The 2019 Kampala Writers’ Retreat


Dates: October 6-12, 2019
Facilitators: Wairimu Mwangi; Jordan Hartt
Registration: 50,000 ugx for writers from the East African Community (Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda.) $50 usd for writers from outside this region. Housing and airport transfers included for all. Note: this is an application-based event that will include a personal interview.
Capacity: This event is limited to ten writers.
Apply: contact to begin the application process.

This retreat takes place at the Red Chilli Hideaway; we will also spend time at Pan African Square, Lake Victoria, and the Nile River. 

Live and write among the energy and inspiration of Kampala, Uganda, one of the most thriving literary hubs in the world. The Kampala Writers’ Retreat is designed to get you to a new and completed short-short story, essay, or poem, in one week. This retreat includes one hour of personal consultation on your work with the faculty, above and beyond the workshop experience.




We spend mornings looking at examples of existing creative work from such writers as Jennifer Makumbi, Goretti Kyomuhendo, James Joyce, Katherine Mansfield, Virginia Woolf, and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

We’ll study how these authors create sensory detail, setting, character, point of view, plot, structure, voice and tone, and theme, and how we can use the same techniques in our own writing.



Much discussion and freewriting comprises 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 this new, raw draft.

Kahini’s leisurely 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.

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 a week of writing to last a lifetime.


Sunday, October 6
5-8: Welcome gathering, introductions.
Monday, October 7
10 am-noon: morning workshop
1 pm-3 pm: participant open-mike and performances at Pan African Square.
Tuesday, October 8
10 am-noon: morning workshop
1 pm-evening: visit to Lake Victoria
Wednesday, October 9
Free day. (Independence Day)
Thursday, October 10
10 am-noon: morning workshop
1 pm-evening: visit to the Nile River
Friday, October 11
10 am-noon: morning workshop
6 pm: celebratory final gathering, bonfire, and open-mike at Pan African Square.
Saturday, October 12


wairimuWairimu Mwangi is a writer and the founder of the Literature Africa Foundation. Her educational textbooks are used in schools across Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, and Ghana. She is passionate about quality education for all and believes that without books or material to read, literacy suffers and when literacy suffers, opportunities decline. She enjoys mentoring youth, storytelling, travelling, reading and meditating.

jordan copyJordan Hartt is the author of the short-story collections “Leap” and “Drifting,” available from Tebot Bach Press. He facilitates the creative-writing program Studies in Short Fiction; hosts four annual writing residencies in Po’ipū, Kaua’i; and gives philanthropically to artists and visionaries around the world.