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Class Catalog

Browse Summer and Fall Writing Classes!

Hugo House: Your best source for online writing classes in Seattle and around the world.

For more information on the schedule,  the various formats of our writing classes, and cancellation policies, check out our About page. Information about Scholarships can be found on its own new page. Or, go meet our talented instructors.

For help finding writing classes, or if you’ve registered for an online class but haven’t received a Zoom link, contact our registrar or call us at 206.322.7030.

All classes are in Pacific Time. Some summer writing classes may be held in person if stay-at-home directives are lifted and gatherings are again permitted. Remote (Zoom) access to all classes will continue, however, for anyone who cannot or prefers not to attend in person. If a class has (ZOOM) in the title, it will remain on Zoom regardless of stay-at-home directives.

If you would like to receive our quarterly catalogs in the mail, please contact us.


Fall Registration Dates

All registrations open at 10:30 am

$500+ Donor Registration (by phone only): August 17
Member Registration: August 18
General Registration: August 25


Early Bird Pricing August 17 through August 31:

  • $10 off classes that are one to three sessions
  • $20 off classes that are four to eight sessions
  • $30 off classes that are ten sessions or more

Early bird pricing will automatically apply at checkout. 

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Digging into the Details

This class will take place via video-conferencing (Zoom), Pacific Time. All Levels | This generative workshop will explore the power of detail and description in prose. We’ll consider the practices both on and off the page that help readers fully…

Course Type: 4 Sessions  |   Instructor: Liza Birnbaum

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Start Date: 08/10/2020 – 5:00 pm
This class is full

Liza Birnbaum

Liza Birnbaum's fiction and essays have appeared in Web Conjunctions, jubilat, Open Letters Monthly, and other publications. She is a founding editor of Big Big Wednesday, an annual print journal of literature and visual art, and has taught creative writing in a number of settings, most recently at an alternative school for young women who are pregnant or parenting. In 2019, she will be a funded resident at the Lillian E. Smith Center at Piedmont College. She holds an MFA from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

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Revision Strategies

This class will take place via video-conferencing (Zoom), Pacific Time. Introductory/Intermediate | Do you have a novel, short story, or essay that you’re looking to polish, but you don’t know where to begin? Do you have a story you’re convinced…

Course Type: 1 Session  |   Instructor: Alexandra Oliva

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Start Date: 08/15/2020 – 1:10 pm
3 seats available

Alexandra Oliva

Alexandra Oliva’s debut novel, The Last One (Ballantine, 2016), was selected as a Seattle Times Best Book of 2016 and has been translated into 25 languages. Originally from New York, she now lives on Seattle’s Eastside.

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First Aid for Your Fiction

This class will take place via video-conferencing (Zoom), Pacific Time. All Levels | This class will introduce the eight most common craft problems that fiction writers struggle with, including some that they rarely notice — among them, evasive protagonist syndrome,…

Course Type: 1 Session  |   Instructor: Peter Mountford

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Start Date: 08/15/2020 – 10:00 am
This class is full

Peter Mountford

Peter Mountford’s novel A Young Man’s Guide to Late Capitalism won a 2012 Washington State Book Award. His second novel, The Dismal Science, was published in February, 2014. A former Hugo House writer in residence, Peter is currently on faculty at Sierra Nevada College's low residency MFA program.

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Finding Your Story

This class will take place via video-conferencing (Zoom), Pacific Time. Introductory/Intermediate | Many writers experience a longing to write about their own lives but little idea of where to begin, of where to dig to unearth the stories you know…

Course Type: 1 Session  |   Instructor: Theo Nestor

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Start Date: 08/15/2020 – 1:10 pm
This class is full

Theo Nestor

Theo Pauline Nestor is the author of Writing Is My Drink: A Writer’s Story of Finding Her Voice (And a Guide to How You Can Too) (Simon & Schuster, 2013) and How to Sleep Alone in a King-Size Bed: A Memoir of Starting Over (Crown, 2008). Nestor has taught the memoir certificate course for the University of Washington’s Professional & Continuing Education program since 2006.

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How to Write a “Modern Love” Essay

This class will take place via video-conferencing (Zoom), Pacific Time. All Levels | The Modern Love column in the New York Times has been a reader favorite since its inception in 2004. In this class we will look at a…

Course Type: 1 Session  |   Instructor: Theo Nestor

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Start Date: 08/17/2020 – 5:00 pm
This class is full

Theo Nestor

Theo Pauline Nestor is the author of Writing Is My Drink: A Writer’s Story of Finding Her Voice (And a Guide to How You Can Too) (Simon & Schuster, 2013) and How to Sleep Alone in a King-Size Bed: A Memoir of Starting Over (Crown, 2008). Nestor has taught the memoir certificate course for the University of Washington’s Professional & Continuing Education program since 2006.

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A Community of Women

This class will take place via video-conferencing (Zoom), Pacific Time. All Levels | Imagine Boston in the 1960s: Elizabeth Bishop sitting in the audience as Anne Sexton performs “Woman with Girdle” accompanied by her underground band, Her Kind. Imagine Bishop…

Course Type: 1 Session  |   Instructor: Susan Rich

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Start Date: 08/22/2020 – 12:00 pm
This class is full

Susan Rich

Susan Rich is the author of four collections of poetry including Cloud Pharmacy, The Alchemist’s Kitchen, named a finalist for the Foreword Prize and the Washington State Book Award, Cures Include Travel, and The Cartographer’s Tongue, winner of the PEN USA Award for Poetry and the Peace Corps Writers Award. Along with Brian Turner and Jared Hawkley, she is editor of The Strangest of Theatres: Poets Writing Across Borders. She has received awards and fellowships from Artist Trust, CityArtists, 4Culture, The Times Literary Supplement of London, Peace Corps Writers and the Fulbright Foundation. Rich’s poems have appeared in the Harvard Review, New England Review, and the Southern Review.

She has worked as a staff person for Amnesty International, an electoral supervisor in Bosnia Herzegovina, and a human rights trainer in Gaza and the West Bank. Rich lived in the Republic of Niger, West Africa as a Peace Corps Volunteer, later moving to South Africa to teach at the University of Cape Town on a Fulbright Fellowship.

Rich’s international awards include the Times Literary Supplement Award, a residency at the Tyrone Guthrie Center in Ireland and a residency at Fundacion Valparaiso in Spain. Other poetry honors include an Artist Trust Fellowship, a 4 Culture Award, a Seattle CityArtist Project Award, a GAP Award, and participation in the Cuirt Literary Festival in Galway, Ireland.

Her poems have been published in the Antioch Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, Christian Science Monitor, Harvard Review, Gettysburg Review, New England Review, Northwest Review, Poetry International and The Southern Review. Anthologized poems and essays are included in Best Essays of the Northwest, Poets of the American West, Poem Home: An Anthology of Ars Poetica, I Go to the Ruined Place: Contemporary Poets in Defense of Human Rights, Poem Revised: 54 Poems, and The Working Poet: 75 Poetry Writing Exercises. Susan is an alumna of Hedgebrook, the Helen Whiteley Center and the Ucross Foundation. She serves on the boards of Crab Creek Review, Floating Bridge Press and Whit Press.

Educated at the University of Massachusetts, Harvard University, and the University of Oregon, Susan Rich lives in Seattle and teaches at Highline College where she runs the reading series, Highline Listens: Writers Read Their Work. She has two collections forthcoming: The Gallery of Postcards and Maps: New and Selected Poems (Salmon Press) and Blue Atlas (Red Hen Press).

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Heart and Soul

This class will take place via video-conferencing (Zoom), Pacific Time. All Levels | This three-hour seminar is for memoir/nonfiction writers who have a story to tell that has something to do with soul, spirit, religion, meditation, belief, lack of belief,…

Course Type: 1 Session  |   Instructor: Ann Hedreen

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Start Date: 08/22/2020 – 1:10 pm
3 seats available

Ann Hedreen

Ann Hedreen is an author (Her Beautiful Brain, winner of a Next Gen Indie Award), teacher and documentary filmmaker. Her blog, The Restless Nest earned an honorable mention from the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. She has also been published in 3rd Act Magazine, Crosscut, Verbalist’s Journal, The Seattle Times, Minerva Rising and other publications. Her films, including Zona Intangible, Quick Brown Fox: an Alzheimer’s Story and The Church on Dauphine Street, have won many awards. She recently finished a second memoir: After Ecstasy: Memoir of an Observant Doubter.

Teaching philosophy: I believe that writing our own stories transforms our lives. Powerfully. Radically. Not necessarily overnight, because writing is work, but I believe that when writers are doing that work, transformation begins to happen. I’ve seen it in older adults, writing seriously for the first time in their lives; I’ve seen it in teens under court supervision. I’ve seen it in myself. I believe everyone who wants to write can learn to write. I believe everyone has a story to tell. I also believe it’s easy to frighten a fledgling writer. When I teach, I do everything in my power to make sure that doesn’t happen. I want my students to discover that they really do have something to say and a voice, uniquely theirs, with which to say it.

Writer(s) I always return to: Anne Lamott. Gloria Steinem. The poetry of Rumi, Denise Levertov and Kathleen Flenniken (especially Plume). Two memoirs by famous novelists: Vladimir Nabokov’s Speak, Memory and Ernest Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast, and one by a poet: Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.

Favorite writing advice: From Brenda Uelland's Me: a Memoir: “Whenever people write from their true selves (not from their bogus literary selves) it is interesting and one is pulled along into it; and it does me good to read it, and it does them good to write it; it makes them freer and bolder in every way.”

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Generative Revision Intensive

This class will take place via video-conferencing (Zoom), Pacific Time. All Levels | Toni Morrison has said that “as a writer, a failure is just information,” and revision is recognition of past failure. In this class, we’ll study how to…

Course Type: 4 Sessions  |   Instructor: Bill Carty

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Start Date: 08/24/2020 – 1:10 pm

Bill Carty

Bill Carty has received fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center, Artist Trust, and Hugo House. He is the author of Huge Cloudy (forthcoming, Octopus Books). His poems have appeared in the Boston Review, Ploughshares, Iowa Review, and other journals.

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Creative Nonfiction I (ONLINE) Section I

This class will introduce you to the diverse styles of creative nonfiction, including memoir, personal essays, and lyric essays. Each week we will study craft elements such as scene, reflection, point of view, metaphor, and locating the heart of the…

Course Type: 6 Sessions  |   Instructor: Anne Liu Kellor

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Start Date: 09/08/2020
Registration for this class has not started.

Anne Liu Kellor

Anne Liu Kellor’s essays have appeared in Longreads, The New England Review, Entropy, Fourth Genre, Normal School, Vela Magazine, Literary Mama, The International Examiner, and more. She has been awarded grants and residencies from Seventh Wave, Hedgebrook, Jack Straw, 4Culture, and Hypatia-in-the-Woods. Her memoir, Heart Radical, is forthcoming in 2021.

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The Beauty & Peril of Friendship (ZOOM)

All Levels | As writers, we tend to focus on romance and family drama as subjects worthy of our work. What we often overlook are the intense friendships that we have over the course of our lives, friendships that can…

Course Type: 1 Session  |   Instructor: Steve Almond

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Start Date: 09/12/2020 – 12:00 pm
Registration for this class has not started.

Steve Almond

Steve Almond is the author of ten books of fiction and non-fiction, including the New York Times bestsellers Candyfreak and Against Football. His forthcoming book is William Stoner and the Battle for the Inner Life. Steve's short stories have appeared in the Best American Short Stories and Pushcart Prize anthologies. His essays have appeared in the New York Times Magazine and elsewhere. For many years, he hosted the Dear Sugars podcast with Cheryl Strayed.

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Creative Nonfiction II

This class will build on craft learned in Creative Nonfiction I with a focus on structure and form. The class is appropriate for those familiar with creative nonfiction and interested in shaping essays in a variety of ways. We will…

Course Type: 8 Sessions  |   Instructor: Gail Folkins

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Start Date: 09/14/2020 – 5:00 pm
Registration for this class has not started.

Gail Folkins

Gail Folkins often writes about her deep roots in the American West. She is the author of two creative nonfiction books from Texas Tech University Press: a Pacific Northwest memoir titled Light in the Trees (2016), and Texas Dance Halls: A Two-Step Circuit (2007), which was a popular culture finalist in ForeWord Review’s 2007 Book of the Year Awards. Folkins’ essay “A Palouse Horse” was a Notable Essay in The Best American Essays 2010. Her essays and poetry have appeared in publications such as River Teeth Journal - Beautiful Things, North Dakota Quarterly, Wisconsin Life, Texas Highways, and Wildflower Magazine. She has taught at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, St. Edward’s University (Austin), and Austin Community College.

Teaching philosophy: My goal is to further understanding of craft while also encouraging expression of students’ unique voices. Students have praised my workshop format and student-centered approach. Students learn to not only share a narrative, but to also explore their experiences and discoveries. I encourage students to read as writers, meaning focusing on elements of craft in addition to literary themes.

Writers I return to: Edward Abbey, Julia Alvarez, Margaret Atwood, Kim Barnes, Rick Bass, Dennis Covington, Louise Erdrich, Ernest Hemingway, Pico Iyer, and Jhumpa Lahiri.

Favorite writing advice: Find the extraordinary in the everyday.

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The Words to Say It: Reading & Writing Poems about Illness, Trauma & Healing (ZOOM) Section I

All Levels | The body is the repository for experiences of illness and trauma, but often we can’t find the words to communicate our realities to ourselves or others. By focusing on our bodily sensations, thoughts, and experiences, and using…

Course Type: 6 Sessions  |   Instructor: Suzanne Edison

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Start Date: 09/14/2020 – 5:00 pm
Registration for this class has not started.

Suzanne Edison

Suzanne Edison, MA, MFA is a poet, educator and former therapist. She has led workshops for parents and medical professionals on the effects of chronic illness on families at Seattle Children’s Hospital (SCH), NIH, and at national conferences for the Cure JM Foundation. She created a writing group for parents of kids with chronic illness at SCH, and the workshop “Teens Writing from the Heart of Illness & Healing” at Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Lesley University in Cambridge, MA. Her recent chapbook, The Body Lives Its Undoing, was published in 2018 by The Benaroya Research Institute. It is an exploration in poetry and visual art about autoimmune diseases based on interviews with researchers, doctors, patients and caregivers.

Suzanne is the recipient of grants from Artist Trust, 4Culture of King County, Seattle Office of Arts and Culture and will be a Hedgebrook fellow in Fall of 2019.

Some of Suzanne’s work can be found in her first chapbook, The Moth Eaten World, and in the following journals and anthologies: Michigan Quarterly Review; Naugatuck River Review; JAMA; CMAJ; The Healing Art of Writing, Vol. I; The Examined Life Journal; Face to Face: Women Writers on Faith, Mysticism and Awakening. Her work can be read online in various other journals and on her website. www.seedison.com

Writers I Return To: Louise Gluck, Wislawa Szymborska, Rachel Zucker, Seamus Heaney, Galway Kinnell

Favorite Writing Advice: Read, write, read, write

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Pop Songwriting

All Levels | While all music can resonate with listeners, for most people, pop music seems to be the go-to genre. But what is pop music? Isn’t “pop” just a short name for popular? How can that be defined? How…

Course Type: 8 Sessions  |   Instructor: Sassy Black

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Start Date: 09/15/2020 – 5:00 pm
Registration for this class has not started.

Sassy Black

A graduate of Cornish College of the Arts, SassyBlack, who first started performing in clubs at 18, hit the public consciousness in 2008 with her hip-hop duo, THEESatisfaction, releasing two records on Sub Pop. Since, she has fostered a solo career, writing and producing all of her music and releasing 11 projects since 2015. With melodies often compared to Herbie Hancock and a voice often compared to Sarah Vaughan, Black has received acclaim from myriad publications, including Pitchfork, Noisey, Afropunk, SPIN, and Essence.

With the gravity of a celestial body the gods themselves would fawn over, the artist will release her next record, Ancient Mahogany Gold, fall of 2019. Black, who has shared stages with performers like Princess Nokia and Charles Bradley, has played popular summer festivals like Capitol Hill Block Party and SXSW. And along with her music, which has been featured on the Adult Swim compilation, LUXE, her acting prowess has been featured on the HBO series, Vinyl, and Comedy Central’s Broad City. In short, she’s a modern day creative oracle.

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Foundations of Poetry

All Levels | How do we make a poem more powerful without sacrificing its heart? By taking control of our choices! Each week we’ll dismantle a poem’s engine to find the intention in line breaks, word choice, stanza shape, “the…

Course Type: 10 Sessions  |   Instructor: Sara Brickman

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Start Date: 09/15/2020 – 5:00 pm
Registration for this class has not started.

Sara Brickman

Sara Brickman is a queer Jewish author, performer, and community organizer from Ann Arbor, MI. The winner of the Split This Rock Poetry Prize, Sara has received grants and scholarships from the Lambda Literary Foundation, The Yiddish Book Center, Seattle’s Office of Arts and Culture, and more. She is a BOAAT Writers Fellow and the recipient of the Ken Warfel Fellowship for Poetry in Community. Sara’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in Adriot, BOAAT, The Indiana Review, Muzzle Magazine, and the anthologies The Dead Animal Handbook and Courage: Daring Poems for Gutsy Girls. A nationally renowned performer, she has collaborated with musicians Mary Lambert, Hollis Wong-Wear, and Led To Sea. Sara received her MFA from the University of Virginia, where she taught poetry and rhetoric, and currently teaches with Writers-in-the-Schools and other community arts organizations. She lives in Seattle with her partner and her cat Latke.

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Yearlong in Fiction & Nonfiction

In weekly meetings over the course of the 2020-2021 academic year, yearlong classes provide dedicated writers with an intensive path toward finishing a draft of a book. Whether you are early in the writing process or already have a rough…

Course Type: 30 sessions  |   Instructor: Peter Mountford

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Start Date: 09/15/2020 – 7:10 pm
Registration for this class has not started.

Peter Mountford

Peter Mountford’s novel A Young Man’s Guide to Late Capitalism won a 2012 Washington State Book Award. His second novel, The Dismal Science, was published in February, 2014. A former Hugo House writer in residence, Peter is currently on faculty at Sierra Nevada College's low residency MFA program.

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