The Kauaʻi Writers’ Retreat

Since 2017
Past: January 29-February 4, 2017; January 28-February 3, 2018; January 27-February 2, 2019; January 26-February 1, 2020
Upcoming: January 22-29, 2022 (full); January 30-February 5, 2022 (full)
Hosts: Ananya Sarkar, Wairimu Mwangi, and Jordan Hartt
Location: Poʻipū, Kauaʻi


The Retreat

Writing Craft

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

Writing Community

Write new work as part of the Kauaʻi Writers’ Retreat, which happens twice each year, in back to back weeks.

[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

Writing Inspiration

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.

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

You’ll leave the retreat with new written work ready for advanced revision or submission, with new community and memories, and with new inspiration in the writing life.

Though our experience is continuous, our perception of it as having shape and meaning presents itself in slices or bursts. ~Tobias Wolff


Daily Schedule

10 am-noon: generative writing based on the work of Virginia Woolf
10 am-noon: generative writing based on the work of Gabriel García Márquez
7 pm-8 pm: evening freewrite
Free day/island day
10 am-noon: generative writing based on the work of Katherine Mansfield
7 pm-8 pm: evening freewrite
10 am-noon: generative writing based on the work of James Joyce
7 pm-9 pm: evening gathering
Departure by 10 am.


Our Purpose

The eleven palm trees that inspired the retreat

Inspired by a dream of eleven palm trees, the twice-annual Kaua’i Writers’ Retreat takes place in Poʻipū, on the sunny, southern tip of the island. 

Our focus on the craft of writing, the community of writing, and the ongoing inspiration of the writing life leads to much new work during the week, in one of the most truly beautiful, inspiring places in the world.

Since our inaugural session in 2017, the retreat has served as a space to begin the new writing year.