Culture, Landscape, & Creating Characters

Dates: January 23-25, 2015
Faculty: Jordan Hartt
Location: Kāpiti
Limited to nine participants
Cost: $150 for the workshop and all meals. $195 for the workshop, housing on Friday and Saturday night, and all meals.

This workshop is full.

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

John L’Heureux writes: “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.”

In this weekend workshop, we’ll write–and workshop–a new piece of short fiction or a new prose poem. Finding inspiration in the culture(s) and landscape(s) of our stories in order to create character, mood, and tone, we’ll begin the workshop by looking at craft elements of fiction, poetry, and cross-genre work. We’ll then each tell two true stories to serve as fuel for discussion—and as raw material for fiction. We’ll tell one another a story in which our cultural background played a role, and a story in which our geographical background played a role.

We’ll explore how these inner and outer landscapes affect story, tone, and mood, and how to access their human (and maybe plant, animal, and mineral!) emotion and reveal similar emotion(s) in our own creative work.

Fiction and poetry, while not fact-driven, must always be emotionally truthful and accurate. We’ll discuss how the culture(s) and landscape(s) we write out of might be most artfully brought to the page, and we’ll then generate an entirely new piece of writing, and workshop it as a group. You’ll leave the workshop with new tools in your writing belt and a newly written and workshopped piece.

This workshop will be held in a secluded eco-house on the Kāpiti Coast. On-site accommodation is simple with shared bathrooms. Rooms may be shared depending on numbers. For writers not staying onsite, there are other options available in the local area.

Contact for more information.


Friday, January 23: 7 pm, public discussion on books, reading and writing at Mahara Gallery, Waikanae, Kāpiti. Guided by Pip Adam and Jordan Hartt. Free, but capacity is limited.
Saturday, January 24: 10-1 pm: welcome, orientation, craft discussion, and first session. 2-5 pm: second session. 6-9 pm: communal dinner, drinks, and conversation
Sunday, January 25: 12-4 pm: workshop session


2cabJordan Hartt, Kahini’s founder, is a writer, writing teacher, and community and events organizer. His work has appeared in thirty different literary magazines and journals, including Another Chicago Magazine (ACM), Crab Creek Review, Verdad, and Prose Poem. He holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Idaho, and has taught literature and creative writing at Peninsula College for the past eight years. Hartt’s first book, “Myths and Legends of the Pacific Northwest” is forthcoming in June, 2015. Sample poem.


Kirsten Le Harivel Kirsten Le Harivel is a writer and community development worker based on the Kāpiti Coast in New Zealand. Kahini’s Oceania Coordinator, her work has appeared in Sport, Hue & Cry, Turbine and other literary journals. She completed an MA at the Institute of Modern Letters in 2013 and is currently shaping her manuscript into a poetry collection.