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Class Catalog

Browse Spring & Summer Classes!

Hugo House: Your best source for writing classes in Seattle.

For more information on the schedule, scholarships, the various formats of our writing classes, and cancellation policies, check out our About page. Or, go meet our talented instructors.

For help finding 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 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.


Summer Registration Dates

All registrations open at 10:30 am

$500+ Donor Registration (by phone only): May 18
Member Registration: May 19
General Registration: May 26


Early Bird Pricing May 18 through June 1:

  • $10 off one-session classes
  • $20 off classes that are two to six sessions
  • $35 off classes that are eight sessions or more

Early bird pricing will automatically apply at checkout. 

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Online Class | We, You & I: Experimenting with Points of View

This class will take place via video-conferencing (Zoom), Pacific Time. All Levels | First-person plural novels give voice to the previously invisible, compelling writers to offer their own version of identity beyond a perceived and privileged mainstream. But what makes…

Course Type: 2 Sessions  |   Instructor: Piper Lane

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Start Date: 06/04/2020 – 5:00 pm

Piper Lane

Piper Lane holds an MFA from the University of Washington and an MA from Ohio University. She coordinated the reading series Castalia, cofounded the Black Jaw Lit Series, and served as prose editor for the Seattle Review. She teaches creative writing at UW. She won UW’s Eugene Van Buren award for fiction and Ohio University’s LitFest Nonfiction essay contest.

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Online Class | Voyages of Discovery: Research-Based Creative Writing

All Levels | What are the ways creative writers use and respond to research? How can we become investigators and anthropologists venturing into the fields of our topics? This course is for writers at any level, any genre interested in…

Course Type: 4 Sessions  |   Instructor: Caitlin Scarano

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Start Date: 06/14/2020
This class is full

Caitlin Scarano

Caitlin Scarano is a poet based in Washington state. She is a PhD candidate in English/Creative Writing at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She was recently selected as a participant in the National Science Foundation's Antarctic Artists & Writers Program, and deployed to McMurdo Station in Antarctica in Fall 2018. Her debut collection of poems, Do Not Bring Him Water, was released in Fall 2017 by Write Bloody Publishing. Caitlin has an MA in College Student Personnel from Bowling Green State University and an MFA in Poetry from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. She has two poetry chapbooks: The White Dog Year (dancing girl press, 2015) and The Salt and Shadow Coiled (Zoo Cake Press, 2015). Her recent work can be found in Granta, Crazyhorse, and Ninth Letter.

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Writing the Op-Ed

This class will take place via video-conferencing (Zoom), Pacific Time. All Levels | The Seattle Times accepts brief letters for their op-ed page. At 650 words, an opinion piece requires more work than a letter, but stretches your influence much…

Course Type: 1 Session  |   Instructor: Kathleen Alcala

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Start Date: 06/14/2020 – 1:10 pm
This class is full

Kathleen Alcala

Kathleen Alcalá is the author of a short story collection, three novels set in 19th Century Mexico and the Southwest, and a collection of essays based on family history. Her work has received the Western States Book Award, the Governor’s Writers Award, and a Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Book Award. She received her second Artist Trust Fellowship in 2008, and was honored by the national Latino writers group, Con Tinta, at the Associated Writing Programs Conference in 2014. She has been designated an Island Treasure in the Arts on Bainbridge Island.

Kathleen's latest book is The Deepest Roots: Finding Food and Community on a Pacific Northwest Island, by the University of Washington Press. In it, she explores our relationship with food and the land through research and numerous interviews with the people who bring us our food on Bainbridge Island.

Kathleen has a B.A. in Linguistics from Stanford University, an M.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Washington, and a Master of Fine Arts from the University of New Orleans. Kathleen has a great affinity for the story-telling techniques of magic realism and science fiction, and has been both a student and instructor in the Clarion West Science Fiction Workshop.

Kathleen was a faculty member at the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts on Whidbey Island until it closed in 2016. She still lectures and gives readings and workshops in creative writing.

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Online Class | Mastering the Scene

All Levels | How do scenes work, and what do they accomplish? Through writing exercises and readings by published writers, we’ll explore how scenes develop characters, seed tension, establish place and time, facilitate flashbacks, soften research, and build deeper themes…

Course Type: 8 Sessions  |   Instructor: Katherine E. Standefer

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Start Date: 06/14/2020
This class is full

Katherine E. Standefer

Katherine E. Standefer's debut book, Lightning Flowers, is forthcoming from Little, Brown in early 2020 and was shortlisted for the 2018 J. Anthony Lukas Works-in-Progress Prize from Columbia Graduate School of Journalism and the Nieman Foundation at Harvard. Her writing won the 2015 Iowa Review Award in Nonfiction, appears in The Best American Essays 2016, and was selected as Notable in Best American Essays 2017. She writes about the body, consent, and medical technology from Tucson, where she earned her MFA in Creative Nonfiction at the University of Arizona in 2014. Her writing appears in the anthologies Beautiful Flesh: A Body of Essays and How We Speak To One Another: An Essay Daily Reader, as well as many literary journals, including The New England Review, The Normal School, The Iowa Review, Fourth Genre,
and the Colorado Review. She is a Fall 2018 Logan Nonfiction Fellow at the Carey Institute for Global Good in Rensselaerville, New York, which supports deeply reported nonfiction about the most pressing issues of our day, and a Fall 2018 resident at Jentel Arts in Banner, Wyoming. She was previously a Fall 2017 Marion Weber Healing Arts Fellow at The Mesa Refuge in Point Reyes, California, which supports writers working at the intersection of nature, human economy, and equity. She teaches creative writing and medical humanities at the University of Arizona. As a creative arts entrepreneur, she teaches community-level writing classes that help people write about sexuality, illness, and trauma, using a unique embodied pedagogy that considers the craft challenges, physiological hurdles and social barriers to telling stories of the body. A Certified Sexologist, she has provided sexuality education to more than 8,000 people and draws on more than 30 hours of trauma sensitivity training. She is Nonfiction Faculty at Ashland University's Low-Residency MFA program. www.katherinestandefer.com

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Creative Storytelling through Songwriting

This class will take place via video-conferencing (Zoom), Pacific Time. All Levels | Not so different from a poem or short narrative, songwriting is simply storytelling with a musical backdrop. Songs share intimate tales of heartbreak, joy, rage, triumph, and…

Course Type: 6 Sessions  |   Instructor: Sassy Black

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Start Date: 06/15/2020 – 5:00 pm

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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Launch Your Longform Journalism Project

This class will take place via video-conferencing (Zoom), Pacific Time. Introductory/Intermediate | Great long-form journalism is critical to our understanding of the world. But how do we make important tales riveting? How do we transform the facts into stories with…

Course Type: 2 Sessions  |   Instructor: Elisabeth Eaves

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Start Date: 06/15/2020 – 7:10 pm
5 seats available

Elisabeth Eaves

Elisabeth Eaves is the author of Wanderlust: A love affair with five continents and Bare: the naked truth about stripping. Her work has been anthologized in This is the Place (2017), The Best Women’s Travel Writing (2010), Lonely Planet’s A Moveable Feast (2010), and The Best American Travel Writing (2009). She has won three Lowell Thomas awards from the Society of American Travel Writers. A contributing editor at the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, her feature writing has appeared in The New Yorker online, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Foreign Policy, Forbes, Marie Claire, Slate, and many other publications.

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Cross-Pollinating: Poetry and Prose

This class will take place via video-conferencing (Zoom), Pacific Time. All Levels | Exploring where poetry and prose can boldly intersect and enliven one another in unexpected ways, we will look at examples and write our own prose poems, haibun,…

Course Type: 6 Sessions  |   Instructor: Sierra Nelson

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Start Date: 06/16/2020 – 7:10 pm
This class is full

Sierra Nelson

Sierra Nelson is a poet, performer, and installation artist. Her books include forthcoming poetry collection The Lachrymose Report (Poetry Northwest Editions), lyrical choose-your-own-adventure I Take Back the Sponge Cake (Rose Metal Press), and chapbook In Case of Loss (Toadlily). Earning her MFA in Poetry from University of Washington (2002), Nelson is a MacDowell Colony Fellow, Carolyn Kizer Prize winner, Pushcart Prize nominee, and winner of the Carolyn Kizer Prize and Seattle Office of Arts & Culture's CityArtist Grant. She is also co-founder of literary performance groups The Typing Explosion and Vis-à-Vis Society, and president of Seattle's Cephalopod Appreciation Society. For more info: songsforsquid.tumblr.com

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The Long Game: Foundations of Creative Practice

This class will take place via video-conferencing (Zoom), Pacific Time. All Levels | A generative intensive establishes the foundations for a consistent creative practice. From making a commitment to your writer self to forming a creative habit, this course focuses…

Course Type: 8 Sessions  |   Instructor: Amber Flame

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Start Date: 06/16/2020 – 5:00 pm
4 seats available

Amber Flame

Amber Flame is a writer, composer, and performer whose work has garnered residencies with Hedgebrook, The Watering Hole, Vermont Studio Center, and YEFE NOF. Flame’s original work has been published in diverse arenas, including Def Jam Poetry, Winter Tangerine, The Dialogist, Split This Rock, Black Heart Magazine, Sundress Publications, FreezeRay, Redivider Journal, and more. A 2016 Pushcart Prize nominee, Jack Straw Writer, and recipient of the CityArtist grant from Seattle’s Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs, Amber Flame’s first full-length poetry collection, Ordinary Cruelty, was recently published through Write Bloody Press. Amber Flame is a queer Black single mama just one magic trick away from growing her unicorn horn.

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R Words: Poetry and Performance for Social Change

This class will take place via video-conferencing (Zoom), Pacific Time. All Levels | Nina Simone says it’s the role of the artist to show us what is, and Octavia Butler teaches us that the writer can use their words to…

Course Type: 8 Sessions  |   Instructor: Nikkita Oliver

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Start Date: 06/17/2020 – 7:00 pm
4 seats available

Nikkita Oliver

Nikkita Oliver is a Seattle-based creative, community organizer, abolitionist, educator, and attorney. Working at the intersections of arts, law, education, and community organizing, she strives to create experiences which draw us closer to our humanity. Her work asks us to engage what we see happening now and to imagine what we hope to see in the future.

As a poet, musician, and teaching artist she aims to cultivate spaces where community can explore our creative gifts and discover our personal and collective power to build the world we most need to see. Nikkita is also a case manager for Creative Justice; a community arts project aimed at transforming the criminal legal system and providing space for young people to be self-empowered and self-determined.

She is the cocreator with Nikki Etienne and Dj Rise of the Ringside & the Revolutionary Poets quarterly poetry slam & artist showcase. She has opened for Cornel West and Chuck D of Public Enemy, performed on The Late Night Show with Stephen Colbert, and featured on the Breakfast Club and KUOW’s Week in Review.

Her writing and poetry has been published in the Moss, South Seattle Emerald, Crosscut, the Establishment, Last Real Indians, the Seattle Weekly, and The Stranger. And she self-published her first collection of poetry, pebbles in my shoes, in December 2017.

She organizes with No New Youth Jail and the Seattle Peoples Party. Nikkita was the first political candidate of the Seattle Peoples Party running for Mayor of Seattle in 2017. The Nikkita Oliver for Mayor campaign narrowly missed the general election by approximately 1,100 votes; coming in third of 21 candidates. The campaign was declared third-party and accepted no corporate donations. With over 1,000 the volunteers they knocked on 22,000 doors, raised $130,000 and changed the political landscape of Seattle politics.

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Experiments in Story

This class will take place via video-conferencing (Zoom), Pacific Time. All Levels | In a crazy era, we need crazy stories, and that’s what this class is for: creating stories that rely less upon the trinity of Plot, Conflict, and…

Course Type: 4 Sessions  |   Instructor: Ramon Isao

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Start Date: 06/17/2020 – 5:00 pm
This class is full

Ramon Isao

Ramon Isao is a recipient of the Tim McGinnis Award for fiction, and his work has appeared in the Iowa Review, American Reader, Ninth Letter, and Hobart. His screenplays include ZMD, Junk, and Dead Body.

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Reading & Writing Alongside Annie Dillard

This class will take place via video-conferencing (Zoom), Pacific Time. All Levels | “Why are we reading, if not in hope of beauty laid bare, life heightened and its deepest mystery probed?” writes Annie Dillard. In this course, we’ll use…

Course Type: 4 Sessions  |   Instructor: Liza Birnbaum

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Start Date: 06/18/2020 – 5:00 pm

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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Online Class | Invented Forms

All Levels | As we emerge from an experience we’ve never known, we’re interested in invention — the re-creation of the world from our imagined worlds. In this four-session series, we’ll use masterful models of essays to practice creating a…

Course Type: 4 Sessions  |   Instructor: Sonya Lea

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Start Date: 06/18/2020

Sonya Lea

Sonya Lea’s memoir, Wondering Who You Are has won awards and garnered praise in a number of publications including Oprah Magazine, People, and the BBC, who named it a “top ten book.” Her essays have appeared in Salon, The Southern Review, Brevity, Guernica, Cold Mountain Review, The Prentice Hall College Reader, The Rumpus and The Butter. Lea teaches at Hugo House in Seattle, and she’s leading a pilot project to teach writing to women veterans through the Red Badge Project. Originally from Kentucky, she lives in Seattle. Find her at www.wonderingwhoyouare.com.

Teaching philosophy: My superpower is my transparency—the sensual, subversive style of my writing that allows my whole self to be seen, even the ugly parts. I create a beautiful space for bravery to emerge. I don’t just teach writing—I write nearly every day. I have a disciplined creative life, and I want to show writers how to design one too.
My writing and teaching is informed by these things:

1. The exploration of identity, memory and time.
2. The form of the story follows its themes.
3. Successful prose writing includes having an understanding of one’s mind. Things like the role of intuition, obsession, disclosure, emotional risk-taking, and the inter-weaving of seemingly disparate elements play a part in creating transparency, and ultimately freedom.
4. The truths we write about are subjective and personal. From them we create a world that may be contrary to what external authority tells us is good for us.
5. The process of writing shows us how we each might wake up to who we are.

Writers I always return to: Margaret Atwood, Lidia Yuknavitch, Susan Orlean.

Reviews for Wondering Who You Are:
"...a memoir as addictive as a thriller...An admirable and heartening story about love, the resilience of marriage and what 'in sickness and in health' really means." Oprah.com

"Her stunning account of his recovery efforts and her willful refusal to give up on marriage to the stranger occupying her husband’s body is fantastically heartfelt and inspiring." Booklist (Starred Review)

"I was carried forward by the linguistic ferocity of a self-proclaimed badass, but also by great empathy for the husband whose medical tragedy lies at the heart of this story..." Chicago Tribune

"a quietly wrenching memoir that’s as much about what makes any of us who we are as it is about Lea’s own story." Minneapolis Star-Tribune

"With poetic prose and remarkable candor, Lea shares the details of helping her husband regain a sense of purpose...and her own difficult transition." Seattle Magazine

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Online Class | Memoir Intensive

This class will take place via video-conferencing (Zoom), Pacific Time. All Levels | Spend three days diving into the memoir. The intensive will include lecture, discussion, writing prompts, brainstorming activities designed to get to the heart of your work as…

Course Type: 3 Sessions  |   Instructor: Theo Nestor

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Start Date: 06/19/2020 – 10:00 am
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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Irreverent Joy and the Poetics of Resistance: A Generative Workshop (ZOOM)

This class will take place via video-conferencing (Zoom), Pacific Time. All Levels | In difficult times we turn to poetry. Yet the writing of poems doesn’t have to be somber or serious. How can we cultivate a sense of joy,…

Course Type: 6 Sessions  |   Instructor: Kendra DeColo

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Start Date: 06/20/2020 – 1:10 pm

Kendra DeColo

Kendra DeColo is the author of I am Not Trying to Hide My Hungers from the World (BOA Editions, 2021), My Dinner with Ron Jeremy (Third Man Books, 2016) and Thieves in the Afterlife (Saturnalia Books, 2014), selected by Yusef Komunyakaa for the 2013 Saturnalia Books Poetry Prize. She is a recipient of a 2019 Poetry Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and has received awards and fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Millay Colony, Split this Rock, and the Tennessee Arts Commission. Her poems and essays have appeared in American Poetry Review, Tin House Magazine, Waxwing, Los Angeles Review, Bitch Magazine, VIDA, and elsewhere. She is co-host of the podcast RE/VERB: A Third Man Books Production and she lives in Nashville, Tennessee.

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The Art of Experience

This class will take place via video-conferencing (Zoom), Pacific Time. All Levels | Great travel writing, feature writing, personal essay, and memoir engages the reader in a writer’s keenly observed experience. But how, in an age of distraction, do you…

Course Type: 1 Session  |   Instructor: Kim Brown Seely

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Start Date: 06/20/2020 – 1:10 pm
This class is full

Kim Brown Seely

Kim Brown Seely’s debut memoir, Uncharted (Sasquatch Books / Penguin Random House 2019), was recently named one of the “best retirement books of 2019” by the Wall Street Journal, although Seely is nowhere near retiring. Winner of the 2016 Lowell Thomas Journalist of the Year Award and the Lowell Thomas Award in Environmental Journalism, she worked for many years as senior editor at Travel & Leisure magazine, contributing editor at National Geographic Adventure, and travel editor at Microsoft. She is a contributing writer for Virtuoso Life magazine, where she has won nearly a dozen awards for her work. She serves on the board of Copper Canyon Press and divides her time between Bellevue, WA and Hailey, Idaho.

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