The Kampala Writers’ Retreat


Past: October 4-10, 2015; October 9-16, 2016
Upcoming: October 10-16, 2021 (full); October 9-15, 2022 (four spaces available)
Tuition & Housing: 20,000 ugx for writers from the East African Community (Burundi,  Kenya, South Sudan, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda.) $1,100 usd for writers from outside the EAC. 
Wairimu Mwangi, Ssekandi Ronald Ssegujja, & Jordan Hartt
Registration: Contact
Location: The Red Chilli Hideaway and Pan African Square, Kampala

The Retreat

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

In addition to distributing books to young readers year-round, each July we hold the Kampala Writers’ Retreat for adult writers, a blend of generative writing time, workshop time, and private retreat time.

[W]here the poem and story meet.
Maybe brevity—on sight—alerts a reader’s expectancy […] But the form costs—it sacrifices most of itself. Experience borders perilously on nothing. ~H.E. Francis

Whether you’re writing fiction, poetry, nonfiction, cross-genre, or un-genre work, short work is one of the most technically involved forms in our literature. To that end, we spend a week studying and writing the form.

Our goal is to complete one new written
work of 1,000 words or fewer. You’ll leave with one new written  piece, with new community and memories for life, and with new inspiration in the writing life.

Each participant covers their own food and transportation needs.



Daily Schedule

4 pm-onward: arrivals, getting settled.
10 am-noon: craft discussion and generative writing session
10 am-noon: craft discussion and generative writing session
7 pm to 8 pm: evening freewrite
Writing day
10 am-noon: workshop sessions
7 pm to 8 pm: evening freewrite
10 am-noon: workshop sessions
7 pm to 8 pm: celebratory final gathering.
Departure by 10 am






wairimuWairimu Mwangi is a writer and 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.


Ssekandi Ronald Ssegujja is the founder of Writing Our World, an organization in Uganda that uses writing, debate and spoken word to give a platform to people to express themselves. He is an events organizer who also runs the the writers’ club ‘Coffee and Books’ that happens monthly in Kampala. In 2014, his story ‘Walls and Borders’ won the Eastern Africa Writivism Literary prize.


Jordan Hartt is the author of two collections of narrative poems: “Leap” (Tebot Bach, 2015) and “Drifting,” (Tebot Bach, 2018). A third collection, “Paradise,” is forthcoming from Tebot Bach in 2021.

Hartt’s lifework is creating experiences where people find the craft immersion to reach for their best artistic and human selves, find the community to connect through the literary arts, and find the ongoing inspiration of the writing life.

To do this, he edits Kahini Quarterly; facilitates Kahini+; and hosts five annual writing retreats: two in Poʻipū, Kaua‘i; and one each in Kolkata, India; Las Vegas, Nevada; and Kampala, Uganda. A little more about his ethos, if interested.