The 2016 Desert Writers’ Retreat

A week of writing and desert living. Sold Out

Dates: May 9-14lv7
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Facilitator: Jordan Hartt
Tuition Cost: Donation to the 2016 Kampala Writers’ Conference.
Contact: [email protected]

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 two years ago, Kahini’s Desert Writers’ Retreat has produced more published work than any of our other workshops.

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 and inspiring desert environment or the distant pulse and energy of Las Vegas.

This May marks our third session–and we’re eager to see the creative work produced this time around. The theme and mantra for 2016’s session is “Love & War.” Looking at the concepts of love and (metaphorical) war, connection and isolation, and togetherness and separation, we’ll find both inspiration and fuel for new writing in this writing retreat.

Open to both poets and prose writers, we’ll begin by sharing two true stories from our lives to serve for discussion—and as raw material for fiction. We’ll each share a true story informed by a time we experienced love, and then a story informed by a time in which we experienced “war” with someone else or with a group of people–or with ourselveslv5

For all stories, we’ll explore all the many angles, points of view, concrete details and how they might be manipulated, and we’ll look at how all of this might be alchemically transformed into short-short fiction or a prose poem.

Then we’ll switch focus to our own work. We’ll each write a short-short story, essay, or prose poem of 750 words or fewer, that is both framed and inspired by the themes of love and war/connection and disconnection, and we’ll do a full, one-hour workshop on that piece.

You’ll leave the workshop with a new completed (and workshopped) piece, new connections and community, and new ways being in the world as a writer–as well as great memories and good sun.


Monday, May 9: 7-9 pm: Welcome, orientation, introductions, and discussion of styles and techniques. Discussion of Ernest Hemingway’s short story “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place” through the perspective of “Love & War.”
Tuesday, May 10 10 am-1 pm: first storytelling session, “Love.”
Wednesday, May 11: 10 am-1 pm: second storytelling session, “War.” 7-9 pm, optional discussion of Toni Morrison’s novel “Love” over desert margaritas.
Thursday, May 12: Writing day.
Friday, May 13: 10 am-1 pm: first workshop session; 6-9 pm: second workshop session.
Saturday, May 14: Farewell lunch.

This workshop is full. 2017’s dates will be announced later this year. 

Jordan Hartt is a reader, writer, writing teacher, and community & events organizer. He directly facilitates five annual writing retreats, serving just over two thousand writers per year. Creative work has appeared in many literary magazines and journals; a collection of rainy narrative poems, “Leap,” appeared in 2015.