The Desert Writers’ Retreat

Since 2014
Upcoming: May 22-28, 2022 (Postponed from 2021, this retreat is full)
About: The annual Desert Writers’ Retreat is a fully scholarshipped, application-based writing retreat that happens each May. Due to the global pandemic response, we are currently closed to new applications, and will re-open at an appropriate time.
Host: Jordan Hartt
Location: Tahiti Village, Las Vegas, Nevada

The Retreat

Very short fictions are nearly always experimental, exquisitely calibrated, reminiscent of Frost’s definition of a poem—a structure of words that consumes itself as it unfolds, like ice melting on a stove. ~Joyce Carol Oates

Each May, we hold the Desert Writers’ Retreat: a blend of generative writing time, workshop time, and private retreat time. This retreat was Kahini’s very first event, back in 2014, and launched all of our programs, both in-person and online.

[W]here the poem and story meet. Maybe brevity—on sight—alerts a reader’s expectancy […] But the form costs—it sacrifices most of itself. Experience borders perilously on nothing. ~H.E. Francis

Whether you’re writing fiction, poetry, nonfiction, cross-genre, or un-genre work, short work is one of the most technically involved forms in our literature. To that end, we spend a week studying and writing the form.

Our goal is to complete one new written work of 1,000 words or fewer. And, each participant gets an hour-long workshop on their newly drafted piece.

You’ll leave with a new written and workshopped piece ready for advanced revision or submission, with new community and memories, and with new inspiration in the writing life.


Daily Schedule

4 pm-onward: arrivals, getting settled.
10 am-noon: craft discussion and generative writing session
10 am-noon: craft discussion and generative writing session
7 pm to 8 pm: evening freewrite
Writing day
10 am-noon: workshop sessions
7 pm to 8 pm: evening freewrite
10 am-noon: workshop sessions
7 pm to 9 pm: celebratory final gathering.
Departure by 10 am


Our Purpose

Since our inaugural session in 2014, the Desert Writers’ Retreat has served as a restorative way to indulge in a retreat–and get your tan on–before the summer months begin. 

Perfectly centered twenty minutes from the gorgeous isolation of the Mojave Desert and twenty minutes from the beautiful hustle of the Las Vegas Strip, the Desert Writers’ Retreat provides access to an equal blend of natural beauty and human-built energy, all set amidst the tranquil and vibrant immediate setting of our resort location at Tahiti Village. 

This setting, together with our workshop focus on the craft of writing, the community of writing, and the ongoing inspiration of the writing life, leads to much new work: in the relatively few years since we’ve been doing this retreat, participants have gone on to publish extensively the artistic work that gets drafted here.



Jordan Hartt is the author of two collections of narrative poems: “Leap” (Tebot Bach, 2015) and “Drifting,” (Tebot Bach, 2018).

Hartt’s lifework is creating experiences where people find the writing craft to reach for their best artistic and human selves, find the writing community to connect with others, and find the ongoing inspiration of the writing life.

To do this, he edits Kahini Quarterly; facilitates Kahini+; and hosts five annual writing retreats: one each in Poʻipū, Kauaʻi; Maunaloa, Molokaʻi; Las Vegas, Nevada; Lahaina, Maui; and Puako, Hawaiʻi. A little more about his ethos, if interested.