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Class Catalog

Browse 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.

For help finding classes, contact our registrar or call us at 206.322.7030.

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Spring Registration Dates

All registrations open at 10:30 am

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


Early Bird Pricing March 2 through March 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 Tools of Voice

One of the most effective ways in prose to, as Susan Sontag says, “preserve the works of the mind against oblivion,” is to craft a distinctive voice. Voice is made up of qualities that include diction and structural choices, syntactical…

Course Type: 1 Session  |   Instructor: Mitchell S. Jackson

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Start Date: 02/28/2020 – 12:00 pm
This class is full

Mitchell S. Jackson

Mitchell S. Jackson’s debut novel The Residue Years (Bloomsbury) received wide critical praise. Jackson is the winner of a Whiting Award. His novel also won The Ernest J. Gaines Prize for Literary Excellence and was a finalist for The Center for Fiction Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize, the PEN / Hemingway Award for Debut Fiction, and the Hurston / Wright Legacy Award. Jackson’s honors include fellowships from the New York Public Library’s Cullman Center, the Lannan Foundation, the Ford Foundation, PEN America, TED, NYFA (New York Foundation for the Arts), and The Center for Fiction. His writing has appeared in The New Yorker, Harpers, The New York Times Book Review, The Paris Review, The Guardian, Time Magazine, and elsewhere. His nonfiction book Survival Math: Notes on an All-American Family (Scribner) was published in the spring of 2019. He is an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Chicago.
Jackson is also a well-regarded speaker who has delivered lectures and keynote addresses at events including the annual TED Conference, the Ubud (Bali) Writers and Readers Festival, and the Sydney Writers’ Festival, as well as institutions including Yale University, Brown University, Cornell University, and Columbia University. A formerly incarcerated person, Jackson is also a l justice advocate who, as part of his efforts, visits prisons and youth facilities in the United States and abroad.

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The Path to Story

Over this two-day generative workshop with Jarhead author Anthony Swofford, you will read the first pages of a number of fiction and nonfiction works and discuss “the path” into the works for the reader and the writer. With a series…

Course Type: 2 Sessions  |   Instructor: Anthony Swofford

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Start Date: 02/29/2020 – 10:00 am

Anthony Swofford

Anthony Swofford is the author of the memoirs Jarhead and Hotels, Hospitals, and Jails and the novel Exit A. Swofford’s essays, reportage, and opinion pieces have appeared in Harper’s, The Guardian, Slate, and the New York Times, among other places. He has taught at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and West Virginia University. He received his fiction MFA from Iowa. In 2020 Knopf will publish his biography of Carlos Arredondo, a Gold Star Father and hero of the 2013 marathon bombing in Boston. He’s currently writing a feature adaptation of this book. His next prose project is a campus novel called Eight Great Atheists. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, the writer and photographer Christa Parravani, their three children, a fish with a host of names, a dog named Kingsley Exley Lizard, and nearby coyotes.

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More than Memories: Making Meaning in Memoir

Memories aren’t enough. We have to connect them to culture, to history, to zeitgeist—and then be as clear and specific about our unique perspectives as possible. In this generative workshop, we’ll open a number of creative doorways (and windows and…

Course Type: 1 Session  |   Instructor: Kimberly Dark

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Start Date: 03/07/2020 – 10:00 am

Kimberly Dark

Kimberly Dark is the author of Fat, Pretty and Soon to be Old, The Daddies and Love and Errors. Her essays, stories and poetry are widely published in academic and popular online publications alike.

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The Ultimate Craft Class: How to Narrate, Construct Character, and Build Scenes

In this two-day intensive workshop, Almond will lead participants through several essential craft lessons. Participants will learn how to create dramatic scenes, unforgettable characters, and an irresistible narrator. They will complete in-class exercises to help bring the lessons home. The…

Course Type: 2 Sessions  |   Instructor: Steve Almond

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Start Date: 03/14/2020 – 10:00 am
This class is full

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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Your Obsession is Your Muse: Don’t Fight It, Write It!

Most good writing—whether fiction or nonfiction—arises from a writer’s obsessions. In this intensive session, we’ll discuss how to explore our obsessions on the page, without falling prey to self-absorption or sentiment. We’ll start by looking at the work of folks…

Course Type: 1 Session  |   Instructor: Steve Almond

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Start Date: 03/16/2020 – 2:00 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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Where Your Story Starts: Doubt & Disequilibrium

Too often in our lives (off the page and on) we seek refuge in a sense of assurance and psychological stability. But our most intense and lasting experiences are ones that involve doubt and disequilibrium. So what happens when we…

Course Type: 1 Session  |   Instructor: Steve Almond

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Start Date: 03/16/2020 – 6:00 pm
This class is full

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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Lavish Syntax

The problem at the heart of writing a poem is the problem of dramatization. That is, how do we dramatize in language–an arguably limited means–the dynamics of thought, sensation, mystery, knowledge, and unsayability that often comprise human experience? In this…

Course Type: 1 Session  |   Instructor: Rick Barot

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Start Date: 03/24/2020 – 6:00 pm

Rick Barot

Rick Barot was born in the Philippines, grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, and attended Wesleyan University and The Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa.

He has published three books of poetry with Sarabande Books: The Darker Fall (2002), which received the Kathryn A. Morton Prize; Want (2008), which was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award and won the 2009 Grub Street Book Prize; and Chord (2015), which was a finalist for the LA Times Book Prize and received the 2016 UNT Rilke Prize, the PEN Open Book Award, and the Publishing Triangle’s Thom Gunn Award. He has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Artist Trust of Washington, the Civitella Ranieri Foundation, and Stanford University, where he was a Wallace E. Stegner Fellow and a Jones Lecturer in Poetry.

His poems and essays have appeared in numerous publications, including Poetry, The Paris Review, The New Republic, Ploughshares, Tin House, The Kenyon Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, The New Yorker, and The Threepenny Review. His work has been included in many anthologies, including Legitimate Dangers: American Poets of the New Century, Asian-American Poetry: The Next Generation, Language for a New Century, and The Best American Poetry 2012 and 2016.

Barot is the poetry editor of New England Review. He lives in Tacoma, Washington and teaches at Pacific Lutheran University. He is also the director of The Rainier Writing Workshop, the low-residency MFA in Creative Writing at PLU. His fourth book of poems, The Galleons, will be published by Milkweed Editions in Spring 2020.

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What a Day!

Picture books are beautiful venues in which to celebrate the joyous moments of our day-to-day lives. In this workshop, we will examine and discuss “slice of life” books: stories that focus on one day, or one event, rather than a…

Course Type: 1 Session  |   Instructor: Isabel Quintero

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Start Date: 04/01/2020 – 1:00 pm

Isabel Quintero

Isabel Quintero is an award-winning writer and the daughter of Mexican immigrants. She lives and writes in the Inland Empire of Southern California. Gabi, A Girl in Pieces (Cinco Puntos Press), her first YA novel, was the recipient of multiple awards including the California Book Award Gold Medal and the Morris Award for Debut YA Novel. She is the author of the chapter books Ugly Cat and Pablo (Scholastic, Inc.) and Ugly Cat and Pablo and the Missing Brother (Scholastic, Inc.). In 2016 Isabel was commissioned by The J. Paul Getty Museum to write a non-fiction YA graphic biography, Photographic: The Life of Graciela Iturbide (Getty Publications), which went on to be awarded the Boston Globe Horn Book Award. Most recently, My Papi Has a Motorcycle (Kokila), her latest book, earned the Southern California Independent Booksellers Association Award, along with multiple starred reviews. Her work can be found in several anthologies, and several print and online publications.

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13 Ways to Make a Poem from Your Life

A poem begins with the writer and ends with the reader, but it must travel beyond the life of the poet to give the reader a meaningful experience. Using exemplary poems, we?ll explore thirteen strategies to transform the events of…

Course Type: 1 Session  |   Instructor: Ellen Bass

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Start Date: 04/19/2020 – 12:00 pm
Registration for this class has not started.

Ellen Bass

Ellen Bass‘s poetry includes Like a Beggar (Copper Canyon Press, 2014), The Human Line (Copper Canyon Press, 2007), and Mules of Love (BOA, 2002). She co-edited (with Florence Howe) the groundbreaking No More Masks! An Anthology of Poems by Women (Doubleday, 1973). Her nonfiction books include The Courage to Heal: A Guide for Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse (HarperCollins, 1988, 2008) and Free Your Mind: The Book for Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Youth (HarperCollins, 1996). Her work has frequently been published in the New Yorker, The American Poetry Review, and the New York Times Magazine, as well as many other journals. Among her awards are a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, a fellowship from the California Arts Council, two Pushcart Prizes, the Lambda Literary Award, Elliston Book Award, Pablo Neruda Prize from Nimrod/Hardman, Larry Levis Prize from Missouri Review, and the New Letters Prize. She lives in Santa Cruz, California, and teaches in the MFA writing program at Pacific University. www.ellenbass.com

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Introduction to Personal Storytelling

Ira Glass of This American Life says, “Great stories happen to people who know how to tell them.” In this workshop, Moth StorySLAM and GrandSLAM champion storyteller Terry Wolfisch Cole will share effective and engaging personal storytelling tips and tricks…

Course Type: 1 Session  |   Instructor: Terry Wolfisch Cole

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Start Date: 04/22/2020 – 6:00 pm
Registration for this class has not started.

Terry Wolfisch Cole

Terry Wolfisch Cole is a Moth Grand-
SLAM champion whose story of running
away from home was featured on NPR’s Moth
Radio Hour and in Readers Digest. She has
told stories onstage at the Moth in New York,
Miami, and throughout New England.

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Mystery and Necessity

In Diving Into the Wreck Adrienne Rich writes: “I came to explore the wreck./The words are purposes./The words are maps./I came to see the damage that was done/and the treasures that prevail.” How can we as writers transform the layered…

Course Type: 1 Session  |   Instructor: Victoria Redel

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Start Date: 04/29/2020 – 10:00 am
Registration for this class has not started.

Victoria Redel

Victoria Redel is the author of five books
of fiction and three books of poetry, most
recently the novel Before Everything (Penguin,
2017). Redel has received fellowships
from the Guggenheim Foundation and the
NEA, and is on the faculty at Sarah Lawrence
College.

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Key to the Treasure Box: Writing Your Song

All it takes to write lyrics for a song is a few magic syllables for your chorus, which serves as key to open the treasure box of resonant details that build your verses. We will brood on some sweet anguish…

Course Type: 1 Session  |   Instructor: Kim Stafford

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Start Date: 05/09/2020 – 10:00 am
Registration for this class has not started.

Kim Stafford

Kim Stafford is the author of a dozen books of poetry and prose, most recently Wild Honey, Tough Salt (Red Hen Press). In 2018 he was named Oregon's Poet Laureate by Governor Kate Brown. He teaches writing at Lewis & Clark College, at Fishtrap, and at the Sitka Center.

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Conservation Issues in the Anthropocene

This immersive workshop, envisioned in collaboration with Creature Conserve and Endangered Species Coalition, will engage writers in conversation with scientists, indigenous experts, and conservation biologists to understand the history and reimagine the future of Salish Sea orcas and salmon. We…

Course Type: 1 Session  |   Instructor: Miranda Mellis

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Start Date: 05/16/2020 – 10:00 am
Registration for this class has not started.

Miranda Mellis

Miranda Mellis is the author of, among
other books, The Spokes (Solid Objects,
2012) and None of This Is Real (Sidebrow,
2012). She has a seasonal column at the
Believer called The Trinocular and teaches at
Evergreen State College.

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Layers of Landscape: Harnessing the Power of Place

Though we live in a world chock full of chain restaurants and department stores, on-screen communications, and cross-country airplane travel, we ignore the power of place at our own psychological and, increasingly, physical peril. Truly, place and landscape are active…

Course Type: 1 Session  |   Instructor: Joe Wilkins

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Start Date: 05/20/2020 – 1:10 pm
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Joe Wilkins

Joe Wilkins is the author of the novel,
Fall Back Down When I Die (Little Brown),
a memoir, The Mountain and the Fathers
(Counterpoint), and three poetry collections,
most recently When We Were Birds, winner
of the 2017 Oregon Book Award in Poetry.
He directs the creative program at Linfield
College.

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The Practice of Writing

What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever received? What do you wish you’d known when you first started out? In this class, Nunez will discuss her writing practice and philosophy, as well as offer hard-earned advice. Questions and discussion will…

Course Type: 1 Session  |   Instructor: Sigrid Nunez

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Start Date: 05/22/2020 – 10:00 am
Registration for this class has not started.

Sigrid Nunez

Sigrid Nunez has published seven novels,
including A Feather on the Breath of God
(Picador, 1995), The Last of Her Kind
(Picador, 2005), and The Friend (Riverhead,
2018), which won the 2018 National Book
Award and was a finalist for the 2019 Simpson/
Joyce Carol Oates Prize.

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