Fiction | Nonfiction | Memoir | Poetry | Screenwriting | Top Authors | Literary Agents

Master Classes:
November 6th-9th, 2023

November 10th-12th, 2023


The Hero’s Journey in Fiction and Film

Christopher Vogler

Life Into Art

Meg Wolitzer

Christina Baker Kline

Paula McLain

Narrative Stockholm Syndrome

Joshua Mohr

Guiding a Poem
to an Ending

Billy Collins

Lessons from Historical Fiction

Priya Parmar

From Inspiration to Publication

Adrienne Brodeur

Patti Callahan Henry

How to Write a Great Short Story

Heidi Pitlor

Defining Your Author Brand

Lisa Sharkey

The Art and Business of Getting Published

Jeff Kleinman

Regina Brooks

Writing Modern Women’s Fiction

Mary Kay Andrews

Narrative Design: Keeping Readers Hooked

Jean Kwok

Funny On the Page

Adriana Trigiani

Revision & Improvement

Nicholas Delbanco

Promoting & Marketing your Book

Sam Horn

Story Architecture

Angie Kim

Writing in Hybrid Forms

Elizabeth Rosner

Creating a Sense of Place

James Sturz



Need help?

 We offer free phone consultations to answer your questions and help you design your ideal program.


Master Classes:
November 6th-9th, 2023

November 10th-12th, 2023


“I’m a veteran, and this was an exceptionally well-organized, conceptually-rich, generous, fruitful and peaceful gathering. I’m amazed that, at least from my point of view, there were no visible glitches in any of the complicated logistics. It was genuine Aloha spirit that made the Kauai magic happen.”


“I’m a veteran, and this was an exceptionally well-organized, conceptually-rich, generous, fruitful and peaceful gathering. I’m amazed that, at least from my point of view, there were no visible glitches in any of the complicated logistics. It was genuine Aloha spirit that made the Kauai magic happen.”


The 2023 Conference will be held at the exquisite Royal Sonesta Kauai Resort

November, 2023 | Kalapaki Bay | Lihue, Kauai

The 2023 Conference will be held at the exquisite Royal Sonesta Kauai Resort

Kalapaki Bay

Lihue, Kauai


Special Events at the 2023 Kauai Writers Conference

All of these are included with conference tuition except for the luau, which requires separate registration.

The Story of Everything

Presented by its creator Kealoha,
Hawaii’s first Poet Laureate

Saturday, November 11  |  7:30pm

A spectacular multimedia film experience.

Produced by Engaging the Senses Foundation

The Story of Everything

Presented by its creator Kealoha,
Hawaii’s first Poet Laureate

Saturday, November 11  |  7:30pm

A spectacular multimedia film experience

Produced by Engaging the Senses Foundation

Poetry reading and discussion: Billy Collins

Two-time Poet Laureate of the United States

Under our festive beachside tent
Saturday, November 11 |  12:30pm

* Including lunch for meal plan registrants

Billy Collins, America’s most popular poet, is known for conversational, witty poems that often slip into quirky, tender or profound observations of the everyday.

Poetry reading and discussion: Billy Collins

Two-time Poet Laureate of the United States

Under our festive beachside tent
Saturday, November 11 |  12:30pm

* Including lunch for meal plan registrants

Billy Collins, America’s most popular poet, is known for conversational, witty poems that often slip into quirky, tender or profound observations of the everyday.

The Art of the Elegant Thriller

A live Zoom presentation moderated by Kevin Larimer, editor-in-chief, of Poets & Writers

Saturday, November 11 |  9:00am

The Art of the Elegant Thriller

A live Zoom presentation moderated by Kevin Larimer, editor-in-chief, of Poets & Writers

Saturday, November 11 |  9:00am

Opening blessing and performance: Kumu Sabra Kauka and her students

Celebrated as one of the most influential na wahine alakai (women leaders) of Kauai, Sabra Kauka and her students will open the conference with blessings, chant and hula performance.

Friday, November 10 |  9:00am

Opening blessing and performance: Kumu Sabra Kauka and her students

Celebrated as one of the most influential na wahine alakai (women leaders) of Kauai, Sabra Kauka and her students will open the conference with blessings, chant and hula performance.

Friday, November 10 |  9:00am


Experience Polynesian culture, celebrate with fellow writers, and enjoy a delicious menu of traditional Hawaiian dishes at our private beachfront luau.

Kalapaki Beach
Friday, November 10 |  6:00pm


Experience Polynesian culture, celebrate with fellow writers, and enjoy a delicious menu of traditional Hawaiian dishes at our private beachfront luau.

Kalapaki Beach
Friday, November 10 |  6:00pm

Master Class Workshops

Four days of close personal guidance in small groups with living masters of their genres. Choose from Fiction, Memoir, Nonfiction, Publishing and more.


4 Days | Monday 11/6 – Thursday 11/9  2023 |  9:00am to 12:00

Turning Life Into Art

with Christina Baker Kline, Paula McLain & Meg Wolitzer


Turning Life into Art has been our most popular class for several years. This year it will expand to four days. Over the course of the class, students will develop a piece of writing that they will share in a smaller group, guided by one of the instructors, with individual workshop-style feedback for each participant. We will reunite during the final class to discuss lessons learned and next steps.

The class is a rare opportunity to learn from these remarkable authors. Each will delve deeply into the process by which she draws inspiration for her work from people, places and events in her life. Writing, at its essence, is a process of transmuting one’s life experiences into art. In this class, you will learn the unique way each of these renowned writers does this.

It is equally suitable for writers of fiction and memoir. Through dialog and written exercises, each of the teachers will inspire and challenge you to become more conscious and intentional about how you yourself are “turning life into art.”

Christina Baker Kline’s The Exiles, Orphan Train and A Piece of the World are each major international bestsellers.

Paula McLain is author of the New York Times bestselling novels The Paris Wife, Circling the Sun, and Love and Ruin.

Meg Wolitzer is the New York Times–bestselling author of The Interestings, The Uncoupling, The Ten-Year Nap, The Position, The Wife, and Sleepwalking.

The Hero’s Journey in Fiction and Film

with Christopher Vogler


Christopher Vogler is arguably the most important story consultant to major studios over the last several decades. His interpretation of Joseph Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces became the essential guide to the structure of countless films. At Disney, for example, his ideas were key to the story arc of classics like The Lion King and Finding Nemo.

In this class, Vogler will dive into the deep heart of the hero’s journey. What are its components? Why does it work so universally in stories of diverse genres, times and places? How can you use this concept to tell your own story in a way that readers or audiences will find spellbinding? Then he will work with each of the participants’ stories, helping them to become conscious of the role of the hero’s journey in each of them, as well as in their own lives.

We’re proud to offer this class. It has the potential to fundamentally transform your work and your understanding of the purpose of storytelling. It is equally applicable to writers of fiction, memoir, and screenplay. Participants will be asked to submit excerpts from their work for Vogler to analyze in class.

Here is a good analysis of Christopher Vogler’s concepts in a preface he wrote to Myth and the Movies:

Christopher Vogler is a staple in film classes the world over, Vogler’s influential guide, The Writers Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers,  tracks the hero’s path from trials to triumph, a flexible template that has stood the test of time. “Stories are resilient and seem to be adapting to a new age and new realities with the help of writers who are always looking for unexpected ways to put together the elemental pieces,” Vogler says.

Vogler has worked for Disney, Fox and Warner Brothers and was instrumental in developing some of their most iconic films.

Narrative Design | Keeping Readers Hooked

with Jean Kwok


Jean Kwok’s novels consistently hit the sweet spot between literary and commercial fiction. Her award-winning books are taught in schools around the world while hitting the New York Times and international bestseller lists. She often uses material from her own life, transforming sometimes painful experiences into art, and is living her dream of being a full-time, successful author. A gifted, encouraging, and experienced teacher, she is now ready to share her secrets with you in this rare opportunity. She writes:

We’ve all been there. You have a pile of carefully polished pages, yet they don’t seem to cohere. Or you have a sprawling monster of a novel that resists any attempt to tame it. Or maybe it’s always been your dream to write a novel but you have no idea how to get started. We all love to move commas around but often, our work needs larger structural changes to make it as compelling and powerful as possible.

This is a class that looks at different ways to plot and structure a novel, including treatment of character development, themes, setting, voice, and point of view. You don’t need to have a draft of a novel to attend. Rather, the course is a combination of lectures and generative writing time.

Each participant should bring a short excerpt from their own fiction and/or a brief synopsis of their novel-in-progress (up to 5 pages.) This submission will not be workshopped. It’s only to give Jean a sense of what you’re working on. We will be creating new work in class that will then be discussed together. Our ultimate goal is to help you find a stronger structure for your novel that could lead to publication.

Jean Kwok is the award-winning, New York Times and international bestselling author of Searching for Sylvie LeeGirl in Translation and Mambo in Chinatown. Her work has been published in twenty countries and taught in universities, colleges and high schools across the world. An instant New York Times bestseller, Searching for Sylvie Lee was selected for the Today Show Book Club and featured in The New York Times, Time, Newsweek, CNN, The New York Post, The Washington Post, O Magazine, People, Entertainment Weekly and more. 

Jean has been chosen for numerous honors including the American Library Association Alex Award, the Chinese American Librarians Association Best Book Award, an Orange New Writers title and the Sunday Times Short Story Award international shortlist. She has appeared on The Today Show and Good Morning America, and spoken at many schools and venues including Harvard University, Columbia University, Talks at Google and the Tucson Festival of Books.  A television documentary was filmed about Jean and her work.

How to Write a Great Short Story:
Cultivating Empathy, Voice, and Character in Short Fiction (Morning)

with Heidi Pitlor


Short stories are often the chosen form of new fiction writers. Increasingly, film scouts and content providers are looking to short stories for potential adaptation and publication. Mastering the short form may be your goal, or may be a useful skill in learning to write and revise novels. Join national expert on the form Heidi Pitlor as she presents what she looks for when choosing The Best American Short Stories, and what all writers can learn from this.

Through discussion, generative exercises, close study of successful short stories, and question and answer sessions, Heidi will help you start, revise, or finish your story-in-progress, and guide you toward seeing your work in a new way. We’ll discuss structure, point of view, narrative distance, characterization, as well as learning to cultivate your individual process and voice as a writer. Every piece you write is different, and must be approached in a different way. Learning to master one story is a great way to learn about your own process as a writer.

Heidi Pitlor has been the series editor of the annual bestselling anthology The Best American Short Stories since 2007. Before that, she was a senior editor at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for ten years. In 2022, she founded Heidi Pitlor Editorial, a small freelance firm that provides editorial services to agents, editors, and published writers. Of HPE, MacArthur “genius” grant recipient and Pulitzer Prize finalist Karen Russell said, “Heidi Pitlor is one of the kindest and keenest editors I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with and her notes have been invaluable to me.” Heidi is also the editorial director of the literary studio, Plympton, where she fosters collaboration between the tech and publishing industries. She has worked with Stephen King, Margaret Atwood, Cheryl Strayed, Min Jin Lee, Anthony Doerr, Rainbow Rowell, Jesmyn Ward, and many other writers.
Heidi is the author of the novels The Birthdays, The Daylight Marriage, which was optioned for film, and Impersonation, of which Good Morning America said, “[it] highlights what’s important in life, parenthood, and ambition in this compulsively readable story.”
Her writing has been published in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, Lit Hub, Ploughshares, The Huffington Post, and elsewhere. 

Defining Your Author Brand

with Lisa Sharkey


Many people have wonderful ideas for their books. But one thing most author hopefuls don’t have is the awareness that every book and every author is a brand. In this class you’ll come to realize that as important as it is to write a great book, it’s equally important to figure out who is going to read your book and where are you going to find your readers?

Lisa Sharkey, senior vice president and director of creative development at HarperCollins for more than 16 years, has helped hundreds of authors hone brand-building skills to grow their audience in both fiction and non-fiction book publishing.

What’s the right social media vertical for you?
How do you generate buzz about your book even before you have sold it?

Should you write the whole book first or should you focus as much on growing your audience as finishing your pages? What kinds of posts attract the most attention from your existing audience, and which posts will introduce you to new audiences who haven’t even heard about you yet?

In addition to publishing dozens of New York Times, bestsellers, Lisa oversaw the creation of a social media marketing programming at HarperCollins with more than 33 million views in just a few short years and has deep knowledge of how to position authors for maximum exposure.

The course will also include one on one attention in front of the class for each attendee as we structure their brand development and help them frame their author platform and profile for maximum exposure.

Lisa Sharkey, SVP and Director of Creative Development at Harper Collins Publishers, was recently described by one of her authors, number one bestseller Congressman Jamie Raskin as a “clairvoyant publishing wizard”. Following more than two decades producing, writing and developing Emmy award-winning network and syndicated television news, Lisa made the switch into books because of her love for literature, storytelling, and going deep.

Sharkey is a champion of powerful, poignant, and persuasive storytelling. More than 75 of the books she has published have become New York Times bestsellers, selling millions of copies in multiple languages across the globe over the past 15 years. Her authors have accomplished extraordinary things and changed the world by telling their stories. Sharkey publishes books in the categories of politics, journalism, true crime, music, sports, medicine, self-help, cooking, mindfulness, science, religion, military life, and inspirational memoir. Sharkey is a mother of three, a yoga teacher, and a mentor of military veterans who are transitioning into civilian life.

She lives in one of New York’s first ever eco houses that she designed along with her architect husband who co-authored their book Dreaming Green.

The Art and Business of Getting Published: Traditional, Indie, and Everything in Between

with Jeff Kleinman & Regina Brooks


In this comprehensive masterclass, you’ll learn not just the foundational principles of getting a book published, but you’ll also gain expert insight into the changing landscape of the publishing industry, and how you can navigate your own path toward success. Learn what it takes to capture the attention of a New York publisher or literary agent, plus when self-publishing might be best suited for your content or business goals.

This masterclass will cover:

  • How to evaluate the commercial potential of your project and what it takes to appeal to a mainstream publisher or literary agent—plus how to use databases and online tools to identify the right home for your work.
  • What professional submission materials look like. Your query letter should be short and sweet and pack a punch. Learn what it means to sell your story, and how to avoid problems that plague (and sabotage) authors.
  • Query letter and pitch session workshop. Hone your query letter and work on your book’s one-sentence description.
  • When a literary agent is necessary or desirable. You’ll learn about what  the  role of today’s literary agent looks like and how it is evolving, what standard agenting practices are, how to evaluate the ideal agent for your work, and how to practice proper author etiquette within the agent-author relationship.
  • The author platform dilemma. Not too far into your publishing journey, you’ll hear agents and editors talk about platform. You’ll learn what an author platform is, when it’s necessary for mainstream publication, why it’s often necessary to have one to get published. You’ll also get tips on how to be a good “literary citizen,” which can be comparable to a platform. There aren’t easy answers, but you’ll learn what industry expectations are, and how data and meta tags have created new opportunities for content rich creators.
  • How publishers market books (or not) and the role that authors play as publishing partners for sales success.
  • You’ll also learn how to evaluate if your content is ideal for a book format or another medium such as podcast, course, or documentary.

At the end of the class, you’ll have a comprehensive, business understanding of the book publishing industry and an author’s place in the ecosystem of agents, publishers, and retailers. You’ll gain a deep understanding of the commercial publishing business model, and how you can approach the process with the right expectations and mindset.

Jeff Kleinman is a literary agent and founding partner of Folio Literary Management, LLC, one of the most influential literary agencies in the U.S.
As an agent, Jeff feels privileged to have the chance to learn a great variety of new subjects, meet an extraordinary range of people, and feel, at the end of the day, that he’s helped to build something – a wonderful book, perhaps, or an author’s career. Books of his clients include the bestsellers The Art of Racing in the Rain (Garth Stein), The Snow Child (a Pulitzer finalist; Eowyn Ivey), Widow of the South (Robert Hicks), and Mockingbird (Charles Shields), among many others.
Regina Brooks  is the founder and president of Serendipity Literary Agency LLC in New York. Her agency is the largest African American owned agency in the country and has represented and established a diverse base of award-winning clients in adult and young adult fiction, nonfiction, and children’s literature. Her authors have appeared in USA TODAY, NY TIMES, and the Washington Post, as well as on Oprah, ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, FOX, MSBNC, TV ONE, BET, and a host of others.

Guiding a Poem to an Ending

with Billy Collins


This opportunity to study with “America’s most popular poet,” will be limited to twelve participants.
You can spot a Billy Collins poem immediately. The amiable voice, the light touch, the sudden turn at the end. He “puts the ‘fun’ back in profundity,” says poet Alice Fulton. In his own words, his poems tend to “begin in Kansas and end in Oz.”

This workshop will focus on the poem’s transit from its beginning, through its middle to the end–so not to leave anything out. We will observe how a poem launches itself, how it finds reasons to continue to flow, and how it finally discovers a place to settle at the end. We will also examine a number of verbal maneuvers that can brighten a poem and even liberate it from itself, much to everyone’s surprise and delight!

Billy Collins’s level of fame is almost unprecedented in the world of contemporary poetry. He served two terms as the US poet laureate, from 2001-2003, was New York State poet laureate from 2004-2006, and is a regular guest on National Public Radio programs. In 2002 Collins was asked to write a poem commemorating the first anniversary of the fall of the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center on September 11. The reading was in front of a joint session of Congress held outside of Washington, DC.

Dubbed “the most popular poet in America” by Bruce Weber in the New York Times, Billy Collins is famous for conversational, witty poems that welcome readers with humor but often slip into quirky, tender, or profound observation on the everyday, reading and writing, and poetry itself. He has taught at Columbia University, Sarah Lawrence, and Lehman College, City University of New York, where he is a Distinguished Professor.

Story Architecture: The What, Who, and How of Designing a Page-Turner

with Angie Kim

Maybe you have the wisps of an idea and need help getting started. Maybe you already have a draft of a novel or memoir ready for revision. Either way, focusing on your story’s foundational structure can help you turn it into the most emotionally satisfying and propulsive story it can be.
WHAT: Story Premise: We will start with exercises to help you identify your story’s premise, a distillation of your story’s essential conflict into one sentence. This will become the governing question that will keep your readers wanting to read (and, if you’re like me and have no idea what’s going to happen before you finish the book, will keep you writing). You can use this as a pitch for agent queries, book submissions, and later, book jacket descriptions.
WHO: Point(s) of View: Who can most effectively tell this story? Should one character tell the story linearly, or should multiple characters tell different their own version of the story, Rashomon-style? Should there be alternating voices or timelines? We will discuss different approaches and use writing exercises and examples to help you figure out the best options for your story.
HOW: Story Structure: What are the pivotal anchor points for your story? How should you organize what happens in your story so that it delivers the most emotional impact? Some writers like to try to figure out the story’s outline first. I like more of an iterative approach: writing a draft first and then stepping back to outline, which I use to revise and restructure, draft by draft. Even for non-outliners, keeping in mind some of the most common story structure elements can help you from getting lost.

Angie Kim is the debut author of the international bestseller and Edgar winner Miracle Creek, named a “Best Book of the Year” by Time, The Washington Post, Kirkus, and The Today Show, among others. Her novel also won the ITW Thriller Award, the Strand Critics’ Award, and the Pinckley Prize. A Korean immigrant, former editor of the Harvard Law Review, and one of Variety Magazine’s inaugural “10 Storytellers to Watch,” Kim has written for VogueThe New York Times Book ReviewThe Washington PostGlamour, and numerous literary journals. She lives in Northern Virginia with her husband and three sons.

Revision and Improvement

with Nicholas Delbanco


It is an honor and a privilege to have Nicholas Delbanco conduct a workshop at the Kauai Writers Conference. He’s served as both chairman of the fiction panel of the National Book Awards and as a judge for, among other contests, the Pulitzer Prize and the PEN/Faulkner Award in Fiction.

In this master class, Delbanco will help a maximum of twenty writers discover the key improvements their works-in-progress need. Each student will be invited to submit an excerpt. Delbanco will read them in advance and then spend time on each one in class, analyzing, dissecting, and coming up with a penetrating analysis of where it succeeds or fails to communicate the writer’s deep intention. Each student will come away with a detailed strategy for revision and improvement to achieve the work’s true potential.

Delbanco is the author of thirty-one books, both fiction and nonfiction, most recently WHY WRITING MATTERS, in which he distills a lifetime’s experience of teaching writing. He was the founding director of the Bennington Writing Workshops and served for many years as head of the esteemed creative writing program at University of Michigan. There he was director of the Hopwood Awards Program, the oldest and best known series of writing prizes in the academy.

John Updike said Delbanco “wrestles with the abundance of his gifts as a novelist the way other men wrestle with their deficiencies.” He is a writer that other writers, including many of the most celebrated, look up to and have sought out for advice.

We think this class is the literary equivalent of having Chopin give you a piano lesson. Over his distinguished career, he has helped many hundreds of writers in all stages of their careers, from absolute beginners to established authors seeking to top The NY Times bestseller list.

We can promise that those fortunate enough to find a spot in Delbanco’s workshop will find it a seminal event in their writing careers.

Nicholas Delbanco has published thirty-one books of fiction and non-fiction. His most recent novels are The Count of Concord and Spring and Fall; his most recent works of non-fiction are The Countess of Stanlein Restored and The Lost Suitcase: Reflections on the Literary Life. As editor he has compiled the work of, among others, John Gardner and Bernard Malamud.

Nicholas has served as Chair of the Fiction Panel for the National Book Awards. He’s The Robert Frost Distinguished University Professor of English Language and Literature at the University of Michigan and heads the MFA Program as well as the Hopwood Awards Program. He  received a Guggenheim Fellowship and, twice, a National Endowment for the Arts Writing Fellowship. His teaching text for McGraw-Hill is entitled Literature: Craft and Voice, and he edited a three-volume Introduction to Literature with Alan Cheuse. in 2004 he published The Sincerest Form: Writiing Fiction by Imitation. His new non-fiction book, Lastingness: The Art of Old Age was published by Grand Central Publishing in 2011.


4 Days | Monday 11/6 – Thursday 11/9 2023 |  1:30 to 4:30pm

From Inspiration to Publication: Creative Longevity in Memoir and Fiction

with Adrienne Brodeur & Patti Callahan Henry


Do you ever wonder what story you want to tell and what genre will best serve it? Are you committed to writing for the long haul? Do you need help figuring out how to build a life to support your literary aspirations? If so, look no further – this workshop is for you!

Through lectures, generative exercises, small group conversations, and question and answer sessions, Patti and Adrienne will help you refine your story and its premise, identify its origins and sources of inspiration, and delve deeper. As you overcome resistance and draw from storytelling traditions, our exercises and conversations will be geared toward helping you determine the right genre for your work, find your voice, and build a sustainable life as a writer.

Our class will help you decide how best to tell your story, and what genre might serve your idea most powerfully. We take a long view of the writer’s life and the creative process, and we’ll share hacks and routines that will help you achieve a life of storytelling. We’ll discuss literary citizenry, creating community, how to turn off your inner critic, and other topics – all designed to help you forge a path toward the writer’s life and enable you to become part of something bigger.

Adrienne Brodeur is the author of the novel, Little Monsters, and memoir, Wild Game: My Mother, Her Lover and Me, which was described by The New York Times Book Review as: “Exquisite and harrowing. . . . The book is so gorgeously written and deeply insightful, and with a line of narrative tension that never slacks, from the first page to the last, that it’s one you’ll likely read in a single, delicious sitting.”

Published in October 2019 by HMH Books, Wild Game’s film rights were bought by Chernin Entertainment and is in development as a Netflix film with Nick Hornby attached to adapt and Deniz Gamze Ergüven, the director of Mustang, attached to direct.

Adrienne has spent the past two decades of her professional life in the literary world, discovering voices, cultivating talent, and working to amplify underrepresented writers. Her publishing career began with founding the fiction magazine, Zoetrope: All-Story, with filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola, where she served as editor in chief from 1996-2002. The magazine has won the prestigious National Magazine Award for best fiction four times. In 2005, she became an editor at Harcourt (later, HMH Books), where she acquired and edited literary fiction and memoir. Adrienne left publishing in 2013 to become Creative Director — and later Executive Director — of Aspen Words, a literary arts nonprofit and program of the Aspen Institute.


Patti Callahan Henry is a New York Times, EPCA, Globe and Mail, and USA Today bestselling author of sixteen novels, including her newest, The Secret Book of Flora Lea. She’s also a podcast host of original content for her novels, Surviving Savannah and Becoming Mrs. Lewis.

She is the recipient of The Christy Award “Book of the Year”; The Harper Lee Distinguished Writer of the Year and the Alabama Library Association Book of the Year for Becoming Mrs. Lewis. She is the co-host and co-creator of the popular weekly online Friends and Fiction live web show and podcast. Patti was also a contributor to the monthly life lesson essay column for Parade Magazine. She’s published in numerous anthologies, articles, and short story collections, including an Audible Original about Florence Nightingale, titled Wild Swan narrated by the Tony Award winner, Cynthia Erivo.

Funny On the Page – Comedy Writing in Fiction

with Adriana Trigiani


A workshop with a funny bone. Humor is one of the great tools we can engage when writing. Whether writing a novel, a non-fiction book, screenplay or television script, we will explore the techniques used to enliven your work with your sense of humor. The instructor will give provide a brief history of comedy in our culture since the advent of the television set, to give cultural context to the project you are working on. We will simulate a writer’s room, so you get a taste for how your favorite shows are created, and how the room of writers that bring the creator’s vision to life on the state work with one another to achieve their goal. You will come away from this workshop with a sense of where you fit in the craft of comedy creation, and how you can bring your personal style to the page. Or, you may be curious about process, these sessions will give you insight into how studios, artists, talent, designers, visionaries and agents create the orchestra that delivers a world of characters and their foibles to the world. In our workshop, comedy gets respect, and its rightful place in the creative process of storytelling. Our time together will expand your own sense of possibility and joy.


Adriana Trigiani is the bestselling author of 20 books in fiction and nonfiction, award-winning filmmaker, and host of the hit podcast, You Are What You Read. Published in 38 languages around the world, her novels include The Good Left Undone, The Shoemaker’s Wife and Lucia, Lucia among others. Her screen credits include writer/director of the major motion picture of her debut novel, Big Stone Gap, the adaptation of her novel Very Valentine and director of Then Came You.

Big Stone Gap, shot entirely on location in Adriana’s Virginia hometown starred Ashley Judd, Patrick Wilson, Whoopi Goldberg and more. The film was the #2 Romantic Comedy of 2015, and listed as a top-grossing women-directed film of that year. Then Came You, starring Craig Ferguson and Kathie Lee Gifford, debuted as the #1 Comedy in America in October 2020.

Narrative Stockholm Syndrome

with Joshua Mohr


Josh Mohr returns to the Kauai Writers Conference with a master class that will give you an entirely new way to look at your own writing. Like his previous sessions, this one promises to enliven your writing process in fundamental and unexpected ways.

The best stories present vibrant characters. We’re looking for the opportunity to experience a foreign consciousness. So how do we as creative writers bring these inner worlds of our protagonists to life for our readers to explore, to inhabit? Narrative Stockholm Syndrome is a technique to take full advantage of the incarceration that a reader experiences in a main character’s set of perceptions. This tactic is a fantastic way for authors to foster camaraderie, and ultimately empathy.

Joshua Mohr is the author of the novels “Termite Parade,” an Editors’ Choice on The New York Times Best Seller List, and “Some Things that Meant the World to Me,” one of O Magazine’s Top 10 reads of 2009 and a SF Chronicle best-seller. His most recent novel is “Damascus” about which the New York Times said:

“The author’s jaunty voice [is] Beat-poet cool…Mohr nails the atmosphere of a San Francisco still breathing in the smoke that lingers from the days of Jim Jones and Dan White, a time when passionate ideologies and personal dysfunction intermingled and combusted.”  — New York Times

Mohr teaches in the MFA program at the University of San Francisco and Stanford University’s creative writing program.

Lessons from Historical Fiction

Priya Parmar and Jane Green


This class is an exceptional opportunity both for writers of historical fiction to hone their craft, and for writers of other genres to apply the insights from historical fiction to bring verisimilitude to their own characters. It is designed for writers at all levels of accomplishment. Historical fiction presents unique challenges. It is neither biography nor pure fiction. Subjects’ lives must be meticulously researched, and the knowledge gained has to inspire rather than merely be reported upon. Achieving a distinctive voice for each character is nowhere more important than in historical fiction. Each must come alive on the page with authenticity, remaining always true to their personality. Priya and Jane will inspire their students with accounts of their fascination in immersing themselves in the lives of real people, and extrapolating narratives as plausible as if they were purely factual.

Historical fiction presents its own challenges of point of view, character development, and story arc. Priya and Jane deal with these issues in a unique way. You will learn not merely to imitate them, but to adapt the lessons they have learned to tell your story in the way that rings most true to you and your characters.


Priya Parmar’s novel, Vanessa and Her Sister was recently chosen as a New York Times Book Review ‘Editor’s Choice’ selection, an Entertainment Weekly ‘Must List’ pick, a People Magazine ‘Book of the Week’, and as an editor’s pick for: O Magazine, Oprah.com, Vanity Fair, Elle Magazine, New York Magazine, Christian Science Monitor, US Weekly and USA Today and Priya was chosen for the Barnes and Noble ‘Discover Great New Writers’ 2015 program. She is the author of one previous novel, Exit the Actress. Priya is also the co-author of the wildly successful musical Sylvia, which debuted last year at London’s Old Vic theater. Priya divides her time between Kauai and London.

Jane Green is the author of eighteen New York Times Bestsellers, with over ten million books in print. She is also “Dear Jane”, the advice columnist for the Daily Mail online, one of the biggest news websites in the world. Three of her books have been made into movies for the Lifetime network: Tempting Fate, To Have and to Hold, and Family Pictures.

Together with Helen Fielding of Bridget Jones’s Diary, she is known as one of the founders of a movement called “chick lit”, the literary equivalent of the “rom com”. Over the past twenty seven years she has moved on to write wise, warm, emotionally-resonant books about women navigating today’s complicated lives. A graduate of the International Culinary Center, Jane has written one  cookbook: Good Taste.

She is the Founder of Emerald Audio, a female-led podcast network producing original audio dramas for women, including Rainbow Girl, The Key of Love, and Bad Influencer, all available to stream for free wherever you listen to podcasts. A native Londoner, she lives in Westport, Connecticut with her long-suffering husband. When not there, you can usually find her in Marrakech.

Promoting & Marketing your Book (Afternoon)

with Sam Horn


There are more book titles for sale now than ever in history. The great majority of them sell very few copies. A strategic marketing and promotional plan is behind nearly all books that sell well. Sam Horn is one of the cleverest book marketers in the US. She has helped many hundreds of authors to design and implement campaigns that allowed their books to rise up out of the multitudes of others and achieve big sales volumes.

In this class, Sam will lead you to create a unique action plan based on your own life, your book and its audience. There is no one plan that fits everyone, but there is a plan that is ideally suited to you and your most likely readers. Sam will work with each participant to help them identify the specific elements of their book and its future readers that should be the basis of a successful program.

Whether you self-publish, work with a hybrid publisher, or go the traditional route with an agent and a major publisher, you will need to devote considerable time to marketing and promotion. How you go about this can make the difference between a book that sells a few hundred copies and one that sells a few hundred thousand copies. Moreover, devoting thought to this before publication can be instrumental in securing a deal with an agent and a publisher. There is no one more knowledgeable than Sam Horn to help you do this in the most time and cost effective way.


Sam Horn is the CEO of the Intrigue Agency. Her 3 TEDx talks and 9 books – including Tongue Fu!, POP!, Wash Post bestseller Got Your Attention, and SOMEDAY is Not a Day in the Week have been featured in New York Times, Forbes, Fast Company, Publishers Weekly, on NPR. 

Her speaking clients include Oracle, Intel, Cisco, Accenture, Fidelity, Nationwide, Ernst Young.  She’s been hired by Richard Branson’s New Now Leaders, TED Fellows, SXSW and NASA to coach their executives and project managers on media relations and public speaking. 

Sam was Pitch Coach for Springboard Enterprises, which has helped female entrepreneurs generate $26 billion in funding/valuation, and was Exec.Director of Maui Writers Conference (which Writers Digest called “The best writers conference in the world”) for 17 years.

Writing Modern Women’s Fiction

with Mary Kay Andrews


We are thrilled to offer this workshop with New York Times bestselling author and “Queen of the Beach Reads,” Mary Kay Andrews Sessions will include defining commercial women’s fiction, analyzing what editors are looking for and what works and doesn’t work. There will be nuts and bolts sessions involving character, setting, plot and theme. Mary Kay will talk about her own unique and much-loved brand of women’s fiction, which she describes as a mash-up of romance and mystery with humor thrown in.

Mary Kay Andrews is the New York Times bestselling author of 30 novels (including The HomewreckersThe Santa Suit; The Newcomer; Hello, SummerSunset Beach; The High Tide Club; The WeekendersBeach Town; Save the Date; Ladies’ Night; Christmas Bliss; Spring FeverSummer Rental; The Fixer Upper; Deep Dish; Blue Christmas; Savannah Breeze; Hissy Fit; Little Bitty Lies; and Savannah Blues), and one cookbook, The Beach House Cookbook.

A native of St. Petersburg, Florida, she earned a B.A. in journalism from The University of Georgia. After a 14-year career working as a reporter at newspapers including The Savannah Morning News, The Marietta Journal, and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, where she spent the final ten years of her career, she left journalism in 1991 to write fiction.

Her first novel, Every Crooked Nanny, was published in 1992 by HarperCollins. She went on to write ten critically acclaimed mysteries under her real name, Kathy Hogan Trocheck. In 2002, she assumed the pen name Mary Kay Andrews with the publication of Savannah Blues. In 2006, Hissy Fit became her first New York Times bestseller, followed by fifteen more New York TimesUSA Today and Publisher’s Weekly bestsellers. 

Making It New:
Writing in Hybrid Forms

with Elizabeth Rosner


Genre-blending isn’t exactly new—but hybrid forms seem more popular than ever. Let’s explore breaking some of the so-called rules separating one literary form from another. How can we borrow from and combine a variety of techniques and practices—poetry, journalism, science, visual arts? Why not experiment with your writing style and discover new territory?

For the past 25 years, Elizabeth Rosner has been writing acclaimed books that stretch across genre lines: blending prose with poetry, interweaving memoir with interdisciplinary research. In this inspiring hands-on master class, participants will be shown numerous strategies for developing new work and for transforming work already in progress. Ideal for writers who are currently engaged in a hybrid project or for those seeking extra guidance in leaping outside the box.


Elizabeth Rosner is the author of three novels, a poetry collection, and most recently, a book of creative nonfiction. Survivor Café: The Legacy of Trauma and the Labyrinth of Memory was a finalist for a National Jewish Book Award; interviews with Rosner were featured on National Public Radio and in the New York Times. Her prize-winning novels have been translated into ten languages; her essays and poems have appeared in Elle, the Forward, the NY Times Magazine, and numerous anthologies. She leads writing workshops internationally.


“In addition to being an accomplished novelist, memoirist, and poet, Liz has the extraordinary gift of ability to coax the authentic voice from each participant. In words and silences, in rhythms and pauses, in verbs and nouns each voice enters the hallowed space of committed listeners to sing its soul into the circle of comrades traveling the anguished path.  Whatever the background, an inviting arena of warmth and patience welcomes each participant.  Liz’s instruction alone is worth the time and cost, but the real bargain is her ability to generate that magnetic allure where each participant’s muse cannot resist emerging to be heard.”   — student testimonial

Creating a Sense of Place

with James Sturz


Have you ever felt about a book or a film that the location was as important as any of its characters? As a renowned travel writer turned novelist, James Sturz is especially qualified to teach us how, why and when to create a compelling sense of place. This involves far more than mere description of the location’s physical attributes. It can include unique occurrences that could have only happened there, the sounds and smells that tell you unmistakably where you are, the history that gave rise to the characters’ personalities even without their knowledge.

In this four-day master class, you will gain a profound understanding of how to bring a location, whether fictional or factual, to life. We believe this can be of fundamental importance to the success of works including novels, screenplays, memoirs, and non-fiction travel writing.

James Sturz’s life has been one adventure after another. He has lived what he will be teaching about.


James Sturz is both a travel writer and novelist. About his latest novel, Underjungle, Junot Díaz said: “Luminous, strange, thought-provoking and as profound as the seas, the pelagic brilliance of Underjungle cannot be overstated. This is the brilliant novel Prince Namor would have written had he had more poetry classes.”

Jean-Michel Cousteau said, “Underjungle is poetry, fantasy, love, war, mystery and philosophy. This book will make you think about the ocean in ways you haven’t before, and that might just make you want to protect it. I’ve dived with James, and I’m pleased to see that he has created this fascinating and complex story about the ocean and our deep connection to it.”
His background as a travel writer gave James a remarkable gift of bringing to life an array of unusual locations. He’s been a contributor to “Italy: The Best Travel Writing from The New York Times,” “Best Food Writing 2007,” and to more than 90 newspapers and magazines, including The Atlantic, The Wall Street Journal, Outside, National Geographic Adventure, Afar, Men’s Journal, The New Republic, New York Magazine, The New York Observer and Travel + Leisure. His many awards include Winner, Destination Canada Award for Excellence for Adventure Writing 2017, and honorable mention in “The Best American Sports Writing,” 2010 and 2012. He wrote a biweekly column for Coastal Living about building a house in Hawaii from 2015 to 2018. James’s fiction and journalism have been published in 18 countries and translated into nine languages. His first novel, Sasso, was set in the cave homes of Basilicata, Italy, far from the water.

Sunday, November 12th, 2023

Time Kauai Ballroom 2 Kauai Ballroom 1 Puna Ballroom
9:00 – 11:00

With tables hosted by participants with unique stories
Puna and Kauai Courts

11:00 – 12:30

A fun quick pitch competition
with Sam Horn

  Priya Parmar, Meg Wolitzer, Paula McLain
What’s holding you back and why?
Taking the leap into your best work
12:45-1:45 Kealoha
Poetry Workshop:
Melding big ideas into the fabric of everyday life
Joshua Mohr
Workshop: Finding & Honing Your Voice
Patsy Iwasaki
The creation of Hamakua Hero, a Hawaiian tragedy
1:55-2:55 Christopher Vogler
Charting Your Hero’s Journey: A Guide to Plotting and the Writing Life
Adriana Trigiani
Funny on the Page:
Infusing Humor Into your Prose
Ayesha Pande, Andy Ross, Sally Wofford-Girand, Stacey Glick
Surviving and thriving in today’s new publishing landscape
3:05-4:05 Stephanie Cabot,
Susan Golomb
How agents evaluate your work
Sam Horn
How to promote your work and yourself
4:15-5:00 Meg Wolitzer
Write what you know and love (or hate)
5:00-5:20 Closing Ceremony    


Saturday, November 11th, 2023

Time Kauai Ballroom 2 Kauai Ballroom 1 Puna Ballroom
7:30 – 9:00

Puna and Kauai Courts

9:00 – 10:00 John Grisham, Lee Child, Scott Turow (virtual presentation)
 The Art of the Elegant Thriller
Moderator: Kevin Larimer
10:05 – 11:05 Paula McLain, Priya Parmar,
Adrienne Brodeur, Patti Callahan Henry
The Art and Practice of Paying Attention
with individual breakout sessions
Jim Burke
(Production president, Focus Features)
How I look for the film potential in a book
James Sturz
Creating a Sense of Place in Fiction, Nonfiction, and Travel Journalism
11:10 – 12:05 Mary Kay Andrews
Writing modern women’s fiction
Laura Lentz
Turning Points: cast a profound and transformative spell on a story
Lisa Sharkey
Publishing in the Zeitgeist
12:15 – 2:15 – BEACH SIDE LUNCH –
Billy Collins reading and discussing his poetry
Under the tent at the Kalapaki Beach Luau Grounds
2:30 – 3:25 Nicholas Delbanco,
Kevin Larimer
Authenticity of Voice
Jim Burke,
Christopher Vogler
Telling Stories on the Screen
Joshua Mohr
Workshop: Plaracterization – The kiss between plot and character
3:35 – 4:25 Kealoha
Hawaii Poet Laureate
Building Upon a Poetic Inspiration
Elizabeth Rosner
Keys to Successful Revision
4:35 – 5:25 Jane Green, Christina Baker Kline
Rewrite, Revise, Repeat: Improving Your Stories with Each Draft
Adrienne Brodeur
with Priya Parmar
Workshop: Memoir
 The Story of Everything
Introduced and discussed by its creator
Hawaii Poet Laureate Kealoha


2023 Conference Schedule

Friday, November 10th, 2023

Time Kauai Ballroom 2 Kauai Ballroom 1 Puna Ballroom
7:30 – 9:00

Puna and Kauai Courts
(Registration table opens at 7:30 by Puna Ballroom)

Kumu Sabra Kauka
and her hula halau
9:30 – 10:30 Billy Collins
Adventures in Poetry
Introduced by Patti Callahan Henry
10:45 – 11:45 Adriana Trigiani, Meg Wolitzer,
Joshua Mohr
Sources of Inspiration
Moderated by Kevin Larimer
12:00 – 1:00 – LUNCH –
Puna and Kauai Courts
1:15 – 2:15 Angie Kim,
Susan Golomb
Point of view: who is telling the story
Priya Parmar
Openings and Closings.
Jean Kwok,
Christina Baker Kline
The Story Solution: Strengthening the Beats of Your Plot
2:30 – 3:30 Mary Kay Andrews, Jane Green
What is a Beach Read and How To Write One.
Paula McLain, Heidi Pitlor
Workshop: Creating and Maintaining Dramatic Tension
Linda Moore, Lyn Liao Butler,
Jodi Wright
KWC veterans share their paths to publishing success.
3:45-4:45 Angie Kim,
Christina Baker Kline
Show Me, Don’t Tell Me – How to Write Stories that Come Alive on the Page
Patti Callahan Henry, Jane Green
Workshop: Creating Characters that Readers Love
Nicholas Delbanco, Elena Delbanco
Lastingness: Writing that Endures
6:00 – 9:30 – LUAU –
Dinner followed by a performance by the Punua Family

Under the tent at the Kalapaki Beach Luau Grounds