The 2017 Desert Writers’ Retreat

A week of writing and desert living. SOLD OUT. Registration open for 2018 retreat. One space remains.

Dates: May 21-27, 2017lv7
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Faculty: Jordan Hartt
Cost: $500 includes tuition and housing for the full session, Sunday night through Friday night at Tahiti Village.
Registration: Email [email protected].

Class Description:

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

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

The writing that happens in Vegas, doesn’t stay in Vegas. Since its inception in 2014, Kahini’s Desert Writers’ Retreat has produced more high-level and published work than any of our other retreats, workshops, or gatherings.

Maybe it’s the week-long immersion in storytelling. Maybe it’s the intensity of the short-short story/prose poem form. Maybe it’s the beautiful desert environment, or the distant pulse and inspiring energy of Las Vegas. Whatever the reason, every year we see high-level drafts written here, final drafts of which have appeared in magazines, won awards, and headlined collections of the authors’ works.


The piece you write could be nonfiction/memoir; it could be fiction; it could take the form of poetry. We’ll look at and discuss all genres: our only criterion is that our draft be 1,000 words or fewer: our focus is on how to write compelling stories (whatever the genre) in a very short space. As Melissa Febos notes: short pieces are the easiest to publish–but the hardest to write.

Morning craft examples and freewriting will give you fuel and inspiration, while the second half of the week will focus on workshopping one specific piece you’ve written. You’ll leave the workshop with a completed and workshopped piece ready for advanced revision or submission, new connections and community as a writer, and great memories from a week in the desert to last a lifetime.


Sunday, May 21
 5 pm-evening: Welcoming and introductions. Getting settled in.
Monday, May 22
10 am-1 pm: morning workshop.
Tuesday, May 23
10 am-1 pm: morning workshop.
Wednesday, May 24
Writing day.
Thursday, May 25
10 am-1 pm: workshop sessions.
Friday, May 26
10 am-1 pm: workshop sessions.
Saturday, May 27
Departure by ten am.

Register your space by contacting [email protected] Retreat space is limited to six.

Jordan Hartt is a writer, writing teacher, and community and events organizer. His work has appeared in around thirty different literary magazines and journals, including Another Chicago Magazine (ACM), Crab Creek Review, and Prose Poem. A collection of short fiction, “Leap,” appeared in 2015. He teaches literature and creative writing at Peninsula College and facilitates eleven annual writing retreats–in Kaua’i, Jamaica, Maui, Las Vegas, Port Townsend, the Big Island of Hawai’i–serving over three thousand writers per year.

In our resort setting just south of the Las Vegas Strip, you’ll find both solitude and community celebration–whatever you’re looking for. You can draw inspiration from the silence of the open spaces of the Mohave Desert, or the hum and energy of Las Vegas, available only twenty minutes to the north. The blend of both options creates the perfect recipe: quiet, solitary writing retreat and/or energetic city inspiration, as you choose.

tahiti village nightMornings
The workshop takes place at Tahiti Village (pictured); you’re obviously welcome to stay in whatever housing works best for you. There are many options within walking distance of the workshop; nearly anywhere in the area is within driving distance. If you stay onsite, kitchens are included for you, you simply arrange your own food.

In one of the most beautiful and inspirational desert locations on earth, you can spend your afternoons enjoying the best of what Las Vegas or the surrounding desert has to offer, including Red Rock Canyon, the Strip; or simply reading, writing, and enjoying the retreat experience.

Register: contact [email protected]