Kahini’s writing programs focus on craft, community and inspiration. Our global collective of artists and writers hosts the Kāpiti Writers’ Retreat, the Kāpiti Series, the Kolkata Writers’ Retreat, the Desert Writers’ Conference, the Kampala Writers’ Retreat, the twice-annual Kaua’i Writers’ Retreat, and Kahini magazine.
Our writing programs provide the space and opportunity to create, revise, and develop new work; deepen our creative practice; and finalise work for publication and/or public performance.
Kahini arose from a conversation between its founding members Kirsten Le Harivel, Jordan Hartt, and Ssekandi Ronald Ssegujja, who wanted to create innovative creative-writing programs that provided exceptional learning experiences and the opportunity for writers of all backgrounds to come together.
The name ‘Kahini’ was gifted by writer and very first faculty member Sayantani Dasgupta at our inaugural event, the 2014 Desert Writers’ Retreat. ‘Kahini’ is a Bengali word meaning ‘story,’ or ‘tale’—but not an ordinary story: an extraordinary one. Similarly, Kahini is all about creating extraordinary in-person and online creative-writing experiences.
Reading, writing, and conversation build connection and empathy, providing a deeper quality of life.
Our vision is a world of increased connection and empathy.
Our mission is to provide high-quality creative-writing programs that develop craft, build community, and provide lifelong inspiration.
The Kaua’i Writers’ Retreat is a week-long gathering for writers working in the short story or cross-genre form, happening each January and November in Po’ipū, Kaua’i. The retreat includes generative morning writing sessions; the time and space to create, revise, read, think, and soak in the beauty of the island of Kaua’i; and intensive workshop sessions designed to get one new work of art to an advanced draft in one week.
The Kāpiti Writers’ Retreat is an immersive, two-day gathering for writers, happening on the Kāpiti Coast. The retreat includes intensive morning workshops and lively afternoon discussions taught by six established New Zealand writers; space to write, relax and engage with topics critical to your work. You’ll find community, encouragement, and a safe place in which to take artistic risks.
The Kāpiti Series is an annual program of one-off workshops offered primarily on the Kāpiti Coast. Taught by local and visiting international writers, these workshops focus on specific literary and cultural topics and conversations.
The Kolkata Writers’ Retreat is a week-long gathering for writers working in the short story or cross-genre form. Taking place in Kolkata, India, each April, the retreat includes generative morning writing sessions; the time and space to create, revise, read, think, and soak in the beauty and energy of Kolkata; and intensive workshop sessions designed to get one new story to an advanced draft in one week.
The Desert Writers’ Conference is a week-long gathering for writers who are working on the novel. Taking place in Las Vegas, Nevada, each July, the conference includes generative morning writing sessions; the time and space to create, revise, read, think, and soak in the beauty and energy of the Mojave Desert or Las Vegas; and intensive workshop sessions designed to get one new chapter in your novel to an advanced draft in one week.
The Kampala Writers’ Retreat is a week-long gathering for writers working in the short story or cross-genre form. Taking place in Kampala, Uganda, each October, the retreat includes generative morning writing sessions; the time and space to create, revise, read, think, and soak in the beauty and energy of Kampala; and intensive workshop sessions designed to get one new story to an advanced draft in one week.
Kahini magazine comes out on the fifth day of each month. Each edition features three new creative-writing craft lectures (and access to all archived lectures) by some of the best writers working today; as well as eleven inspirational writing exercises based on the lectures; a new interview with a vital, contemporary writer working in Africa, the Americas, Eurasia, and Oceania; and three new works of literary art in poetry, prose, or cross-genre work.
Africa 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.
Africa 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.
Oceania 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.
Kolkata Director Ananya Sarkar is a short-story writer, book reviewer, and poet. Her work has been published in such magazines as The Times of India, Woman’s Era, New Woman, 4indianwoman, Children’s World, KidsWorldFun, Muse India, Induswomanwriting, Conversations Across Borders, Indian Ruminations, Earthen Lamp Journal, Spark and The Madras Mag. Ananya won the first prize in both the Story Writing Contest by the American Library, Kolkata, as part of the Fiction Festival and the Induswomanwriting Poetry Contest.
Kahini Magazine Editor Jordan Hartt is the author of the story collections “Leap” and “Drifting,” both from Tebot Bach press. Jordan facilitates the Desert Writers’ Conference and the Kaua’i Writers’ Retreats, and co-facilitates the Kolkata Writers’ Retreat and the Kampala Writers’ Retreat. Creative work has appeared in many different literary magazines; he is currently writing a novella. Contact.