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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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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
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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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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
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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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Writing Our Lives: Witness & Transformation

All Levels | In this class, we’ll explore how our lives are affected by the public events of our era. We’ll draw connections between social changes we’ve experienced in our lifetimes and our own personal transformations. Looking at work by…

Course Type: 8 Sessions  |   Instructor: Carolyne Wright

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Start Date: 09/17/2020 – 5:00 pm
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Carolyne Wright

Carolyne Wright’s most recent books are This Dream the World: New & Selected Poems (Lost Horse Press, 2017), whose title poem received a Pushcart Prize and appeared in The Best American Poetry 2009; and the bilingual volume by Chilean poet Eugenia Toledo, Trazas de mapa, trazas de sangre / Map Traces, Blood Traces (2017), a Finalist for the 2018 Washington State Book Award in Poetry, and also for the 2018 PEN Los Angeles Award in Translation. She is co-editor of the ground-breaking anthology, Raising Lilly Ledbetter: Women Poets Occupy the Workspace (Lost Horse, 2015), which received ten Pushcart Prize nominations. Author of nine previous books and chapbooks of poetry, four other volumes of poetry in translation from Spanish and Bengali, and a book of essays, Wright has served as Visiting Poet and professor of Creative Writing at colleges and universities throughout the U.S., including Harvard, Radcliffe, Emory University and the University of Miami. She returned in 2005 to her native Seattle, where she teaches for Hugo House, the Whidbey Writers Workshop MFA Program (from 2005 until the program’s closure in 2016), and for national and international literary conferences and festivals. She spent a year in Chile on a Fulbright Study Grant during the presidency of Salvador Allende, and also traveled throughout Brazil. Wright has received fellowships from the NEA, 4Culture, and Seattle’s Office of Arts & Culture. She returned to Brazil for two months in 2018 with an Instituto Sacatar artists residency in Bahia, and she has received a Fulbright U.S. Scholar Award for Brazil for 2020-2021, which she will take up once the global coronavirus travel advisory is lifted.

Photo by Brian Weiss

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Write Your Fantasy Novel (ZOOM)

All Levels | Stuck on your fantasy novel? Need help figuring out the ins and outs of worldbuilding? Trying to decide how to build characters your readers can connect to? In this workshop we’ll help each other navigate the pitfalls…

Course Type: 10 Sessions  |   Instructor: Lish McBride

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Start Date: 09/19/2020 – 1:10 pm
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Lish McBride

Lish McBride is the author of funny and
creepy young adult books such as Hold Me
Closer, Necromancer; Necromancing the
Stone; Firebug; Pyromantic and the upcoming
Curses. She has a BFA in creative writing
from Seattle University and an MFA from
University of New Orleans.

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How to Write for McSweeney’s (ONLINE)

All Levels | This four-week online course examines the key elements of writing brief, McSweeney’s-style pieces. It also explores publication options within the expanding humor-writing market. You might be encouraged to find that humor sites are surprisingly literary and a…

Course Type: 4 Sessions  |   Instructor: Jeff Bender

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Start Date: 09/19/2020
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Jeff Bender

Jeff Bender is a graduate of Columbia's MFA program and winner of Hugo House's New Works Competition. His fiction and humor have appeared in McSweeney's, Electric Literature, The Iowa Review, Guernica, Points in Case, Slackjaw, and Little Old Lady Comedy.

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Rage Is a Red Lesson (ZOOM)

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: 09/19/2020 – 12:00 pm
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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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Writing Along with Madness, Rack, and Honey (ZOOM)

All Levels | Inspired by Mary Ruefle’s innovative book of essays Madness, Rack, and Honey, we’ll savor reading 1-2 chapters each week, then generate our own writing (poetry or prose) using in-class writing prompts that jump off Ruefle’s text. Whether…

Course Type: 8 Sessions  |   Instructor: Sierra Nelson

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Start Date: 09/20/2020 – 1:10 pm
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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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Scene-Making

Scenes are the building blocks of all storytelling. When rigorously conceived, they draw your reader in, spring your characters to life and, most valuably, propel your plot. But what exactly is a scene? How do you write compelling ones? In…

Course Type: 1 Session  |   Instructor: Maria Semple

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Start Date: 09/20/2020 – 1:10 pm
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Maria Semple

Maria Semple is the author of the best-selling novels Today Will Be Different and Where’d You Go, Bernadette. She wrote for the TV shows Arrested Development, Mad About You, and Ellen. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times and the New Yorker. Where’d You Go, Bernadette has been translated into 30 languages. It spent over a year on the New York Times bestseller list and made over a dozen yearend best lists. It was shortlisted for the Women’s Prize and received the Alex Award from the American Library Association. The film version of the book, starring Cate Blanchett, Kristen Wiig, and Billy Crudup, will premiere in March 2019. Today Will Be Different was featured on the cover of the New York Times book review. It made over a dozen year-end best lists and is currently in development as a limited TV series.

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Novel Outline Bootcamp

All Levels | In order to break the rules, we must first learn them. Take a deep dive into the three-act structure as well as the building blocks of plot, characters, conflict, resolution, and metaphor. Whether you come to class…

Course Type: 8 Sessions  |   Instructor: Jarret Middleton

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Start Date: 09/22/2020 – 7:10 pm
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Jarret Middleton

Jarret Middleton is the author of the novel, Darkansas. He was editor of Seattle's Dark Coast Press and Pharos Editions, an imprint of Counterpoint/Soft Skull Press. His work has been published widely in print and online.

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Taking Notes on Your Life: Journal Writing

All Levels | Keeping a journal is the most private form of writing. It’s where we ruminate, vent, and wail with no holds barred. But it can also be the compost from which to grow writing of all kinds. In…

Course Type: 1 Session  |   Instructor: Ann Hedreen

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Start Date: 09/23/2020 – 10:00 am
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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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Fiction II (ZOOM)

This class will build upon craft learned in Fiction I. In life, we try to avoid making messes — but stories love disaster. Good writers get characters all fired up and let that tension drive a story all the way…

Course Type: 8 Sessions  |   Instructor: Susan Meyers

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Start Date: 09/23/2020 – 5:00 pm
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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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Unlikeable Women

Introductory/Intermediate | Throughout literature and film, women have been portrayed as either the witch or the angel, the whore or the virgin, whereas men have been given the freedom to be complex, disagreeable heroes and villains. In this course, we’ll…

Course Type: 4 Sessions  |   Instructor: Piper Lane

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Start Date: 09/24/2020 – 7:10 pm
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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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This Election Is Driving Me Crazy: How to Write About the State of Our State

All Levels | In this fast-paced generative workshop, we’ll discuss the potential and perils of writing about politics, particularly in this supercharged moment. We’ll look at the work of folks such as Ida B. Wells, George Orwell, James Baldwin, and…

Course Type: 1 Session  |   Instructor: Steve Almond

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Start Date: 09/26/2020 – 12:00 pm
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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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Writing About Loss

All Levels | In this class, we’ll use literature as a lens through which to explore how losses play out in individual lives and the lives of communities. We’ll turn a curious eye to how writers choose to represent grief,…

Course Type: 8 Sessions  |   Instructor: Liza Birnbaum

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Start Date: 09/28/2020 – 7:10 pm
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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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Yearlong in Short Story

The End Date has been corrected from the catalog. 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…

Course Type: 30 sessions  |   Instructor: Ramon Isao

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Start Date: 09/29/2020 – 7:10 pm
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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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