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Class Catalog

Browse Winter & Spring 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.

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Spring Registration Dates

All registrations open at 10:30 am

$500+ donor Registration: March 4
Member Registration: March 5
General Registration: March 12


New! Early Bird Pricing March 4 through March 18:

  • $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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The Writer’s Welcome Kit

Want to be a writer? Don’t waste time. The Writer’s Welcome Kit aims to save you 100 hours of work and worry as you go from wanting to be a writer to working to be a writer. It’s the first e-course…

Course Type: 6 Sessions  |   Instructor: The Writer's Welcome Kit

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The Writer's Welcome Kit

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Personal Coaching for the Writer’s Welcome Kit

If you need accountability and guidance while completing your Writer’s Welcome Kit and committing to the writing life, our coaching level class is for you. You’ll start with a 15-minute discussion of your goals with a professional writer, send in…

Course Type: 6 Sessions  |   Instructor: The Writer's Welcome Kit

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The Writer's Welcome Kit

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Making a Scene

Introductory / Intermediate | In life, we try to avoid making messes—but stories love disaster. Good writers get characters to “make a scene”—and carry that tension all the way through a story. In this class, we’ll use the format of…

Course Type: 2 Sessions  |   Instructor: Susan Meyers

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Start Date: 04/27/2019 – 1:00 PM

Susan Meyers

Susan V. Meyers has lived and taught in Chile, Costa Rica, and Mexico. She earned an MFA from the University of Minnesota and a PhD from the University of Arizona, and she currently directs the Creative Writing Program at Seattle University. Her fiction and nonfiction have been supported by grants from the Fulbright foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, 4Culture, Artist Trust, and the Squaw Valley Community of Writers, as well as several artists residencies. Her novel Failing the Trapeze won the Nilsen Award for a First Novel and the Fiction Attic Press Award for a First Novel, and it was a finalist for the New American Fiction Award. Other work has recently appeared in Per Contra, Calyx, Dogwood, The Portland Review, and The Minnesota Review, and it has twice been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

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Narrative Reclamation: Using Stories to Heal

All Levels | This class is dedicated to the role of storytelling in finding relief from distress. Students in this course will learn how storytelling can be used for personal and communal reclamation, including the confrontation of historical pain. Students…

Course Type: 2 Sessions  |   Instructor: Zain Shamoon

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Start Date: 04/27/2019 – 10:00 AM

Zain Shamoon

Dr. Zain Shamoon completed his PhD in Human Development and Family Studies in Fall 2017 at Michigan State University. He also completed a Master's degree in Couple and Family therapy in 2011. He is dedicated to the creation of spaces where people can tell their personal stories on route to their own wellness. In his clinical work, he has served a range of clients, including those wrestling with high anxiety, relational conflict, and severe depression.

In March 2015, he helped launch the Narratives of Pain project, which is a group emotional outlet of personal narrative and catharsis based in Metro Detroit, and now Seattle. Currently, Zain is a professor of Couple and Family Therapy at Antioch University Seattle.

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Seven Keys to Unlocking Your Story

All Levels | Whether you’re just dipping a toe into the waters of your story (fiction or memoir) or you’re stuck rowing around in circles, these seven keys to integrating character development, plot, and structure will enable you to navigate…

Course Type: 4 Sessions  |   Instructor: Jennifer Haupt

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Start Date: 04/27/2019 – 1:00 PM
4 seats available

Jennifer Haupt

Jennifer Haupt's essays have been published in O, The Oprah Magazine, The Rumpus, Spirituality & Health, The Sun and elsewhere. Her debut novel, In the Shadow of 10,000 Hills, was published in April 2018. She is currently working on a memoir/fiction hybrid based in Haiti.

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How to Develop a Writing Practice

Online | Introductory / Intermediate | Successful writers understand that writing is not just an art—it’s also a practice. If you’re having trouble finding time to write or feel like you lack the motivation to complete your writing projects, this…

Course Type: 4 Sessions  |   Instructor: Nicole Dieker

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Start Date: 04/30/2019

Nicole Dieker

Nicole Dieker teaches writing, freelancing, and publishing classes (including Hugo House online classes) and works one-on-one with authors as a developmental editor and copyeditor. She's been a full-time freelance writer since 2012, and spent five years as a writer and editor for The Billfold, a personal finance blog where people had honest conversations about money.

Nicole's debut novel, The Biographies of Ordinary People: Volume 1: 1989–2000, published in May 2017; The Biographies of Ordinary People: Volume 2: 2004–2016 followed in May 2018. The two books are a Millennial-era Little Women that follow three sisters from childhood to adulthood.

“I took Nicole’s freelancing class. By the end of the class, I had submitted my first pitch, had it accepted and the article published. She guided us through the process of building a freelance career, with concrete steps to get started, ongoing resources for growth and answers to wide-ranging questions. She taught one of the most informative classes I’ve taken and she did it while providing individualized information for each member of the class.” — Beth Swanson, freelance writer and journalist

Visit NicoleDieker.com to learn more, or to read Nicole's daily blog posts about the art and the finances of a creative career.

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Deep Revision

Intermediate / Advanced | Have you already completed a rough draft or a substantial chunk of a novel? In this class, we’ll begin the deep revision process with an overview, examining themes and exploring structure, then focus on the dynamics…

Course Type: 6 Sessions  |   Instructor: Waverly Fitzgerald

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Start Date: 05/01/2019 – 7:10 PM
5 seats available

Waverly Fitzgerald

Waverly Fitzgerald loves research as much as writing, which is sometimes a problem. She has written one non-fiction book, Slow Time (2007) and fourteen novels, of which nine have been published by publishers as diverse as Doubleday and Kensington. Her essays and poems have appeared in Facere and Raven Chronicles. For her essays on urban nature, she has been awarded a fellowship from Jack Straw Cultural Center, a grant from Artist Trust and residences at Hedgebrook and the Whiteley Center. She has presented at international and national writing conferences and taught for various continuing education programs including the UCLA Writers Program and the University of Washington Extension. She currently teaches online for Creative Nonfiction magazine.

Teaching philosophy: My only goal as a teacher is to make sure my students learn what they want to learn. So I provide accountability, offer feedback and encourage writing. I set up interesting situations where writers can practice either craft skills or generate new material on subjects of their own choosing. Although I bring in examples of writing from other writers, I encourage students to choose their own models. I’m as open to genre writing as I am to literary writing. Having found the workshop model of teaching (critique from the entire group of one manuscript at time) both inefficient and sometimes damaging, I rarely use it though I do encourage camaraderie in the classroom because second to writing I think participating in a writing community is an ingredient necessary for writerly success.

Writers I return to: Charles Dickens, Elizabeth Goudge, Anthony Trollope, William Lashner, Timothy Hallinan, Susan Howatch, Dorothy Dunnett, Ellis Peters, Jorge Amado, D. J. Waldie, Robert MacFarlane, Jay Griffiths, Rebecca Solnit, Lia Purpura.

Favorite writing advice: Consider the reader.

Photo by Brian Weiss

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Finding Your Themes

This workshop will allow writers of all levels to explore their personal themes so that they can start, revise, and finish their story drafts. Please bring writing paper and a pen. (This course does not include a lunch break.)

Course Type: 1 Session  |   Instructor: Min Jin Lee

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Start Date: 05/03/2019 – 10:00 AM

Min Jin Lee

Min Jin Lee is a recipient of fellowships in Fiction from the Guggenheim Foundation (2018) and the Radcliffe Institute of Advanced Study at Harvard (2018–2019). Her novel Pachinko (Grand Central, 2017) was a finalist for the National Book Award for Fiction, a runner-up for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, winner of the Medici Book Club Prize, and a New York Times 10 Best Books of 2017. Her writings have appeared in the New Yorker, NPR’s Selected Shorts, One Story, the New York Review of Books, the New York Times Magazine, the New York Times Book Review, the Times Literary Supplement, the Guardian, Condé Nast Traveler, and Wall Street Journal.

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The Art of the Interview

Introductory / Intermediate | Interviewing is an essential skill for all writers, whether writing a story, novel, or nonfiction piece. This class will teach you how to conduct a great interview: How do you set it up? How do you…

Course Type: 1 Session  |   Instructor: Nicholas O'Connell

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Start Date: 05/04/2019 – 1:00 PM

Nicholas O'Connell

Nicholas O’Connell, M.F.A, Ph.D., is the author of The Storms of Denali (University of Alaska Press, 2012), On Sacred Ground: The Spirit of Place in Pacific Northwest Literature (University of Washington Press, 2003), At the Field’s End: Interviews with 22 Pacific Northwest Writers (University of Washington Press Press, 1998), Contemporary Ecofiction (Charles Scribner’s, 1996) and Beyond Risk: Conversations with Climbers (Mountaineers, 1993). He has contributed to Newsweek, Gourmet, Saveur, Outside, GO, National Geographic Adventure, Condé Nast Traveler, Food & Wine, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Sierra, The Wine Spectator, Commonweal, Image and many other places. He is the publisher/editor of The Writer’s Workshop Review and the founder of the online and Seattle-based writing program, www.thewritersworkshop.net.

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A Tale of a Whale: Reading Moby Dick

All Levels | E.L. Doctorow once remarked in a lecture for the Library of Congress that American literature begins not with The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, as Ernest Hemingway claimed, but with Moby Dick. Whether you’ve reeled in Herman Melville’s…

Course Type: 6 Sessions  |   Instructor: Jeff Encke

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Start Date: 05/04/2019 – 10:00 AM

Jeff Encke

Jeff Encke taught writing and criticism at Columbia University for several years, serving as writer-in-residence for the Program in Narrative Medicine while completing his PhD in English. His poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, Barrow Street, Black Warrior Review, Boston Review, Colorado Review, Fence, Kenyon Review Online, and Salt Hill. In 2004, he published Most Wanted: A Gamble in Verse, a series of love poems addressed to Saddam Hussein and other Iraqi war criminals printed on a deck of playing cards.

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Everything I Know So Far: The Workshop

In this class, David will briefly discuss the following strategies around traditional narrative: Brevity, Journal, Collage, Remix, Photo/Film, Collaboration. He’ll present an example of each. Students will try their own versions, which we’ll then read aloud and critique. The class…

Course Type: 6 Sessions  |   Instructor: David Shields

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Start Date: 05/05/2019 – 1:00 PM

David Shields

David Shields is the New York Times bestselling author of sixteen books, including How Literature Saved My Life; Reality Hunger (named one of the best books of the year by more than thirty publications); The Thing About Life Is That One Day You'll Be Dead; Black Planet (finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award); Remote (winner of the PEN/Revson Award); and Salinger (co-written by Shane Salerno).

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Where to Start

Introductory | Are you full of great ideas, but lost when it comes to putting them on the page? In this class, students will set goals for their writing, outline action plans to meet them, and generate new work in…

Course Type: 6 Sessions  |   Instructor: Amber Flame

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Start Date: 05/05/2019 – 1:00 PM

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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Worldbuilding in Speculative Fiction

Intermediate / Advanced | Whether you’re writing a cyberpunk masterpiece or an intergalactic space opera, worldbuilding is essential to your project. In this class, we’ll examine the physical, emotional, and sociocultural aspects of worldbuilding and how they affect character and…

Course Type: 6 Sessions  |   Instructor: Ruth Joffre

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Start Date: 05/06/2019 – 7:10 PM

Ruth Joffre

Ruth Joffre is the author of the story collection Night Beast (forthcoming Grove Atlantic 2018). Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Kenyon Review, Mid-American Review, The Masters Review, Prairie Schooner, Hayden's Ferry Review, and Copper Nickel. Her book reviews have been published in The Rumpus, The Millions, Kenyon Review Online, and Colorado Review. She lives in Seattle.

Teaching Philosophy: I believe every piece of literature is an emotional education. A story like Mavis Gallant's "The Ice Wagon Going Down the Street," for instance, requires us not only to understand the inner workings of its characters' psyches but to become the kind of people who are capable of feeling as they feel and thinking as they think. In this way, we learn to feel sympathy for the socially awkward, love for the romantically jilted, and sorrow for the painfully ambitious. When we can't expand our minds this way, our writing and our reading suffers.

Writers I return to: Alice Munro, Annie Proulx, Mavis Gallant, W. G. Sebald, Elizabeth Strout, Maggie Nelson, Anita Brookner, Penelope Fitzgerald, Truman Capote, Joan Didion, Richard Yates, Elizabeth McCracken, and James Baldwin, to name a few.

Favorite writing advice: Hands down, this piece of advice from Benjamin Percy: "Keep hammering."

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The Story is Smarter: Facing the Hard Work of Revision

Intermediate / Advanced | Even with a competent draft in hand, sometimes you just know when a story doesn’t feel done yet. Placing a finger on the problem can be maddeningly difficult. Maybe the hardest thing a writer has to…

Course Type: 6 Sessions  |   Instructor: Eric McMillan

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Start Date: 05/06/2019 – 7:10 PM

Eric McMillan

Eric McMillan’s fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in One Story, Iowa Review, New England Review, Gulf Coast, and Witness. An Iraq War veteran, he’s the winner of this year’s Jeff Sharlet Memorial Prize and a former Fellow at Hugo House.

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Writing Life

All Levels | Life is truly bizarre, and the more familiar we are with this bizarreness, the richer our writing will be. Taught by a writer—not a biologist—this class will look at the ways contemporary scientists have written about the…

Course Type: 6 Sessions  |   Instructor: Charles Tonderai Mudede

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Start Date: 05/06/2019 – 7:10 PM

Charles Tonderai Mudede

Charles Tonderai Mudede is a Zimbabwean-born writer, filmmaker, and cultural critic. He writes about film, books, music, crime, art, economics, and urban theory for The Stranger. Mudede has made three films, two of which, Police Beat and Zoo, premiered at Sundance, and one, Zoo, was screened at Cannes. Mudede has written for the New York Times, Arcade Journal, Cinema Scope, Ars Electronica, The Village Voice, Radical Urban Theory, and C Theory. Mudede is also on the editorial board for the Black Scholar, which is based at the University of Washington, and between 1999 and 2005, lectured on post-colonial theory at Pacific Lutheran University, and in 2003 published a short book, Last Seen, with Diana George. Mudede has lived in Seattle since 1989.

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