My Kahini Writers Retreat experience was a perfect blend of structured workshops, walks by the river, talking with other writers and having the time and space to write. The workshop I attended (led by Gary Copeland Lilley) introduced me to some poets I wasn’t familiar with and gave me the opportunity to reflect on what it means to be a poetic witness. There were some lively group discussions and I came away with a couple of first drafts to work on further. The retreat was a great opportunity to connect with other writers and produce new work. Oh, and the food was great!
I really enjoyed the workshop. [Culture, Landscape, & Creating Character.] It was lovely coming together as writers from all different back grounds and experiences all getting to know each other through the different stories. Always before I’ve met the other writers I feel a little apprehensive,but I take a deep breath and tell myself bugger it we are all here because of the gift we all share no matter where ever we see our selves otherwise. I haven’t had anything published since 2007 but since your work shop all sorts of storage spaces in my head has opened up and I’m writing like crazy. All thanks to the critiquing and positive feed back I received from fellow writers.
Kahini is one of those unique (and very rare) spaces in the fine arts and literature world where everyone is invited to play–or speak would be the better word–regardless of race, age, degree, checkbook, or even gender. The workshop I attended, Inside, Outside, & Upside-down, on affiliations and disconections, provided a safe and more importantly, interesting space where I felt like I could exchange and openly share my own personal experiences without being workshopped, judged or edited. The other participants were extremely diverse–representing all walks of life and I feel like due to the energy and environment facilitated by Sam and Jordan–that we were all able to relate to each other, if only in the sense that we are all humans and that all of our stories and lives have value. I went into the workshop with an open mind but not really expecting to generate anything quality within such a small time frame but I feel like the short story that I left with is the beginning of several or perhaps even a novel. I left the workshop energized and with strong editing suggestions from the other participants that I still have material to work with, months later.
~S. Erin Batiste
The workshop was thoroughly engaging and fun. Jordan was open and friendly and is clearly passionate about the art of writing. Being a part of so much sharing is always a valuable experience and sharing in people’s stories – both real and fictional was enriching. I look forward to more workshops, writing retreats and meetups soon!
Such a treat to learn more about the writing process from a practising writer and lecturer, who delivered with consummate skill and sensitivity. I came away with a finer perception of what is possible in my own writing.
Thanks Kahini for an intense and enjoyable weekend. I left with new friends, new love for the Kāpiti coastline, and – most importantly–new skills that will be of great use as I rewrite my novel. I’d do it again in a heartbeat.
The programme was well considered and Jordan’s teaching style was focussed, impartial and the class well managed without feeling like we were being managed.
It was great to meet so many interesting and lovely people, and to critique each other’s work in a helpful, productive and respectful way. It was clear that everybody had a really positive experience, and I think some bonds were made that will continue to develop over the years.
~Luke Owen Smith
I’m not sure how you define risk, but if it means doing something you wouldn’t normally do with your writing or finding the courage to that thing you’ve always wanted, then ‘Taking an axe to the frozen sea’ definitely did that for me. I feel reinvigorated, connected and excited about what lies ahead when it comes to my writing.
The Kahini workshop I did with Pip Adam was an extremely fun and enlightening experience. I really did feel like I was able to take some risks with my writing. The feedback I received was gratefully accepted and will inform my writing immensely.
A really nice informal atmosphere in which to share words with interested, interesting, intelligent writing peeps!
Students shared personal stories, cohering the group and offering ideas for new pieces. After crafting fictional pieces based on fellow students’ life stories, we participated in group critique. Sam and Jordan’s insights were smart, thought-provoking, and supportive. Participating in these classes helped me generate two new stories and widened my writing community. I would highly recommend this class to anyone wanting to learn how to write a short story or who wants to take their writing to the next level.
When I attended Kahini’s Race, Class, & Place workshop, I was excited to be included in a diverse set of peers but I was worried I would have little to offer the group. Instead, I not only became totally engrossed in the stories of my peers, but I surprised myself by finding that my own stories of race, class, and place had weight and value. The week I spent at Kahini broke down stereotypes I often encounter in my own writing and I left with a first draft of a story that I would never have developed without the workshop.
Kahini is the opposite of your typical rote workshop. Brilliant authors and editors work alongside writers who are just getting started, in an environment of empathy, frankness, encouragement, and artistic risk. The result is fresh new writing, fresh discussion, and a whole lot of fun.