The Desert Writers’ Retreat

Where it all began
Past: May 11-17, 2014; May 17-23, 2015; May 8-14, 2016; May 21-27, 2017; May 20-26, 2018; May 19-25, 2019
Upcoming: May 23-29, 2021 (full); May 22-28, 2022
Registration: Contact
Tuition & Housing: $2,000 usd
Facilitator: Jordan Hartt
Location: Tahiti Village, Las Vegas, Nevada

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 global programs.

[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 receives a full, hour-long workshop on this brand-new work of art. 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.

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

So that each person gets a full, one-hour workshop, this experience is limited to four writers.


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 8 pm: celebratory final gathering.
Departure by 10 am





Host: Jordan Hartt

I’m the author of two collections of narrative poems: “Leap” (Tebot Bach, 2015) and “Drifting,” (Tebot Bach, 2018). A third collection, “Paradise,” is forthcoming from Tebot Bach in 2021.

My 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, I edit Kahini Quarterly; facilitate Kahini+; and host five annual writing retreats: two in Poʻipū, Kaua‘i; and one each in Kolkata, India; Las Vegas, Nevada; and Kampala, Uganda. A little more about my ethos, if interested.