short-listed for the Caine Prize for African Writing. The Kahini model establishes new writers and provides established writers with ongoing community and inspiration in the writing life. Kahini membership provides:

  • Unlimited access to writing retreats and conferences at six global locations, year-round;
  • Personal consultations on your work through monthly written feedback or one-hour phone call on any piece of up to 5,000 words; and the
  • Monthly subscription to Kahini magazine, chock-full each month with brand-new craft lectures, interviews, and artistic work from writers all over the world.

Retreats & Conferences | Consultations | The Magazine | Contact | Register | Reflections | Who We Are

January: The Kaua’i Writers’ Retreat $1,200 usd Included
February: The Kāpiti Writers’ Retreat $600 nzd Included
April: The Kolkata Writers’ Retreat $70,000 rs Included
Desert Writers' Retreat Template
May: The Desert Writers’ Retreat $1,200 usd Included
July: Centrum’s Port Townsend Writers’ Conference $1,600 usd Included
October: The Kampala Writers’ Retreat $2,000,000 ugx Included
November: The Kaua’i Writers’ Retreat $1,200 usd Included

Retreats and Conferences

Included with your membership. Most members attend one or two gatherings a year; some attend nearly all. Annual events happen on the island of Kaua’i, Hawai’i; the Kāpiti Coast of New Zealand; and in the cities of Kolkata, India; Las Vegas, Nevada; and Kampala, Uganda.

For any member who wants, your full registration to Centrum’s annual Port Townsend Writers’ Conference, on the mainland United States, is also included.

All these retreats and conferences focus on craft, community, and inspiration.To attend, simply be a Kahini member for nine months, after which you have free access to any retreat or conference you wish to attend, year-round, as long as your membership is current.

The Kāpiti Writers’ Retreat and Port Townsend Writers’ Conference are large events for 72 and 168 people, respectively, full of workshops, craft lectures, panels, readings, freewrites, and much more, and put you in full immersion with ten to twenty of the best writers in the world.

The Kolkata, Desert, and Kampala Writers’ Retreats are each limited to 12 participants, and focus intensively on creating one new advanced work of art in one week.

The two Kaua’i Writers’ Retreats are elite workshops limited to only six writers each, focused intensively on creating one new advanced work of art in one week.


This is a service included as part of your membership. Revise and publish your work throughout the year with written feedback or a one-hour phone call on any piece of up to 5,000 words with Kahini magazine editor Jordan Hartt.

In the past five months alone, members doing these consultations have published twelve short stories, won two writing contests, and two writing fellowships.

The Magazine

At the heart of the Kahini community is Kahini magazine.

Each month you receive three new creative-writing craft lectures (and access to all archived lectures) by some of the best writers working today; eleven inspirational writing exercises based on the lectures; new interviews with vital, contemporary writers working in Africa, the Americas, Eurasia, and Oceania; and three new works of literary art in poetry, prose, or cross-genre work.


Please contact [email protected] or call directly 1-360-531-1472.


Editorial Membership: $175/month provides the magazine subscription, monthly feedback on up to 5,000 words either through a written response or one-hour phone call, and free admission to any and all retreats and conferences after nine months. Register for one year all at once.

Manuscript Membership: $1,750/month provides the magazine subscription, monthly feedback on up to 50,000 words either through a written response or five hours of phone conversation, and free admission to any and all retreats and conferences immediately. 

Membership registration available here. Want to make a one-time purchase, instead? Please follow this link.



“Just what I needed. I can’t say enough. To be able to get this kind of writing community and have it be affordable and not competitive in spirit allowed me to be inspired, get a lot of work done, and make new friends. Thanks so much.”

“Several friends told me: ‘It will change your life.’ This was absolutely true! I have been a poet pretty much all my life and have published quite a bit in journals. Two years ago I won a major contest and had a book published. Since then I have felt my work was at a stand-still. I could still turn out and publish an competent poem, but I didn’t feel I was writing great poetry. What I experienced renewed my faith in my writing and gave me SO MANY IDEAS for what and how to compose. THANK YOU SO MUCH for all the hard work it takes.”

“I feel like I’m actually lit up, buzzing with inspiration. Everyone I pass by suddenly marks a story. Every lovely, disturbing image begs me to write a poem. Thank you for this gift.”

“The writing experiences you run have been the best of my life.” 

“I was impressed with how approachable and gracious the teachers/authors were.”

“For me the highlights of the retreat was just being around writers who were all at different stages of their careers. For me, the big highlight was the positive feedback I gained from my tutor Jordan and the rest of his class. Because my project is such an arduous, long (possibly years), and big undertaking, it was good to get that positive shot in the mind to carry on and just do it.”

“Outstanding organisation.”

“This is a truly amazing experience. I felt proud to introduce yet another friend to the experience.”

“My Kahini Writers Retreat experience was a perfect blend of structured workshops, walks by the river, talking with other writers and having the time and space to write. The workshop I attended (led by Gary Copeland Lilley) introduced me to some poets I wasn’t familiar with and gave me the opportunity to reflect on what it means to be a poetic witness. There were some lively group discussions and I came away with a couple of first drafts to work on further. The retreat was a great opportunity to connect with other writers and produce new work. Oh, and the food was great!”

“This is where I met all the people who are closest to me.”

“Many thanks for the great organization and quality programming. The teachers and leaders are excellent and that is and should be the most important part.”

“Kahini is one of those unique (and very rare) spaces in the fine arts and literature world where everyone is invited to play–or speak would be the better word–regardless of race, age, degree, checkbook, or even gender. The workshop I attended, Inside, Outside, & Upside-down, on affiliations and disconections, provided a safe and more importantly, interesting space where I felt like I could exchange and openly share my own personal experiences without being workshopped, judged or edited. The other participants were extremely diverse–representing all walks of life and I feel like due to the energy and environment facilitated by Sam and Jordan–that we were all able to relate to each other, if only in the sense that we are all humans and that all of our stories and lives have value. I went into the workshop with an open mind but not really expecting to generate anything quality within such a small time frame but I feel like the short story that I left with is the beginning of several or perhaps even a novel. I left the workshop energized and with strong editing suggestions from the other participants that I still have material to work with, months later.”

“The workshop was thoroughly engaging and fun. Jordan was open and friendly and is clearly passionate about the art of writing. Being a part of so much sharing is always a valuable experience and sharing in people’s stories – both real and fictional was enriching. I look forward to more workshops, writing retreats and meetups soon!”

“Such a treat to learn more about the writing process from a practising writer and lecturer, who delivered with consummate skill and sensitivity. I came away with a finer perception of what is possible in my own writing.”

“Thanks Kahini for an intense and enjoyable weekend. I left with new friends, new love for the Kāpiti coastline, and – most importantly–new skills that will be of great use as I rewrite my novel. I’d do it again in a heartbeat.”

“The programme was well considered and Jordan’s teaching style was focussed, impartial and the class well managed without feeling like we were being managed.”

“It was great to meet so many interesting and lovely people, and to critique each other’s work in a helpful, productive and respectful way. It was clear that everybody had a really positive experience, and I think some bonds were made that will continue to develop over the years.”

“Kahini is the opposite of your typical rote workshop. Brilliant authors and editors work alongside writers who are just getting started, in an environment of empathy, frankness, encouragement, and artistic risk. The result is fresh new writing, fresh discussion, and a whole lot of fun.”

“Thank you. Thank you. Thank YOU.”

“I really can’t thank you enough for this. It taught me so much about myself. Also, I spent many years in the event planning business and y’all have got this down. Very impressive. Thank you.”

“This is everything I’ve been looking for.”

Who We Are


wairimuAfrica Director Wairimu Mwangi is a writer and founder of the Literature Africa Foundation. Her educational textbooks are used in schools across Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, and Ghana. She is passionate about quality education for all and believes that without books or material to read, literacy suffers and when literacy suffers, opportunities decline. She enjoys mentoring youth, storytelling, travelling, reading and meditating. Contact.

IMG-20160112-WA0006-1Africa Director Ssekandi Ronald Ssegujja is the founder of Writing Our World, an organization in Uganda that uses writing, debate and spoken word to give a platform to people to express themselves. He is an events’ organizer who also runs the the writers’ club ‘Coffee and Books’ that happens monthly in Kampala. In 2014, his story ‘Walls and Borders’ won the Eastern Africa Writivism Literary prize. Contact.

KirstenOceania Director Kirsten Le Harivel is a writer, project/programme manager and mother. Although born in Scotland, she lives with her family on the Kāpiti Coast of Aotearoa. Her writing has been published in various international literary journals and she has an MA from the International Institute of Modern Letters. She has a background in programme and project management in the arts, youth, and refugee sectors. Contact.

jordan copyAmericas Director and Kahini Magazine Editor Jordan Hartt Jordan Hartt believes in the power of creative writing to transform lives and bring people closer together through mutual empathy and understanding. He has a whole annoying spiel on this and is therefore rarely invited to parties. Hartt facilitates the Kolkata Writers’ Retreat, the Desert Writers’ Retreat, the Kampala Writers’ Retreat, and the twice-annual Kaua’i Writers’ Retreat. All these programs are designed to provide ongoing craft, community, and inspiration for writers of all backgrounds and writing styles. The author of the story collection “Leap” and the forthcoming story collection “Drifting,” both available from Tebot Bach, Jordan is currently working on a long poem. Contact.



Sheillah Abaho is a graduate of Makerere University with a Bachelor’s degree in Ethics and Human Rights. A human rights defender and promoter, lover of photography, avid reader, Abaho is keen on volunteerism and has worked organizing such literary events such as The Writivism Festival, the Kampala Writers Retreat, Coffee & Books, and the Babishai Poetry Festival. She has also worked with such organizations as the Foundation for Human Rights Initiative, The Citizen’s Election Observers Network and the Uganda Youth Adolescent Health Forum in promoting Human Rights, and Writing Our World.

Kim Addonizio is the author of six poetry collections, two novels, two story collections, and two books on writing poetry, “The Poet’s Companion” (with Dorianne Laux) and “Ordinary Genius.” She has received fellowships from the NEA and Guggenheim Foundation, two Pushcart Prizes, and was a National Book Award Finalist for her collection Tell Me. Her latest books are “Mortal Trash” and a memoir-in-essays, “Bukowski in a Sundress.” “Writing is an ongoing fascination and challenge,” Kim says, “as well as being the only form of spirituality I can consistently practice.”

unnamedSheila Bender’s passion is helping writers break out into new forms, revise effectively, generate more writing and facilitate the writing of others. In the last three decades, she has worked with hundreds of people helping them write personal essays, fiction, and more meaningful writer’s journals, in addition to book-length memoir, how-to books and novels. She is the author of the memoir, “A New Theology: Turning to Poetry in a Time of Grief,” and the instructional book “Creative Writing Demystified,” available in e-book format. More of her instructional work includes “Sorrow’s Words: Writing Exercises to Heal Grief.

Gary Copeland LilleyGary Copeland Lilley is a North Carolina poet living, writing, and teaching in the Pacific Northwest. His publications include four full-length collections, the most recent of which is The Bushman’s Medicine Show, from Lost Horse Press (2017), and three chapbooks of poetry. He is a graduate of the Warren Wilson College MFA Program, and been faculty at Warren Wilson College, the Great Smokies Writing Program at the University of North Carolina-Asheville. and the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts, and has been a visiting writer at the University of Arizona, Colby College, and the Institute of American Indian Arts.

View More: http://heatherwoolery.pass.us/sd_brick_1Sayantani Dasgupta is an essayist, a short story writer, and the author of “Fire Girl” and the chapbook “The House of Nails.” Born in Calcutta and raised in New Delhi, she has lived in the United States since 2006. Sayantani’s publications have won a Pushcart Prize Special Mention, and Dukool Magazine‘s 2016 Prize for Creative Nonfiction. Her essay “Oscillation” was the finalist for Phoebe Magazine‘s 2014 Creative Nonfiction Contest.

greenwellRecipient of Writing in the Wild and Centrum Writers’ Conference fellowships from the University of Idaho, E. A. Greenwell was the 2016-2017 PEN/Margery Davis Boyden Wilderness Writing Resident. His work has appeared in Boston Review, Terrain.orgMoss, and is forthcoming from Poet Loreand Common Ground Review. He lives in Eastern Oregon, where he works with tribes, NGOs, government entities, and private landowners to conserve land.

kaminskyIlya Kaminsky is the author of “Dancing In Odessa” and the forthcoming “Deaf Republic.” His poems have been translated into numerous languages and his books have been published in many countries including Turkey, Holland, Russia, France, Mexico, Macedonia, Romania, Spain and China. Ilya, who was born in Odessa, in the Ukraine, in what was the former Soviet Union, moved to the United States in 1993 when his family was granted asylum by the U.S. government. He has won the Lannan Foundation’s Literary Fellowship.

jblJenifer Lawrence is the author of Grayling (Perugia Press, 2015), and One Hundred Steps from Shore (Blue Begonia Press, 2006). Her work appears in Bracken, The Coachella ReviewLos Angeles Review, Narrative, North American Review, and elsewhere. She lives on Puget Sound, and edits the Seattle-based journal, Crab Creek Review.

rvRaksha Vasudevan lives and writes in the United States. Her writing been published or is forthcoming in The Threepenny Review, Entropy, Roads & Kingdoms, Warscapes, Africaisacountry, and Kahini.


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Agatha Wanjiru seeks to impact people’s lives through making quality education accessible. She is actively engaged in civic leadership and believes in giving back to the community through Fly Sister Fly Foundation-a community based organization that works with girls in Samburu Kenya to improve the literacy levels of girls and discourage female genital mutilation and child marriage.


And We Give!

Jean Paul Seka and American writer Rebecca Brown at the 2015 Kampala Writers' Conference
Kahini magazine contribut0r Jean Paul Seka and 2015 faculty member Rebecca Brown
Kahini magazine contributor Raksha Vasudevan and Africa Director Ssekandi Ronald Ssegujja

In addition to all of the above, your membership helps fund the work of Kahini’s partner organizations Literature Africa Foundation in Kenya and Writing Our World in Uganda.

These locally owned, governed, and staffed NGO organizations work with youth in schools and communities throughout East Africa, including Tanzania and Rwanda.

By having fun reading, writing, publishing, and traveling, you also transform the lives of the next generation of writers.


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Creating Su’ifefiloi in Wellington

On Saturday 5 May Wellington was lucky to host visiting Samoan writer Sia Figiel, who ran ‘Writing Garlands of Stories‘, a one-day workshop that drew on the ancient Samoan concept of su’ifefiloi, or sewing of garlands, to bridge oral storytelling and the act of creative writing.

Here are some snaps of our process that began with collecting leaves and flowers and ended with us heading to the Wellington Waterfront to gift our ‘ula to the ocean.


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Kahini Magazine Open for Submissions

Kahini is an online literary rag unlike any other magazine in the world: subscriptions benefit the work of Kahini’s partner organizations Literature Africa Foundation in Kenya and Writing Our World in Uganda.

Through the act of reading, you transform the lives of the next generation of writers.


Each month, subscribers receive, in our beautiful Kahini e-journal:
–Three new artistic works; as well as an
–Interview with a vital, contemporary writer working in Africa, the Americas, Eurasia, or Oceania; a
–Book review series focused not only on contemporary global artistic work but also classic global literature from our past; and a
–Close reading of a classic or contemporary work of art that also serves as a craft lecture in creative writing.

In addition, Kahini pays $100 usd to our writers for each accepted piece. Submissions are open. Submit work.

About Us:
Kahini programs focus on craft, community and inspiration. Our global collective of artists and writers hosts the Kāpiti Writers’ Retreat and the Kāpiti Series in Oceania; the Kampala Writers’ Retreat and school and community programs in Africa; the Kaua’i Writers’ Retreat and the Desert Writers’ Retreat in the Americas; and Kahini magazine, the online literary journal and community that brings together writers from all over the world.

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