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Class Catalog

Browse Summer Writing Classes!

Hugo House: Your best source for online writing classes in Seattle and around the world.

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 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.


Summer Registration Dates

All registrations open at 10:30 am

$500+ Donor Registration (by phone only): May 18
Member Registration: May 19
General Registration: May 26


Early Bird Pricing May 18 through June 1:

  • $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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Write Your Memoir: The First Chapter (ZOOM)

This class will take place via video-conferencing (Zoom), Pacific Time. Introductory/Intermediate | Memoir author and book coach Ingrid Ricks will teach you how to open and structure your story in a way that grabs readers and lays the foundation for…

Course Type: 4 Sessions  |   Instructor: Ingrid Ricks

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Start Date: 07/23/2020 – 5:30 pm
This class is full

Ingrid Ricks

Ingrid Ricks is an NYT-bestselling author, writing coach, ghostwriter and speaker who is passionate about leveraging personal storytelling to foster healing, awareness, empathy and change. Her memoirs include Hippie Boy, A Girl's Story and Focus. Visit ingridricks.com.

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How to Write a “Modern Love” Essay

This class will take place via video-conferencing (Zoom), Pacific Time. All Levels | The Modern Love column in the New York Times has been a reader favorite since its inception in 2004. In this class we will look at a…

Course Type: 1 Session  |   Instructor: Theo Nestor

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Start Date: 07/23/2020 – 5:00 pm
This class is full

Theo Nestor

Theo Pauline Nestor is the author of Writing Is My Drink: A Writer’s Story of Finding Her Voice (And a Guide to How You Can Too) (Simon & Schuster, 2013) and How to Sleep Alone in a King-Size Bed: A Memoir of Starting Over (Crown, 2008). Nestor has taught the memoir certificate course for the University of Washington’s Professional & Continuing Education program since 2006.

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Summer Comics Intensive

This class will take place via video-conferencing (Zoom), Pacific Time. Intermediate/Advanced | This is a generative, standalone class for people who have at created least a few pages of comics. Students will create a collection of short pieces leading up…

Course Type: 6 Sessions  |   Instructor: David Lasky, Greg Stump

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Start Date: 07/25/2020 – 1:10 pm

David Lasky, Greg Stump

David Lasky has been a published comics artist since 1989. His earliest success was a nine page mini-adaptation of James Joyce’s Ulysses (self-published), which was reviewed in the Washington Post’s “Bookworld” section in 1992. In the 90’s he became known for the solo comic Boom Boom, and then collaborated with Greg Stump on the Harvey-nominated Urban Hipster. With writer Frank Young, he co-created two graphic novels: Oregon Trail: Road to Destiny and The Carter Family: Don’t Forget This Song (Abrams). Carter Family won an Eisner Award (the comics industry’s equivalent to the Oscar) in 2013, in the category of Best Reality-Based Graphic Novel. David has been a graphic novel instructor at Richard Hugo House, Coyote Central, and various other venues in the Seattle area.

Teaching Philosophy: Creating comics is a powerful communication skill that anyone can learn, no matter their drawing ability.

Writers I return to: Art Spiegelman, Robert Crumb, Stacey Levine, James Joyce.

Favorite writing advice: Don't wait to get permission from anyone to create, just do it. You'll figure things out as you go.

Greg Stump is a longtime contributor to The Stranger and a former writer and editor for The Comics Journal. His work in comics includes the weekly strip Dwarf Attack and the comic book series Urban Hipster, a co-creation with David Lasky that was nominated for a Harvey and Ignatz award. His graphic novel Disillusioned Illusions was published in 2015 by Fantagraphics Books. An adjunct lecturer at Seattle University and a writer-in-residence for Seattle Arts & Lectures, he has been teaching comics to students of all ages for close to two decades.

Past Student Feedback:
"I thought both David and Greg were awesome instructors. They made it a fun class."

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Writing the Op-Ed

This class will take place via video-conferencing (Zoom), Pacific Time. All Levels | The Seattle Times accepts brief letters for their op-ed page. At 650 words, an opinion piece requires more work than a letter, but stretches your influence much…

Course Type: 1 Session  |   Instructor: Kathleen Alcalá

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Start Date: 07/26/2020 – 1:10 pm

Kathleen Alcalá

Kathleen Alcalá is the author of a short story collection, three novels set in 19th Century Mexico and the Southwest, and a collection of essays based on family history. Her work has received the Western States Book Award, the Governor’s Writers Award, and a Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Book Award. She received her second Artist Trust Fellowship in 2008, and was honored by the national Latino writers group, Con Tinta, at the Associated Writing Programs Conference in 2014. She has been designated an Island Treasure in the Arts on Bainbridge Island.

Kathleen's latest book is The Deepest Roots: Finding Food and Community on a Pacific Northwest Island, by the University of Washington Press. In it, she explores our relationship with food and the land through research and numerous interviews with the people who bring us our food on Bainbridge Island.

Kathleen has a B.A. in Linguistics from Stanford University, an M.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Washington, and a Master of Fine Arts from the University of New Orleans. Kathleen has a great affinity for the story-telling techniques of magic realism and science fiction, and has been both a student and instructor in the Clarion West Science Fiction Workshop.

Kathleen was a faculty member at the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts on Whidbey Island until it closed in 2016. She still lectures and gives readings and workshops in creative writing.

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Analytical Creativity: Organizational Strategies for Writers

This class will take place via video-conferencing (Zoom), Pacific Time. All Levels | This course looks at practical strategies for organizing major writing projects, including backward mapping, design strategies, research organization, publication planning, and self-care. Students can expect to discuss…

Course Type: 2 Sessions  |   Instructor: Laura Da'

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Start Date: 07/26/2020 – 1:10 pm
This class is full

Laura Da'

Laura Da’ is a poet and teacher. A lifetime resident of the Pacific Northwest, Da’ studied creative writing at the University of Washington and The Institute of American Indian Arts. Da’ is Eastern Shawnee. She is a recipient of fellowships from the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation, Artist Trust, Hugo House, and the Jack Straw Writers Program. Her first book, Tributaries, won the 2016 American Book Award. Her newest book is Instruments of the True Measure (University of Arizona Press, 2018).

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Spells and Incantations

This class will take place via video-conferencing (Zoom), Pacific Time. A poem is a kind of spell, an incantation against apathy or agony, a call to wonder. In this place-based generative workshop, we’ll read and discuss various spell-castings, including one…

Course Type: 1 Session  |   Instructor: Maya Jewell Zeller

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Start Date: 07/26/2020 – 10:00 am

Maya Jewell Zeller

Maya Jewell Zeller is the author of the interdisciplinary collaboration (with visual artist Carrie DeBacker) Alchemy For Cells & Other Beasts (Entre Rios Books, 2017), the chapbook Yesterday, the Bees (Floating Bridge Press, 2015), and the poetry collection Rust Fish (Lost Horse Press, 2011). Recipient of a Promise Award from the Sustainable Arts Foundation as well as a Residency in the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest, Maya has presented her work internationally at the University of Oxford and in Madrid at the Unamuno Author Festival. Currently, she teaches writing for Central Washington University and edits for Scablands Books, and is at work on a memoir called "Maya and the Whales."

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Crafting the Contemporary Pastoral Poem (ZOOM)

This class will take place via video-conferencing (Zoom), Pacific Time. All Levels | How can the contemporary writer craft poems in the pastoral tradition without ignoring our increasingly complicated relationship with our planet? In this workshop, we’ll investigate how diction,…

Course Type: 1 Session  |   Instructor: Dilruba Ahmed

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Start Date: 07/27/2020 – 10:00 am
5 seats available

Dilruba Ahmed

Dilruba Ahmed is the author of Bring Now the Angels (Pitt Poetry Series, University of Pittsburgh Press, 2020). Her debut book of poetry, Dhaka Dust (Graywolf Press), won the Bakeless Prize. Her poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, Kenyon Review, New England Review, Ploughshares, and Poetry. Her poems have also been anthologized in The Best American Poetry 2019 (Scribner), Halal If You Hear Me (Haymarket Books), Literature: The Human Experience (Bedford/St. Martin’s), Indivisible: An Anthology of Contemporary South Asian American Poetry (University of Arkansas), and elsewhere. Ahmed is the recipient of The Florida Review’s Editors’ Award, a Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Memorial Prize, and the Katharine Bakeless Nason Fellowship in Poetry awarded by the Bread Loaf Writers Conference. She holds degrees from the University of Pittsburgh and Warren Wilson College’s MFA Program for Writers.

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On the Necessity of Radical Disclosure (Or: Can I Really Write that About My Mother-in-Law?) (ZOOM)

This class will take place via video-conferencing (Zoom), Pacific Time. Every writer faces a basic decision at the keyboard: How much of my own life, and which parts, can I disclose? Will my friends and family recognize themselves? Will they…

Course Type: 1 Session  |   Instructor: Steve Almond

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Start Date: 07/27/2020 – 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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Building Stories from Quiet Moments

This class will take place via video-conferencing (Zoom), Pacific Time. All Levels | When writing memoir, personal essays, or creative nonfiction about your own life, it’s easy to think that you don’t have enough adventure or drama to carry a…

Course Type: 4 Sessions  |   Instructor: Josh Potter

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Start Date: 08/05/2020 – 1:10 pm
This class is full

Josh Potter

Josh Potter is a writer based in Seattle whose prose is mainly concerned with the ways in which human interiority and physical landscapes relate. He grew up in Detroit, Michigan and studied journalism in Montana and moved to Seattle to work in outdoor education before earning his Masters in Fine Art at the University of Washington. Potter’s work attempts to reflect and examine his own complicity in colonial erasure as a white transplant to Seattle and the ways in which his own personal narrative is both inseparable and independent from national trauma. His stories and essays question how human conflict shapes geography. His personal essays have been featured in Guernica, Cascadia Rising and the New Limestone Review. His fiction has appeared in Driftwood Press, Sick Lit, City Arts and elsewhere. His short story, Snowdrift, won the JuxtaProse fiction contest in 2017.

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Write Like Murakami

This class will take place via video-conferencing (Zoom), Pacific Time. All Levels | Murakami’s short fiction is known for its anonymous protagonists, enigmatic conversations, open-ended mysteries, and for combining the surreal with the quotidian. In this class, we’ll explore what…

Course Type: 4 Sessions  |   Instructor: John Englehardt

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Start Date: 08/05/2020 – 5:00 pm
This class is full

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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Reaching the End

This class will take place via video-conferencing (Zoom), Pacific Time. Intermediate/Advanced | No matter where you are in writing your novel or memoir, it’s critical to put a clock on your story. Figuring out where the finish line lies provides…

Course Type: 4 Sessions  |   Instructor: Jennifer Haupt

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Start Date: 08/06/2020 – 5:00 pm
2 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, and she is currently working on an autobiographical novel that takes place in Haiti. She teaches at workshops around the country.

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Worldbuilding: Outside and In

This class will take place via video-conferencing (Zoom), Pacific Time. All Levels | All fiction writers engage in worldbuilding. For the first two weeks of this class, we’ll look at how to build exterior worlds, including the atmosphere that sets…

Course Type: 4 Sessions  |   Instructor: Scott Driscoll

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Start Date: 08/06/2020 – 7:10 pm
This class is full

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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Memoir Intensive

This class will take place via video-conferencing (Zoom), Pacific Time. All Levels | Spend three days diving into the memoir. The intensive will include lecture, discussion, writing prompts, brainstorming activities designed to get to the heart of your work as…

Course Type: 3 Sessions  |   Instructor: Theo Nestor

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Start Date: 08/07/2020 – 10:00 am

Theo Nestor

Theo Pauline Nestor is the author of Writing Is My Drink: A Writer’s Story of Finding Her Voice (And a Guide to How You Can Too) (Simon & Schuster, 2013) and How to Sleep Alone in a King-Size Bed: A Memoir of Starting Over (Crown, 2008). Nestor has taught the memoir certificate course for the University of Washington’s Professional & Continuing Education program since 2006.

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Getting Over Your Fear of Going Dark

This class will take place via video-conferencing (Zoom), Pacific Time. All Levels | “What do we do with knowledge that we cannot bear to live with?” writes Deborah Levy. “What do we do with the things we don’t want to…

Course Type: 1 Session  |   Instructor: Ann Hedreen

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Start Date: 08/08/2020 – 1:10 pm
3 seats available

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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Digging into the Details

This class will take place via video-conferencing (Zoom), Pacific Time. All Levels | This generative workshop will explore the power of detail and description in prose. We’ll consider the practices both on and off the page that help readers fully…

Course Type: 4 Sessions  |   Instructor: Liza Birnbaum

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Start Date: 08/10/2020 – 5:00 pm
This class is full

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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