Mokule‘ia Writers Retreat

Nā Wahi Ho‘oulu (The Places That Inspire)

May 4 – 9, 2014

At Camp Mokule‘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.

This annual retreat on the North Shore of O‘ahu brings two-dozen writers to Camp Mokule‘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 explore using new media to our advantage 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 of more than two dozen books, and a journalist whose stories about Hawai`i appear everywhere from CD liner notes to publications like The Los Angeles Times and Afar magazine. The daily workshops will be led by UH creative writing professor Steven Goldsberry, and veteran editor Larry Habegger, founder of Travelers’ Tales Books. Steven and Larry have taught across the country and the islands and bring deep experience in many genres. Special workshops will be led by memoirist Rebecca Walker, who visits us from Maui, and novelist Darien Gee, who visits from the Big Island. Naturalist, chanter, and cultural expert Sam ‘Ohukani‘ōhi‘a Gon will lead an unusual evening program that will be open to the public.

We begin on May 4, 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 5 and continue through Friday May 9. 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.

Every day, honu (protected sea turtles that seem both prehistoric and sacred) join us on the beach.

Every day, honu (protected sea turtles that seem both prehistoric and sacred) join us on the beach.


Rates include lodging, food, workshops and all activities. The rate for a single room for the entire six days and five nights is $1,100. (The rate for a spouse or companion sharing a room but not taking the workshops is $455.) If two writers would like to share a room, the rate is $850. (It would be best if you found your own roommate.) The accommodations are rustic, but each room is just steps from the beach. Every window gives on to awesome views. Complete information on rates is available here.

Registration and information

The retreat is filled for 2014. But if you are on the island, please join us for the programs on Tuesday and Wednesday nights. They are free and open to the public:

Tuesday, May 7 ~ 7 pm ~ “How Do We Evoke Place in Art?” Writers and artists present work that reflects their understanding of Hawai‘i, the Pacific, and even this place called Mokulē‘ia.

Wednesday, May 8 ~ 7 pm ~ “Mokulēʻia in the Hawaiian Footprint.” Samuel M. ‘Ohukani‘ohi‘a Gon, a senior scientist and cultural expert with The Nature Conservancy, is also kumu oli at Nā Waʻa Lālani Kāhuna o Puʻu Koholā, a traditional school of chant in Honolulu. He will talk about the Hawaiian Footprint project (an attempt by ecologists to create a picture of what the Hawaiian Islands looked like before a single human being had set foot upon them), lingering in the moku of Waialua and our setting of Mokulēʻia-Kaʻena. His presentation will include songs and chants like “ʻO Waialua Kai Leo Nui” and “ʻO Kalena Kai.”

Other ways to participate

If you cannot attend the retreat this year, 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!

Mahalo to our sponsors!

Various people and organizations have contributed in all kinds of ways to the retreat, including Red Bridge Press, Bamboo Ridge Press, and the Waialua Library. Thank you for the support!

Red Bridge Press