Class Catalog

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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: June 4
Member Registration: June 5
General Registration: June 12


New! Early Bird Pricing June 4 through June 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

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Bring It Back, Come Rewind: A Generative Workshop

Too often, writers find themselves in a space where the words won’t come, can’t come. Sometimes, writers may not be satisfied with what they are writing, or even know how the words are arriving to the page. There are other…

Course Type: 1 Session  |   Instructor: Derrick Weston Brown

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Start Date: 05/26/2018 – 13:00:00

Derrick Weston Brown

Derrick Weston Brown holds an MFA in creative writing, from American University. He has studied poetry under Dr. Tony Medina at Howard University and Cornelius Eady at American University. He is a graduate of the Cave Canem and VONA Voices summer workshops. His work has appeared in such literary journals as The Little Patuxent Review, Colorlines, The This Mag, and Vinyl online. He was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2012. He worked as a bookseller and book buyer for a bookstore which is operated by the nonprofit Teaching for Change. He was the founder of The Nine on the Ninth, a critically acclaimed monthly poetry series that ran from 2005-2015 at the 14th & V street location of Busboys and Poets. He was the 2012-2013 Writer-In-Residence of the Howard County Poetry Literary Society of Maryland. He is also a participating DC area author for the PEN/Faulkner Foundation’s Writers-in-Schools program. He’s performed at such esteemed venues as The Nuyorican Poets’ Cafe and the Bowery. He has lead workshops and performed at Georgetown University, George Washington University, Sweet Briar College and Chicago State. He has appeared on Al-Jazeera and NPR as well. In May of 2014 he was also the recipient of a Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Grant. He is a native of Charlotte, North Carolina, and resides in Mount Rainier, Maryland. His debut collection of poetry entitled, Wisdom Teeth, was released in April 2011 on Busboys and Poets Press/PM Press. You can follow him on social media on Facebook and on Instagram @theoriginalDerrickWestonBrown as well as his author website DerrickWestonBrown.com

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The Finances of Self-Publishing

Introductory | Self-publishing is easier than ever—but it isn’t cheap. When you become your own publisher, you take on all the costs associated with publication: hiring editors and designers, getting industry reviews, planning book launches and book tours. You also…

Course Type: 1 Session  |   Instructor: Nicole Dieker

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Start Date: 06/05/2018 – 18:00:00

Nicole Dieker

Nicole Dieker is a freelance writer and Senior Editor at The Billfold and her work has also appeared in Boing Boing, Popular Science, The Toast and numerous other publications. Nicole regularly speaks on or facilitates panels about the intersection of art and money, and her practical, actionable freelance advice is available at The Freelancer's "Ask A Freelancer" column and The Write Life's "Pitch Fix." Nicole's debut novel, The Biographies of Ordinary People, is forthcoming Summer 2017.

Teaching philosophy: I have two jobs, as a teacher. First, I need to ask the questions that uncover the real problems you are having in your writing. Then, I need to ask the questions that help you solve them.

Writers I return to: Lev Grossman, L.M. Montgomery, Cheryl Strayed—I read about a book a week, and there are a lot of books and writers I love, but these are three of the writers I consistently re-read. Online, I'll always click on a new piece by Nicole Chung, Ann Friedman, Roxane Gay, Meghan O'Connell, or Mallory Ortberg.

Favorite writing advice: "Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong." —Neil Gaiman

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The Hero’s Journey: Writing the Quest Narrative

All Levels | A quest narrative is one of the oldest and surest ways of telling a story. The Odyssey is essentially a quest narrative, with Odysseus’s journey back to his wife and son serving as the basis for the…

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

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Start Date: 06/24/2018 – 1:00 PM
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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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Finishing Your Book Online

All Levels | This is a class for anyone struggling with a book. Although that first sprint of 50 pages into a book—either novel or nonfiction—can be very exhilarating, it’s hard to sustain until the end. Sooner or later, you’re…

Course Type: 8 Sessions  |   Instructor: Peter Mountford

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Start Date: 07/06/2018
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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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Breathing Life into Secondary Characters

Introductory | Turning our true stories (or someone else’s) into fiction is not simply a matter of changing names and locations to protect the innocent. In this workshop we will learn qualities of successful fiction writing including reshaping truth to…

Course Type: 1 Session  |   Instructor: Beth Slattery

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Start Date: 07/07/2018 – 1:00 PM
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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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Experimental Autobiography

All Levels | We will explore experimental autobiography as a genre. Our focus will be on work that seeks to relay how something “felt” rather than how it “occurred,” and uses intertextuality, temporal fragmentation, and/or fictionalization to achieve that goal….

Course Type: 4 Sessions  |   Instructor: John Englehardt

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Start Date: 07/10/2018 – 7:10 PM
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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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Submission Strategies

Intermediate | Have you developed a body of work but are stalling on sharing your writing with the world? We’ll discuss common issues like finishing a piece, soliciting feedback and identifying opportunities for support and publication. We’ll explore all the…

Course Type: 6 Sessions  |   Instructor: Waverly Fitzgerald

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Start Date: 07/11/2018 – 5:00 PM
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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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Writing with Your Languages

All Levels | Most of us have important relationships to other languages, even if we only speak English. In this course, we will explore a range of techniques for drawing upon the languages we care about. We will read short…

Course Type: 2 Sessions  |   Instructor: Sarah Dowling

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Start Date: 07/14/2018 – 1:00 PM
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Sarah Dowling

Sarah Dowling is the author of two books of poetry, DOWN (Coach House, 2014) and Security Posture (Snare, 2009), which received the Robert Kroetsch Award for Innovative Poetry. Sarah has also published three chapbooks, US (The Elephants, 2018), Entering Sappho (above/ground, 2017), and Birds & Bees (TrollThread, 2012). Her writing appears in numerous literary journals. Sarah's scholarly book, Translingual Poetics: Writing Personhood under Settler Colonialism, is forthcoming from the University of Iowa Press. She teaches at the University of Washington Bothell.

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The Art of Editing

All Levels | We will discuss content as well as line editing; learn to read and use proofreader’s marks; and learn to edit short stories through full novels.

Course Type: 6 Sessions  |   Instructor: BJ Neblett

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Start Date: 07/15/2018 – 1:00 PM
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BJ Neblett

BJ Neblett is a self-confessed product of the TV generation. BJ began his writing career in earnest with Elysian Dreams, a contemporary romantic fantasy adventure. Ice Cream Camelot is a Historical Memoir about growing up during the Kennedy administration. BJ has written for the JKF Memorial Library as well as the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Blog. He is a regular contributor of short stories to several publications including eFiction, Romance, and Paradox Ethereal Magazines. BJ’s next releases will be Planet Alt-Sete- Nine, a sci-fi/fantasy trilogy; a fiction anthology, and a compilation of his romance shorts. Read more of his work and contact him at bjneblett.blogspot.com

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Getting Unstuck

All Levels | Looking for practical methods and techniques for overcoming obstacles to creativity? In this course we will discuss tricks for writing poetry, nonfiction, and fiction. Together we’ll examine the kinds of blocks all of us encounter in our…

Course Type: 1 Session  |   Instructor: Joshua Marie Wilkinson

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Start Date: 07/15/2018 – 1:00 PM
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Joshua Marie Wilkinson

Joshua Marie Wilkinson is the author of eight books, most recently Meadow Slasher (Black Ocean 2017). He teaches in the MFA program at University of Arizona in Tucson.

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Finding Inspiration in Dreams

All Levels | Dreams have a logic of their own. This strange quality has inspired many writers and artists, including Vladimir Nabokov, Kelly Link, David Lynch, and more. In this class, we’ll study dream logic and plumb our own dreams…

Course Type: 2 Sessions  |   Instructor: Ruth Joffre

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Start Date: 07/17/2018 – 7:10 PM
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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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Back to the Basics: A Painless Review

All Levels | A review of English language structure to help you recognize and avoid common usage errors; use punctuation correctly; find and correct mistakes; and know what to look for before you submit. The focus of this course is…

Course Type: 1 Session  |   Instructor: Cherie Tucker

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Start Date: 07/21/2018 – 1:00 PM
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Cherie Tucker

Cherie Tucker has a B.A. in English from the UW. A national speaker, editor, and author, she writes the grammar column for the PNWA Newsletter and taught grammar in the UW Editing Certification Program and in the Construction Management Department.

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Locate & Generate

All Levels | Together, we will generate new writing from collaborative prompts, experiencing other artistic mediums and challenging what we think is possible. We will write in conversation with artists like David Wojnarowicz, Cherrie Moraga, Layli Long Soldier, and with…

Course Type: 6 Sessions  |   Instructor: JM Miller

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Start Date: 07/23/2018 – 7:10 PM
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JM Miller

Janie Elizabeth Miller is a poet & essayist whose work explores environmental imagination & activism. She is founder of the anthology Ground Swell, a developing, online public forum for literary environmental activism. She teaches poetics at the University of Washington Tacoma. Her work has most recently been published in Written River: A Journal of Eco-Poetics, Tupelo Press (online), and Cimarron Review.

Photo by Brian Weiss

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