The Mokulē‘ia Writers Retreat
Nā Wahi Ho‘oulu
(Places That Inspire Us)
Tentative dates: May 7 – 12, 2017
The Mokulē‘ia Writers Retreat is an annual gathering that brings three dozen writers of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, essays, and memoir to the North Shore of O‘ahu for a week of intimate workshops and one-on-one coaching. The retreat is high-level and professional — but also low-key and tuned in to the beauty of the surroundings. We foster an exchange in two directions — between islanders and mainlanders, published writers and budding writers, Native Hawaiian artistry and mainland publishing.
With the Waianae Mountains at our back and the open ocean at our front, we break bread with colleagues, gather in daily workshops, salute the morning sun in yoga, write privately in the shade of ironwood trees, and wander along the beach. We even dance some hula. The theme, nā wahi ho‘oulu, acknowledges that a sacred spot like this will inspire us to explore other places — whether in the heart, in memory, or in the moment.
The retreat is led by North Shore native Constance Hale, the author of Sin and Syntax, the editor of more than two dozen books, and a journalist whose stories about Hawai‘i appear on CD liner notes, as well as in publications like The Los Angeles Times and Smithsonian magazine. Hale invites a mix of writers, editors, and agents from both the islands and the mainland to lead various workshops and appear on panels.
We gather at Camp Mokulē‘ia, a 40-acre facility stretching along a remote beach. Writers from Hawai‘i, the mainland US, and elsewhere come to work under the guidance of nationally known writers, editors, and agents. We coach writers in producing pieces worthy of publication through guided workshops, one-on-one meetings, and panels on publishing. Writers are encouraged to draw from nature and tap their own creative wellsprings. This dovetails with one of the missions of the nonprofit Camp Mokulē‘ia: to raise ecological awareness and bridge Native Hawaiian and Western ideas of sustainability.
We provide a limited number of scholarships to emerging island writers, who are often cut off from resources available on the mainland.
In past retreats, writers have finished stories, taken manuscripts to the next step, landed assignments from editors, advanced their creative writing theses at UH, formed support groups for feedback, started to reach out to agents, and found creative writing teachers to continue working with.