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Class Catalog

Browse Fall and Winter 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, contact our registrar or call us at 206.322.7030.

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Winter Registration Dates

All registrations open at 10:30 am

$500+ donor Registration: December 2
Member Registration: December 3
General Registration: December 10


Early Bird Pricing Dec. 2 through Dec. 16:

  • $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 Art of the Deeply Reported Novel

All Levels | Take home a tool bag of reporting tricks to help you deepen the writing of your novel. Rebecca Clarren shares the hard-won lessons learned from more than twenty years of investigative reporting that she applied in the…

Course Type: 1 Session  |   Instructor: Rebecca Clarren

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Start Date: 11/23/2019 – 10:00 am
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Rebecca Clarren

Rebecca Clarren has been a reporter for more than twenty years, writing about the American West for national magazines such as The Nation, High Country News, MotherJones and others. Her work has frequently been supported by the Fund for Investigative Journalism and has won the Hillman Prize, an Alicia Patterson Fellowship, as well as recognition from the John B. Oakes Award, the Native American Journalists' Association, the Lange-Taylor Prize and the Society for Professional Journalists. Clarren’s debut novel Kickdown, (Skyhorse Publishing, September 2018), was called, "an impressive debut," by The Washington Post and was shortlisted for the PEN/Bellwether Prize. Clarren is currently working on An American Inheritance, a book of creative nonfiction for Penguin Books that not only investigates the parallel histories of her ancestors, Jewish immigrants from Russia who received free land to homestead the South Dakota prairie, and the Lakota who were displaced onto nearby reservations, but grapples with questions of reparation, healing and cultural appropriation. A native Seattleite, she now lives in Portland with her husband and two young sons.

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All That Cages

Consider the power-pulleys of the world system and how they impact humanity—and poetry. What to write, how to write it, whose voice, what experience, what approach? We’ll look to writers like Milosz, Levertov, Ginsberg, Gimenez-Smith, Ali, Tretheway, Lim, and Hedge-Coke,…

Course Type: 2 Sessions  |   Instructor: Juan Felipe Herrera

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Start Date: 11/23/2019 – 10:00 am

Juan Felipe Herrera

Juan Felipe Herrera is the 21st Poet Laureate of the United States (2015-2016) and is the first Latino to hold the position. From 2012-2014, Herrera served as California State Poet Laureate. Herrera’s many collections of poetry include Notes on the Assemblage; Senegal Taxi; Half of the World in Light: New and Selected Poems, a recipient of the PEN/Beyond Margins Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award; and 187 Reasons Mexicanos Can’t Cross The Border: Undocuments 1971-2007. He is also the author of Crashboomlove: A Novel in Verse, which received the Americas Award. His books of prose for children include: SkateFate, Calling The Doves, which won the Ezra Jack Keats Award; Upside Down Boy, which was adapted into a musical for young audiences in New York City; and Cinnamon Girl: Letters Found Inside a Cereal Box. His book Jabberwalking, a children’s book focused on turning your wonder at the world around you into weird, wild, incandescent poetry, is forthcoming in 2018. Herrera is also a performance artist and activist on behalf of migrant and indigenous communities and at-risk youth.

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Mindful Writing

All Levels | We’ll explore writing as a contemplative practice: one that can center and ground us in the midst of chaos and distraction, activate awareness and acceptance, and radically transform experience. Using the principles of mindfulness, we’ll start with…

Course Type: 1 Session  |   Instructor: Anna Vodicka

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Start Date: 12/11/2019 – 5:30 pm
This class is full

Anna Vodicka

Anna Vodicka's essays have appeared in AFAR, Brevity, Guernica, Harvard Review, Longreads, McSweeneys' Internet Tendency, Paste, and Best Women's Travel Writing 2017. She has had residency fellowships to Vermont Studio Center and Hedgebrook.

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Letting Your Characters Tell the Story

DATE CHANGE: This class will now take place on 12/13. This has been updated from the print catalog.  Fully imagined characters always produce a story. Trust me about that. When writers tell me they have trouble with plots, what I…

Course Type: 1 Session  |   Instructor: Michael Cunningham

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Start Date: 12/13/2019 – 1:00 pm
This class is full

Michael Cunningham

Michael Cunningham is the author of the novels A Home at the End of the World, Flesh and Blood, The Hours, By Nightfall, and The Snow Queen, as well as a short story collection, A Wild Swan and Other Tales, all published by Farrar Straus & Giroux. The Hours won the 1999 Pulitzer Prize and PEN Faulkner Award, and was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award.

Cunningham’s fiction and non-fiction have appeared in the New Yorker, the New York Times, the Atlantic Monthly, the Paris Review, and other publications. A recipient of National Endowment for the Arts, Guggenheim and Whiting Foundation fellowships, he is Senior Lecturer in English at Yale University.

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Writing Without a Map

DATE CHANGE: This class will now take place on 12/14. This has been updated from the print catalog.  To write from an outline is to know from the beginning where you’re headed. But what happens if you dive in with…

Course Type: 1 Session  |   Instructor: Cari Luna

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Start Date: 12/14/2019 – 10:00 am

Cari Luna

Cari Luna is the author of The Revolution of Every Day, which won the Oregon Book Award for Fiction. A fellow of Yaddo and Ragdale, her writing has appeared in Guernica, Salon, Jacobin, Electric Literature, Catapult, The Rumpus, PANK, and elsewhere. She lives in Portland, Oregon.

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Writing Trauma

All Levels | Many of us write what haunts us—in order to heal, discover, exorcise, make meaning of, celebrate survival, and/or reach for connection. In a highly supportive environment we’ll explore access points to writing trauma, self-care for the process,…

Course Type: 6 Sessions  |   Instructor: Tara Hardy

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Start Date: 01/09/2020 – 5:00 pm
Registration for this class has not started.

Tara Hardy

Tara Hardy is the working class queer femme poet who founded Bent, a writing institute for LGBTIQ people in Seattle. She's taught creative writing for fourteen years, and she's served as the Hugo House writer-in-residence. Her first full length book of poems, Bring Down the Chandeliers, was published by Write Bloody Press in the spring, 2011.

Photo by Brian Weiss

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What You Can Learn From Noir & Crime Fiction (It’s Not What You Think)

Every few years, I find myself going back to classic noir: Hammet, Cain, Highsmith. I used to think it was the breathless, hard narratives drawing me in. But I’ve realized it’s the writing I go back for—the clear rhythm and…

Course Type: 1 Session  |   Instructor: Jess Walter

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Start Date: 01/11/2020 – 1:00 pm
Registration for this class has not started.

Jess Walter

Jess Walter is the author of eight books, including the 2013 #1 New York Times bestseller, Beautiful Ruins (Harper, 2012); The Zero (2006), finalist for the 2006 National Book Award, and Citizen Vince (2004), winner of the 2005 Edgar Allan Poe Award.

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Fiction III

This class will build upon craft learned in Fiction II. Students can expect advanced readings, regular workshops, and feedback from their classmates and instructor. We’ll look at each other’s drafts with an eye to properly balance the elements of story,…

Course Type: 10 Sessions  |   Instructor: Scott Driscoll

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Start Date: 01/13/2020 – 7:10 pm
Registration for this class has not started.

Scott Driscoll

Scott Driscoll is an award-winning instructor (UW, Educational Outreach award for Excellence in Teaching in the Arts and Humanities 2006), and his debut novel, Better You Go Home, was selected as the Foreword Reviews First Book Contest winner. He was the 1989 winner of the University of Washington’s Milliman Award for Fiction.

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Close Encounters of the Third-Person Kind

Point of view is one of the most complex elements of writing fiction, and third-person POV can be especially nuanced in terms of its tone, language, and narrative distance. This class will take a look at the qualities that comprise…

Course Type: 1 Session  |   Instructor: Raymond Fleischmann

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Start Date: 01/13/2020 – 6:00 pm
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Raymond Fleischmann

Raymond Fleischmann’s debut novel How Quickly She Disappears is forthcoming from Penguin Random House this January. He's published short fiction in the Iowa Review, Cimarron Review, the Pinch, and the Los Angeles Review, among many others, and was a Hugo Fellow in 2013-2014.

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Speculative Fiction Workshop

All Levels | Bring your space opera, your urban fantasy, your gothic horror, your portal to another dimension. This workshop is open to anyone working under the umbrella of speculative fiction. Students should come prepared to turn in at least…

Course Type: 6 Sessions  |   Instructor: Ruth Joffre

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Start Date: 01/13/2020 – 7:10 PM
Registration for this class has not started.

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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Points of View

All Levels | This class offers writers of fiction and nonfiction a chance to experiment with points of view. We’ll start with the obvious first-, second-, and third-person points of view, but then look at more complex options: the unreliable…

Course Type: 6 Sessions  |   Instructor: Waverly Fitzgerald

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Start Date: 01/14/2020 – 5:00 pm
Registration for this class has not started.

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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The Fearless Pen

All Levels | For many writers, there is nothing as anxiety-inducing as the blank page;this class is designed to help fearful writers find the courage needed to begin, or finish, a project. We will look at writers who admit to…

Course Type: 8 Sessions  |   Instructor: Beth Slattery

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Start Date: 01/14/2020 – 10:00 am
Registration for this class has not started.

Beth Slattery

Beth Slattery moved to Seattle after eighteen years of teaching creative writing and literature at Indiana University East. Since her relocation, she has been writing and editing. Beth is currently working on a collection of personal essays about her mid-life marriage to a Zimbabwean, a move from the Midwest to the Pacific Northwest, and a reluctant acceptance of the call to adventure. Her most recent publications appear in Assay: A Journal of Nonfiction Studies and Southern Women’s Review. Beth’s recent editing work includes being a “beta” reader for an author with a multi-book publishing contract, content and copy editing of a personal essay collection, and providing comprehensive editing services on an edited academic volume that was later published by Oxford University Press. She has an M.A. in fiction writing from Miami University and an M.F.A. in creative nonfiction from the University of Southern Maine—Stonecoast.

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Nailing Your Own Middle-Grade Voice

All Levels | This idea-generative course will focus on mining each participant’s life for unique story elements. We’ll focus on crafting these concepts in the most effective way possible, discussing character arc, story structure, scene, theme, and voice. We’ll look…

Course Type: 4 Sessions  |   Instructor: Sarah Allen

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Start Date: 01/15/2020 – 5:00 pm
Registration for this class has not started.

Sarah Allen

Sarah Allen is the author of the middle grade novel What Stars are Made of (FSG/Macmillan, 2019). She received an MFA in creative writing from Brigham Young University and is represented by Brianne Johnson at Writers House.

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Plot or Not

All Levels | Is it a juicy plot that keeps pages turning, or something else? We’ll read stories and craft essays that examine the nature of plot, tension, pacing, and structure, then complete generative exercises and collaborative writing projects for…

Course Type: 4 Sessions  |   Instructor: Tara Atkinson

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Start Date: 01/15/2020 – 7:10 pm
Registration for this class has not started.

Tara Atkinson

Tara Atkinson is the author of two books– Bedtime Stories (alice blue books) and Boyfriends (Instant Future). Her work has appeared in Hobart, City Arts Magazine, Fanzine, HTML Giant, The Iowa Review, and elsewhere. She co-founded the independent literature festival, APRIL, and served as Managing Director from 2011 to 2016. She holds a BA in English from The University of Iowa and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Washington.

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Flash Fiction Workshop

All Levels | Students of all abilities and experience are welcome to take this class, which is designed to produce a body of flash fiction work that can serve as a cache of journal submissions, as well as the basis…

Course Type: 10 Sessions  |   Instructor: Joe Ponepinto

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Start Date: 01/16/2020 – 5:00 PM
Registration for this class has not started.

Joe Ponepinto

Joe Ponepinto is the publisher and fiction editor of Tahoma Literary Review, a nationally-recognized literary journal, and teaches fiction writing at Tacoma Community College. His novel, Mr. Neutron, will be published by 7.13 Books in spring 2018. His stories and criticism have been published in dozens of journals in the U.S. and abroad.

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