The Desert Writers’ Retreat

Since 2014
Past: May 11-17, 2014; May 3-9, 2015; May 22-28, 2016; May 14-20, 2017; May 20-26, 2018; May 19-25, 2019; May 23-29, 2021
Upcoming: May 15-21, 2022 (full); May 22-28, 2022 (full)
Tahiti Village; Las Vegas, Nevada
Registration for the 2023 retreats will open on July 1, 2022
Hosts: Wairimu Mwangi, Ananya Sarkar, Jordan Hartt


The Retreat

Writing Craft

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

Writing Community

Happening twice each May, in back-to-back weeks, each Desert Writers’ Retreat is a blend of generative writing time and private writing-retreat time, with a specific focus on the short-short story

[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

Writing Inspiration

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.

A really good short-short, whatever else it may be, is a story we can’t help reading fast, and then re-reading, and again, but no matter how many times we read it, we’re not quite through it yet. ~John L’Heureux

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



Daily Schedule

10 am-noon: sensory detail, setting, character, and point of view
10 am-noon: plot, structure, and pacing
Writing day
10 am-noon: voice, style, mood, tone, and visual presentation
10 am-noon: titling, authorial identity, and themes
Departure by 10 am