The 2019 Maui Writers’ Retreat

A week of writing and island living. Limited to six writers only. Four spaces remain.

maui base photoDates: April 28-May 4, 2019.
Location: The Aina Nalu villas, two blocks from famous Front Street.
Faculty: Jordan Hartt
Cost: $700 to 2,450 usd
Please note: in order for each writer to receive maximum attention, this program is limited to six, and is available only to subscribers of Kahini magazine 
Contact: [email protected]

Live and write among the hibiscus, plumeria, and sunsets in the beautiful, inspirational town of Lahaina on the island of Maui.

The 2019 Maui Writers’ Retreat is designed to get you to one completed short-short story in one week–in one of the most beautiful, inspirational places for writers in the world.

Workshop Description: “The Garden and the Wild”

Sunset from Front Street

Some of literature’s richest stories and poems find inspiration from such settings and metaphors as the “garden”–the planned, the ordered, the seemingly protected–and the “wild”: the unplanned, the unordered, the seemingly unprotected.

How do our characters move in the earth that surrounds them? What kind of place(s)–sculpted/gardened or “wild”–do they move in, and how do these different environments affect both their internal and external lives?

Some writers locate within parks or gardens elements and insights into human nature. Consider the novels of Jane Austen, for instance, or the work of Hafez-e Shirãzi or Henry James. Other writers,  including Toni Morrison (“Paradise” and “Tar Baby”), Virginia Woolf (“Kew Gardens”), Katherine Mansfield (“The Garden Party”) and John Milton (“Paradise Lost”) have explored the concept of the garden as exclusionary: in order to wall a place in,  what and who are kept out

aina nalu
Condo living rooms. Aina Nalu is hidden in an oasis of palms, yet located only two quiet blocks from downtown Lahaina.

Exploring the concept of natural “wildness” also yields rich setting and metaphor: consider the work of Barry Lopez, Robert Michael Pyle, Terry Tempest Williams, Edward Abbey, John Haines, Ken Kesey, and Jourdan Imani Keith, among many others–including William Shakespeare’s play “The Tempest” and its many contemporary responses.

How do our characters respond to metaphorical or literal “wild” settings? What does it mean to have one’s external setting or interior life disordered, in some fashion? Is there more order in wildness/wilderness than in human-sculpted “order”? Further: in what ways are cities “ordered”? In what ways are they “wild”? How does this affect–or not–our characters?

As you can see, we are less interested in answering these questions in any kind of definitive way, and more interested in posing these questions to our characters. 

We’ll begin the workshop begin by sharing true or fictional stories from our own lives

Kula Road with West Maui in the background

involving our experiences with both “ordered” and “unordered” outdoor spaces–in whatever sense that means–and we’ll explore how both natural and cultivated worlds influence our characters. Short readings–and long discussions–will be provided.

For this workshop, a passing familiarity with a few of these artistic works–Shakespeare’s “The Tempest,” Toni Morrison’s “Paradise” and “Tar Baby,” Virginia Woolf’s “Kew Gardens,” Katherine Mansfield’s “The Garden Party,” John Milton’s “Paradise Lost,” and Jane Austen’s “Mansfield Park”–will be helpful, but not necessary.

Much discussion and freewriting will comprise the first half of the week. Then we’ll switch focus to our own writing: we’ll each write a short piece of up to 1,000 words (a complete piece or excerpt from a longer work) and do a full, one-hour discussion on your new, raw draft.

Lahaina, Maui

Kahini’s leisurely one-hour discussions of each piece are famous not only for how quickly they advance each individual piece, but for the richness of the craft discussion that comes along with the workshop of the piece itself.

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

You’ll leave the workshop with a completed and workshopped piece ready for advanced revision, with new connections and community as a writer, and with great memories from the Valley Isle to last a lifetime.


Sunday, April 28
6 pm-onward: Arrivals, getting settled.
Monday, April 29
10 am-1 pm: Morning workshop.
Tuesday, April 30
10 am-1 pm: Morning workshop.
Wednesday, May 1
Writing day/Island day.
Thursday, May 2
10 am-1 pm: Workshop sessions.
Friday, May 3
10 am-1 pm: Workshop sessions. 
Saturday, May 4

Jordan Hartt is a reader, writer, writing teacher, editor, and community & events organizer. He facilitates the Kaua’i Writers’ Retreat, the Desert Writers’ Retreat, and the Maui Writers’ Retreat, and is the managing editor for Kahini magazine.

In the past decade, participants in Hartt’s writing programs have published in thousands of literary magazines, over two hundred books on nationally ranked presses, and been featured in the Best American Essays, Best American Poetry, and Best American Short Stories anthologies.

Hartt’s own writing has appeared in about forty literary magazines and journals. His collection of stories, “Leap,” appeared in 2015. He is currently at work on a new collection.

The historic town of Lahaina is located on West Maui, about twenty-five miles from the airport at Kahului. Kitchens are included: some of the best restaurants on the islands are a five-minute walk away.

Subscribe to Kahini magazine.