Mokulē‘ia Writers Retreat

Nā Wahi Ho‘oulu (The Places That Inspire)

May 3 – 8, 2015

At Camp Mokulē‘ia, on O‘ahu’s North Shore

A few spots are still left for 2014. Join us for the journey.

Join us for the journey.

Registration is now open! Please visit our new retreat Web site for all the latest information. (You’ll love our photos.)

This annual retreat on the North Shore of O‘ahu brings two-dozen writers to Camp Mokulē‘ia for a week of intimate workshops and one-on-one coaching. The retreat is open to writers of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, essays, and memoir. We foster an exchange in two directions—between islanders and mainlanders, published writers and budding writers, Native Hawaiian artistry and mainland publishing. Special evening programs offer a chance to learn about the essence of Hawai‘i from writers, chanters, musicians, and other cultural legends.

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. 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 high-level and professional—but also low-key and tuned in to the beauty of the surroundings. Workshops foster creative exploration and include readings, exercises, and feedback. Open writing time allows writers to dive deeper into their pieces, and then polish them. One-on-one meetings provide personal guidance and top-flight editing. Special panels and discussions explore the ever-changing publishing world and ask editors and agents to discuss how to find new outlets for our work.


The retreat is led by North Shore native Constance Hale, the author of Sin and Syntax, the editor two dozen books, and a journalist whose stories about Hawai‘i appear on CD liner notes, in The Los Angeles Times, and on Web sites like The daily workshops will be led by writers and editors who bring deep experience in many genres.

You can find full instructor bios here. This year’s instructors include:

  • Zoe FitzGerald Carter, essayist and author of the memoir Imperfect Endings
  • Kathryn Ma, award-winning author of the novel The Year She Left Us
  • Don Wallace, Honolulu-based writer for Harper’s and The New York Times, and author of The French House and One Great Game

The Abrigo ‘Ohana will serenade us on our opening night. Hale‘iwa kumu Candy Pollack will lead a hula workshop. Waialua native and retired UH religion professor George Tanabe will take us to local sacred sites. UH creative writing professor Steven Goldsberry will share techniques. Musical duo Kūpaoa will give a presentation on writing songs in Hawaiian. Our evening programs, open to the public, will include a reading by island authors and a presentation on Native Hawaiian cultural traditions.

We begin on May 3, as participants settle into the camp and explore the surroundings. Our first gathering will be a dinner for all writers and their companions. The writing workshops begin on Monday, May 4 and continue through Friday, May 8. Evening programs are open to family and companions as well as members of the local community. Optional activities are also available to family and companions staying at the camp, including yoga, hikes to sacred sites, swimming, beachcombing, even skydiving. Other highlights are an opening paina (Hawaiian-style party) and a visit to Pu‘u O Mahuka Heiau, an ancient Hawaiian temple.


The lodge rooms at the camp feature stunning views and are just steps from the beach. But the accommodations are simple, even Spartan. Each room has large picture windows, two twin beds, a bedside table with reading lamp, a writing table, and two chairs. There is a large common living room and a basic kitchen. Upstairs rooms have en suite baths; downstairs rooms have one bath shared by two private rooms. Room are assigned on a first-come, first-served basis.


A. Rates for writers (includes a minimum five-day stay, three meals each day, one intensive writing workshop each day, optional afternoon sessions, all camp activities, and evening programs):

  • Writer, taking all workshops, in private room:                                     $1,200
  • Writer, taking all workshops, sharing room*:                                       $1,000

*If sharing room with spouse or companion, that person pays for Package B, below.

B.  Rate for family members or companions in a shared room (includes a minimum five-day stay, three meals each day, all camp activities, evening programs, but NO WORKSHOPS):

  • Spouse, family member, or companion sharing room:                        $   650


C. Day rates for those staying elsewhere (includes lunch each day, one intensive writing workshop each day, other workshops, all camp activities, evening programs):

  • Day rate including lunch only:                                                                $   500
  • Day rate including three meals daily:                                                     $   600

D. Rates for writers who wish to join afternoon sessions only**

  • Two-day workshop on memoir, including lunch:                                     $  120
  • Panel on publishing, breaking in, making it, including lunch:                  $    60
  • All afternoon sessions:                                                                             $  150

**Limited spaces will be available for those who wish to attend these sessions only.

A, B, and C are flat-rate packages based on a five-night stay and access to all activities. We are sorry, but modifications are not possible. A limited number of discounts and scholarships may be available for island writers.

Registration and Information

The retreat is open to serious writers of any experience level. Registration begins January 20, 2015. Email for information, or to start the registration process.

Other ways to participate

If you cannot attend the retreat, but support our vision, please consider making a donation to help us provide scholarships to emerging island writers. No amount is too small! Seriously. Write a check made out to “Camp Mokule‘ia” and send it to Writers Retreat Scholarship Fund, Camp Mokule‘ia, 68-729 Farrington Hwy., Waialua HI 96791. Mahalo!