Build your portfolio of stories, with the eye toward ongoing publication

Dates: Tuesdays, March 9 through June 29. 7 pm to 8 pm, PST. Find your time zone.
Location: Online via Zoom. View a sample session here or here
Registration: available below, or contact writing@kahini.org
The Program  |  The Stories  |  Our History  |  Register  |  Faculty


The Program

The short-short story is the hardest genre to write, but the easiest to publish. ~Melissa Febos

Writing the short-short story (any story up to 1,000 words) leads not only to publication of the individual stories themselves, but also book-length manuscripts.

In this course, designed for beginning, emerging, and established writers–for anyone who wants to write new short work–we study:

    • sensory detail;
    • setting;
    • character and point of view;
    • plot, structure, and pacing;
    • voice, style, and tone;
    • visual presentation;
    • titling;
    • authorial identity,
    • and thematic elements;

drafting new, raw, but complete stories each and every week, with the eye toward ongoing publication.


The Stories

We look at one to three stories each week. We take them apart from an artistic viewpoint, and use the inspiration of their craft elements to create new work of our own.

You don’t need to read any of these stories in advance: they’ll be provided during each course session and all sessions are recorded, for any you miss and want to catch up on later.

March 9: “Swerve,” by Brenda Miller
March 16: “Preacher,” by David Lee
March 23: “A Gatsby Story” by Amina Gautier and “High School as a Dead Girl,” by Cate Marvin
March 30: “What Happened During the Ice Storm,” by Jim Heynen
April 6: “Loading a Boar,” by David Lee
April 13: “My Name” and “Those Who Don’t,” by Sandra Cisneros
April 20: “Salvage Grain,” by David Lee and “Inheritance,” by Denise Levertov
April 27: “In Praise of the Humble Comma,” by Pico Iyer
May 4: “The Story of an Hour,” by Kate Chopin
May 11: “Afterglow,” by A. Van Jordan
May 18: “Boys and Girls,” by Sandra Cisneros
May 25: “Lights,” by Stuart Dybek
June 1: “Becky,” by Jean Toomer
June 8: “A House of My Own,” by Sandra Cisneros
June 15: “Essay on Erosion,” by Carolyn Oliver; “Tibet,” by Gary Geddes, and “August: Midnight Farrow,” by David Lee
June 22: “The Waves Were Low,” by Kim Chinquee
June 29: Three-hour panel discussion on magazine publication and manuscript complication. (5 pm to 8 pm, PST).


Our History

Since our inception in 2014, Kahini participants have published over three thousand individual times in literary magazines, including Granta, Harper’s, and the New Yorker; released around three hundred books on significant presses, including Scribner and Viking; been featured in the Best American Essays, Best American Poetry, Best American Short Stories, and Best American Science & Nature Writing anthologies; been short-listed for the Caine Prize for African Writing; and won the New Zealand First Book Award. Eighteen past participants so far have been appointed to tenure-track university professorships in creative writing.

But our real success at Kahini is in crafting our true, authentic artistic voices; connecting with one another through the literary arts; and finding writing inspiration to last a lifetime.








Faculty: Jordan Hartt

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; Negril, Jamaica; Las Vegas, Nevada; Waikoloa, Hawaiʻi Island; and Lahaina, Maui. A little more about his ethos, if interested.