Class Catalog

Browse Spring Classes!

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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.

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Registration Dates

All registrations open at 10:30 am

$500+ donor Registration: March 5
Member Registration: March 6
General Registration: March 13


New! Early Bird Pricing March 5 through March 19:

  • $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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Retreat in the City

All Levels | Can’t make it to the wild? Tired of competitive retreat centers? How about designing your own writing retreat in the city? Disconnect from social media, family responsibilities, and anything else that keeps you from your writing in…

Course Type: 2 Sessions  |   Instructor: Sonya Lea

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Start Date: 02/24/2018 – 9:00 AM

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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The Mechanics of Comics and Graphic Novels

Introductory | We’ll look at examples from masters of comics and cartoons while exploring different aspects of the medium through a variety of exercises and assignments. Each student will generate multiple short pieces from which we’ll assemble a photocopied class…

Course Type: 6 Sessions  |   Instructor: David Lasky, Greg Stump

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Start Date: 02/24/2018 – 1:00 PM

David Lasky, Greg Stump

David Lasky has been a published comics artist since 1989. His earliest success was a nine page mini-adaptation of James Joyce’s Ulysses (self-published), which was reviewed in the Washington Post’s “Bookworld” section in 1992. In the 90’s he became known for the solo comic Boom Boom, and then collaborated with Greg Stump on the Harvey-nominated Urban Hipster. His stories have appeared in countless anthologies over the years, including Kramers Ergot and Best American Comics. He has been an integral part of the Seattle comics scene, working at Fantagraphics in the late 90’s, volunteering at ZAPP, being a part of cartoonists groups such as Friends of the Nib, and contributing to The Intruder. David was also an early contributor to The Stranger, and as a freelancer has continued to create comics and illustrations for the weekly paper for over 20 years. With writer Frank Young, he co-created two graphic novels: Oregon Trail: Road to Destiny and The Carter Family: Don’t Forget This Song (Abrams). Carter Family won an Eisner Award (the comics industry’s equivalent to the Oscar) in 2013, in the category of Best Reality-Based Graphic Novel.
David has also been a graphic novel instructor at Richard Hugo House and various other venues in the Seattle area. Through Arts Corps, he taught after-school classes to elementary school students from 2008 to 2014. In 2013, he represented the United States at comics festivals in Serbia and Russia.

Teaching Philosophy: Creating comics is a powerful communication skill that anyone can learn, no matter their drawing ability.

Writers I return to: Art Spiegelman, Robert Crumb, Stacey Levine, James Joyce.

Favorite writing advice: Don't wait to get permission from anyone to create, just do it. You'll figure things out as you go.

Greg Stump was a regular contributor for more than a decade to The Comics Journal (as a journalist and critic) and The Stranger (as a cartoonist and illustrator). His work in comics includes the weekly strip Dwarf Attack and the comic book series Urban Hipster, a co-creation with David Lasky that was nominated for a Harvey and Ignatz award. Most recently, Fantagraphics released his graphic novel debut Disillusioned Illusions in 2015 through the publisher's FU Press imprint. An adjunct lecturer at Seattle University and a writer-in-residence for Seattle Arts & Lectures, he has been teaching comics to students of all ages for close to two decades.

Past Student Feedback:
"I thought both David and Greg were awesome instructors. They made it a fun class."

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How to Create an Irresistible Narrator

All Levels | Many a short story, essay, novel, and memoir have gone unpublished because the author fails to create a strong narrator, one who can act as a wise and entertaining guide to the reader. In this class, we’ll…

Course Type: 1 Session  |   Instructor: Steve Almond

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Start Date: 02/28/2018 – 10:00 AM
This class is full

Steve Almond

Steve Almond spent seven years as a newspaper reporter in Texas and Florida before writing his first book, the story collection My Life in Heavy Metal. His non-fiction book, Candyfreak, was a New York Times Bestseller. His short fiction has been included in The Best American Short Stories and Pushcart Prize anthologies, and his most recent collection, God Bless America, won the Paterson Prize for Fiction. Almond writes commentary and journalism regularly for The New York Times Magazine and The Boston Globe. A former sports reporter and play-by-play man, Almond lives outside Boston with his wife and three children.

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Rage Is a Red Lesson: How to Turn Anger into Charged Prose

All Levels | We’re living in an age of wrath, one in which the impulse to make art is being shouted down by the desire to make war. In this freewheeling workshop, we’ll examine how writers are able to harness…

Course Type: 1 Session  |   Instructor: Steve Almond

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Start Date: 02/28/2018 – 2:00 PM
This class is full

Steve Almond

Steve Almond spent seven years as a newspaper reporter in Texas and Florida before writing his first book, the story collection My Life in Heavy Metal. His non-fiction book, Candyfreak, was a New York Times Bestseller. His short fiction has been included in The Best American Short Stories and Pushcart Prize anthologies, and his most recent collection, God Bless America, won the Paterson Prize for Fiction. Almond writes commentary and journalism regularly for The New York Times Magazine and The Boston Globe. A former sports reporter and play-by-play man, Almond lives outside Boston with his wife and three children.

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How to Create an Irresistible Narrator Section II

This is a shortened version of the original offering of this class. All Levels | Many a short story, essay, novel, and memoir have gone unpublished because the author fails to create a strong narrator, one who can act as…

Course Type: 1 Session  |   Instructor: Steve Almond

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Start Date: 03/01/2018 – 09:00:00

Steve Almond

Steve Almond spent seven years as a newspaper reporter in Texas and Florida before writing his first book, the story collection My Life in Heavy Metal. His non-fiction book, Candyfreak, was a New York Times Bestseller. His short fiction has been included in The Best American Short Stories and Pushcart Prize anthologies, and his most recent collection, God Bless America, won the Paterson Prize for Fiction. Almond writes commentary and journalism regularly for The New York Times Magazine and The Boston Globe. A former sports reporter and play-by-play man, Almond lives outside Boston with his wife and three children.

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Ain’t Them Bodies Poems

All Levels | In this generative class we will examine a selection of poets who explore the body as a means of writing through erasure and silence, poets for whom the body is both landscape and canvas, memorial and monument….

Course Type: 4 Sessions  |   Instructor: Jamaica Baldwin

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Start Date: 03/03/2018 – 10:00 AM

Jamaica Baldwin

Jamaica Baldwin’s poems have appeared, or are forthcoming, in Rattle, Spiral Orb, Jack Straw Anthology, Third Coast Review, Hayden’s Ferry, Prairie Schooner and the Seattle Review of Books where she was the March 2017 poet in residence. Jamaica has received nominations for Pushcart and Sundress Best of Net and is the recipient of a Hedgebrook residency. She received her MFA from Pacific University Oregon and was a 2017 Jack Straw Writer’s Fellow. She lives in Seattle, WA where she teaches and is currently working on her first book.

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Techwashed! The Language of Data, Surveillance, and Technology

All Levels | Can you feel the wave coming? Invisible to most of us, quantum advancements in technology are challenging our society’s most basic foundations. Data about us, and the algorithms that feed on those data, already empower some and…

Course Type: 4 Sessions  |   Instructor: Shankar Narayan

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Start Date: 03/05/2018 – 7:10 PM

Shankar Narayan

Shankar Narayan explores identity, power, mythology, and technology in a world where the body is flung across borders yet possesses unrivaled power to transcend them. Shankar is a Pushcart Prize nominee, a Fellow at Kundiman and at Hugo House, and winner of prizes from Flyway and Paper Nautilus. Shankar draws strength from his global upbringing and from his work as a civil rights attorney for the ACLU. His work has appeared in Jaggery, Panoply, Crab Creek Review, Raven Chronicles, The Litfuse Anthology, WA 129 (a collection of Washington state poems curated by Poet Laureate Tod Marshall), and many other publications. Shankar is a recent 4Culture grant recipient for Claiming Space, a project to lift the voices of writers of color. In Seattle, he awakens to the wonders of Cascadia every day, but his heart yearns east to his other hometown, Delhi.

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Writing Maximalist Prose

All Levels | For writers interested in achieving higher levels of specificity in their work, this class will explore literary maximalism, a style that favors digression, reference, and elaborate detail. In addition to studying examples from Karen Tei Yamashita, David…

Course Type: 2 Sessions  |   Instructor: John Englehardt

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Start Date: 03/17/2018 – 1:00 PM
3 seats available

John Englehardt

John Englehardt is a fiction writer, editor at Pacifica Literary Review, and a former Made at Hugo House fellow. He won the 2014 Wabash prize in fiction, the Conium Review's 2014 Flash Fiction Contest, and The Stranger's A&P story contest, judged by Sherman Alexie and Rebecca Brown. He holds an MFA from University of Arkansas, and his writing has appeared in Sycamore Review, The Stranger, Seattle Review of Books, and The James Franco Review.

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Understanding Audiobooks: A New Chapter for Writers

Intermediate/Advanced. Listen closely: the publishing world is changing right before your ears. Audiobooks now outsell e-books and print—impacting not only the way literature is consumed, but how it’s written. Narrator/producer Brian Callanan, with help from award-winning author Wendy Terrien, explains…

Course Type: 1 Session  |   Instructor: Brian Callanan

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Start Date: 03/17/2018 – 1:00 PM
4 seats available

Brian Callanan

Brian is an Emmy-winning news reporter, anchor, and host with 23 years of experience in the TV broadcast industry, working in stations across the Pacific Northwest. He currently serves as a public affairs host and producer for The Seattle Channel, named best municipal TV station by the National Association of Telecommunication Officers and Advisers (NATOA) for eight of the last ten years. Brian is the narrator of more than 20 audiobooks, with training from the esteemed ACX Master Class program and Audible Approved Narrator David H. Lawrence XVII. His audiobook work displays a comprehensive, skillful, and versatile range, and includes non-fiction, poetry, science fiction, romances, thrillers, paranormal fantasy, and more. A collection of his audiobook work online can be found here. Brian lives with his wife and two daughters in Seattle.

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Mindsets in the Making of Fiction

All Levels | In my mind, there are at least two, clear-cut mindsets a writer might adapt (or blend) when writing fiction: “the top-down dream” and “the bottom-upscheme.” I’ll roughly sketch these two approaches while asking students to scrutinize their…

Course Type: 1 Session  |   Instructor: Joshua Ferris

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Start Date: 03/24/2018 – 1:00 PM
This class is full

Joshua Ferris

Joshua Ferris is the bestselling author of three novels, Then We Came to the End, The Unnamed, and To Rise Again at a Decent Hour. He was a finalist for the National Book Award, winner of the Barnes and Noble Discover Award and the PEN/Hemingway Award, and was named one of The New Yorker’s “20 Under 40” writers in 2010. His fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, Granta, Tin House, and Best American Short Stories. He lives in New York.

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The Telling Itself: Illness Narratives as Healing and Craft

All Levels | In this workshop, we will craft personal nonfiction narratives that explore the experience of illness, considering how craft choices can elevate the personal to the universal and how to avoid common illness narrative pitfalls, including overly technical…

Course Type: 2 Sessions  |   Instructor: Katherine E. Standefer

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Start Date: 03/24/2018 – 10:00 AM

Katherine E. Standefer

Katherine E. Standefer's debut book, Lightning Flowers, is forthcoming from a new (yet unnamed) imprint of Little, Brown, & Co. in early 2020. 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 Normal School, The Iowa Review, Fourth Genre, Colorado Review, and Cutbank. She was 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. www.katherinestandefer.com

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Written on the Body: Corporeal Nonfictions

All Levels | As memoirists and essayists, we cannot create dynamic textual bodies without considering the corporeal ones that inhabit our stories. It is through the body that we perceive the world, encounter other beings, and in which we percolate…

Course Type: 1 Session  |   Instructor: Melissa Febos

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Start Date: 03/24/2018 – 1:00 PM
This class is full

Melissa Febos

Melissa Febos is the author of the memoir Whip Smart (St. Martin’s Press 2010) and the essay collection Abandon Me (Bloomsbury 2017). Her work has been widely anthologized and appears in publications including Tin House, Granta, The Kenyon Review, Prairie Schooner, The New York Times, The Guardian, Bitch Magazine, Poets & Writers, The Rumpus, and elsewhere. She has been featured on NPR’s Fresh Air, CNN, Anderson Cooper Live, and elsewhere. The recipient of an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College, she is currently Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Monmouth University.

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Quick Retreat in the City

All Levels | Can’t make it to the wild? Tired of competitive retreat centers? How about designing your own writing retreat in the city? Disconnect from social media, family responsibilities, and anything else that keeps you from your writing in…

Course Type: 2 Sessions  |   Instructor: Sonya Lea

View Details

Start Date: 03/24/2018 – 8:30 AM

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

See current classes >