International Literary & Arts Retreat in Sardinia

October 15-25, 2016  |  APPLY NOW!

Faculty: Kazim Ali, Duriel Harris, & Achy Obejas

Join Drunken Boat for a 10-day program bringing writers and artists from around the world together with Sardinian writers and artists for a generative and collaborative retreat. The program will culminate in the annual celebration of Grazia Deledda, winner the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1926. Work generated during the residency will be considered for publication in a special Drunken Boat feature.

The program offers:

  • Lectures by Drunken Boat faculty on poetry, translation, editing, and publishing
  • The opportunity to meet one-on-one with faculty to discuss your work
  • Discussions with editors from Drunken Boat, Obsidian, FIELD, and Nightboat Books
  • Lectures on Sardinian history, art, and culture
  • The opportunity to collaborate with Sardinian artists and writers
  • Excursions in Sardinia including to Orgosolo, Mamoida, and Galtelli
  • ​Excursions to Sardinian concerts, plays, and the Grazia Deledda celebration
  • Social events with local Sardinian artists and writers
  • Lots of working time
  • ...and more!

Our faculty and invited artists are among the top in their genres, many with several areas of expertise including translation, performance, and publishing. Participants have the opportunity to work closely one-on-one with faculty and collaborate with other participants and the Sardinian delegation of artists and writers. Participants spend significant time together throughout the retreat.

The schedule is balanced between scheduled group excursions and faculty lectures and unscheduled time when participants can collaborate or work alone on new or ongoing projects, explore the richness of the Sardinian landscape, or meet with faculty. While there will be these community activities, participants are encouraged to spend their time as they wish so they can experience an inspiring and generative retreat.

The retreat is open to writers and artists of any age and at any stage in their career or practice. 

To get an idea about the experience of the retreat, we invite you to look at the preliminary 2016 schedule (subject to change). 


Kazim Ali

​Kazim Ali is a poet, essayist, fiction writer and translator.

His books include several volumes of poetry, including Sky Ward (Wesleyan University Press, 2013),winner of the Ohioana Book Award in Poetry, The Far Mosque, winner of Alice James Books' New England/New York Award, The Fortieth Day (BOA Editions, 2008), and the cross-genre text Bright Felon: Autobiography and Cities (Wesleyan University Press, 2009). He has also published a translation of Water's Footfall by Sohrab Sepehri (Omnidawn Press, 2011), Oasis of Now: Selected Poems by Sohrab Sepehri (BOA Editions, 2013) and (with Libby Murphy) L'amour by Marguerite Duras (Open Letter Books, 2013). His novels include Quinn's Passage (blazeVox books), named one of "The Best Books of 2005" by Chronogram magazine and The Disappearance of Seth (Etruscan Press, 2009), and his books of essays include Orange Alert: Essays on Poetry, Art and the Architecture of Silence (University of Michigan Press, 2010), Fasting for Ramadan (Tupelo Press, 2011). 

In addition to co-editing Jean Valentine: This-World Company (University of Michigan Press, 2012), he is a contributing editor for AWP Writers Chronicle and associate editor of the literary magazine FIELD and founding editor of the small press Nightboat Books. He is the series co-editor for both Poets on Poetry and Under Discussion, from the University of Michigan Press.

He is an associate professor of Creative Writing and Comparative Literature at Oberlin College.

Duriel Harris

Co-founder of Call & Response—a dynamic of Black women & performance—and the avant-garde poetry/performance trio the Black Took Collective (BTC), Duriel E. Harris is author of three poetry collections including the 2015 Nightboat Poetry Prize winning volume No Dictionary of a Living Tongue (forthcoming, 2017).

A MacDowell and Millay Colony fellow, Harris has received grants from the Illinois Arts Council, the Cave Canem Foundation, and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.

Recent appearances include performances at the Chicago Jazz Festival (with Douglas Ewart & Inventions creative music ensemble), The Foundry Theater (Antioch College), Links Hall (Chicago), Dixon Place (NYC), and the Wild Project (NYC).

Current undertakings include the conceptual work “Blood Labyrinth” and the solo performance project :Thingification:. Selections from Thingification have been featured at the Fresh Fruit Festival, the Art Institute of Chicago, the University of Ghana-Legon, Kwara State University (Nigeria), the Corner Playhouse (U Missouri), and Babylon Cinema (Berlin).

Editor of Obsidian: Literature & Arts in the African Diaspora, Harris is an associate professor of English in the Graduate Creative Writing Program at Illinois State University.

Achy Obejas

Achy Obejas is the author of the critically acclaimed novels Ruins, Days of Awe, and three other books of fiction. Her poetry chapbook, This is What Happened in Our Other Life, was both a critical favorite and a best-seller.

She edited and translated, into English, Havana Noir, a collection of crime stories by Cuban writers on and off the island. Her translation, into Spanish, of Junot Díaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao / La Breve y Maravillosa Vida de Óscar Wao was a finalist for Spain’s Esther Benítez Translation Prize from the national translator’s association. Her most recent translation, Papi by Rita Indiana, is forthcoming in 2016. In 2014, she was awarded a USA Ford Fellowship for her writing and translation.

She is a founding member of the Creative Writing faculty at the University of Chicago, a member of the Editorial Board of In These Times and the editorial advisory board of the Great Books Foundation, and currently serves as the Distinguished Visiting Writer at Mills College in Oakland, Calif., where she lives with her wife, Megan Bayles, and their son Ilan.

In summer 2016, Mills will debut its low-residency MFA in translation, a program conceived by Achy, which she will co-direct. For more information, go to or write

Cost & Deadlines

The Drunken Boat Retreat in Sardinia program fee is $1,500. Several partial scholarships of $1000 are available. 

In addition to access to faculty and the Sardinian delegation, the fee includes admittance to all of the program events including concerts, lectures, performances, and most excursions. 

The program fee does not include airfare or accommodation, though there are some accommodation-inclusive scholarships available. Some meals will be included as part of the excursions and events, but participants are expected to make their own arrangements otherwise.

There is no deadline to apply to the program, and spaces may become available at any time. But participants are encouraged to apply early in order to secure a spot and be eligible for scholarships, which are awarded by July 15. 

A $100 deposit is required with the application. Deposit and all payments to Drunken Boat are fully refundable in the event that you are not admitted to the retreat, the program is canceled, or you withdraw by the withdrawal deadline of August 15, 2016. 

  • July 15, 2016: Scholarship deadline
  • August 15, 2016: Second payment of $300 due, withdrawal deadline
  • September 15, 2016: Final payment due

Accommodations & Transportation

Drunken Boat will offer some participants accommodation-inclusive scholarships on an availability basis. Housing will be arranged by Drunken Boat based on availability between our host's house and a nearby hotel. Roommate preferences can be indicated on the application form, and will be arranged through us once accepted to the retreat.

We have arranged significantly discounted hotel rooms at the nearby Hotel Biderrosa (~$70/night for a double, including breakfast). For more information, email

Participants who fly into the Olbia airport can be collected at no additional charge. Flying into the other airports (Cagliari and Alghero) will require extra arrangement and cost for transportation to the retreat.