Class Catalog

Browse Winter 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. All classes will take place on Zoom or our asynchronous learning platform, Wet Ink, through Winter quarter 2021.

If you would like to receive our quarterly catalogs in the mail, please contact us.

Winter Registration Dates

All registrations open at 10:30 am

$500+ Donor Registration (by phone only): November 20
Member Registration: December 1
General Registration: December 8

Early Bird Pricing November 30 through December 14:

  • $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 Image as Fuel for Writing (And Living)

All Levels | In this workshop, we’ll explore the art and craft of image-making. We’ll explore how developing a friendly relationship to image can help bring clarity and depth to our writing, as well as our everyday lives. We’ll begin…

Course Type: 1 Session  |   Instructor: Carrie Fountain

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Start Date: 02/06/2021 – 10:00 am

Carrie Fountain

Born and raised in Mesilla, New Mexico, where her family’s multicultural history is deeply rooted, poet and novelist Carrie Fountain is the author of three books of poetry: The Life (Penguin, 2021), Instant Winner (Penguin, 2014), and Burn Lake (Penguin, 2010), winner of the 2009 National Poetry Series Award; selected by Natasha Trethewey, she also awarded the book this praise: “With grace and a keen attention to the implications of history, the poems in Burn Lake grapple with what it means to be tied to a place, knowing that our own losses are not only what is taken from us, but also what we take from others. ‘A road is the crudest faith in things to come,’ Fountain writes, suggesting the palpable longing that winds through these poems.” Fountain’s YA novel I’m Not Missing (2018, Flatiron Books)—which explores issues of abandonment, first love, splintering friendship, and forging ones’ own identity—is hailed as “utterly captivating, suspenseful, character-rich gift of a book” by Naomi Shihab Nye, and was a Bustle Best YA Book of July 2018. Her first children’s book, The Poem Forest (Candlewick Press, 2020) tells the story of American poet W.S. Merwin and the palm forest he grew from scratch on the island of Maui. She is currently adapting I’m Not Missing for the screen, working on a second YA novel, and finishing a third book of poems.

She is the 2019 Texas State Poet Laureate.

Fountain’s poems often use narrative to explore the tug of the unseen on the visible fabric of our days. In the wise, accessible, deeply emotional poems of Instant Winner, she captures a contemporary longing for spiritual meaning that’s wary of prepackaged wisdom, while in the poems of Burn Lake, she explore issues of progress, history, violence, sexuality, and the self. “Writing poetry has always been, quite simply, about trying to make sense of the experience of being in the world,” she said in an interview on Austin’s NPR station; then speaking about being a woman writer and mother of two, she continued, “I believe it’s a really daring political act to write about our bodies and our experiences with children.”

About her family history, Fountain has said, “My grandfather’s side of our family has been in southern New Mexico since before it became part of the United States in the Gadsden Purchase. My grandmother on my father’s side was born in Mexico and came to the U.S. to escape the Mexican Revolution. My mother is Scottish and German and was raised in New York City. She met my father in the Haight in San Francisco during his one year living away from Mesilla, in 1969. After my father was called home to take over the bar, my mother told him to come get her and marry her. So he drove his VW bug back to California and picked her up and drove her back to Mesilla. My mother had lived in Queens and San Francisco. Anyone who’s driven I-10 from, say, Tucson to Las Cruces, can imagine what a shock she was in for. Mesilla didn’t have paved roads until I was eight years old. We lived in an adobe house with a pot-bellied stove for heat. As a kid, I spent nearly every hour I wasn’t in school outside. We’d fish for crawdads in the ditches that brought water from the Rio Grande to the crops and orchards of Mesilla. We were wild, roamed free, came home at sundown covered in dust.”

Her honors include the Marlboro Poetry Prize, Austin Library Foundation’s Award for Literary Excellence, a residency with the Frank Waters Foundation, and Swink magazine’s Award for Emerging Writers. She was inducted in 2019 into the Texas Institute of Letters. Her poems have appeared in Tin House, Poetry, and The New Yorker, among many others.

She is the host of KUT’s This Is Just to Say, a radio show and podcast where she has intimate conversations on the writing life with other poets and writers, including such luminaries as Mahogany L. Browne, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Carmen Giménez Smith, Ellen Bass, Marie Howe, Erika Meitner, Naomi Shihab Nye, Roger Reeves, Maggie Smith, Sarah Ruhl, Ada Limón, and Jericho Brown.

Fountain teaches creative writing workshops across the country, and for a number of years has served as writer-in-residence at St. Edward’s University, where she mentors student writers and advises graduates interested in pursuing a career in writing. She earned a BA at New Mexico State University and an MFA at the James A. Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas at Austin.

She lives in Austin, Texas with her husband, playwright and novelist Kirk Lynn, and their two children.

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Poems of Affirmation and Praise

All Levels | How do we, in times of loss, praise what’s left? In this workshop, we’ll explore poems that do just that: affirm humanity in the face of challenge and darkness. We’ll learn how these poems tick and talk…

Course Type: 1 Session  |   Instructor: Danusha Laméris

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Start Date: 02/07/2021 – 1:10 pm
This class is full

Danusha Laméris

Danusha Laméris’ first book, The Moons of August (Autumn House, 2014), was chosen by Naomi Shihab Nye as the winner of the Autumn House Press poetry prize. Some of her poems have been published in The Best American Poetry, The New York Times, The American Poetry Review, The Gettysburg Review, Ploughshares, and Tin House. She’s the author of Bonfire Opera, (University of Pittsburgh Press, Pitt Poetry Series, 2020), and the recipient of the 2020 Lucille Clifton Legacy Award. Danusha teaches poetry independently, and was the 2018-2020 Poet Laureate of Santa Cruz County, California.

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Using Fabulism in Nonfiction & Memoir

All Levels | Fabulism is often the domain of fiction. Yet, fantastical descriptions can aid the reader’s imagination and extend metaphor for the sake of understanding. So why not use the fantastical in nonfiction? Particularly in memoir, where writers seek…

Course Type: 1 Session  |   Instructor: Kimberly Dark

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Start Date: 02/07/2021 – 1:10 pm

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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Interpreter of Maladies

All Levels | Jhumpa Lahiri’s Interpreter of Maladies not only brought her fame as a new writer but also brought international focus to South Asian American writing and culture. We will explore several short stories in this collection in depth…

Course Type: 1 Session  |   Instructor: Nalini Iyer

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Start Date: 02/07/2021 – 1:10 pm

Nalini Iyer

Nalini Iyer is a Professor of English at Seattle University and is the co-author of Roots and Reflections: South Asians in the Pacific Northwest. She has also co-edited two other books, Other Tongues: Rethinking the Language Debates in India; Revisiting India’s Partition: New Essays on Memory, Culture, and Politics. She teaches postcolonial Anglophone and diasporic literatures from South Asia and Africa and is a frequent book reviewer for the International Examiner.

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Why Show Don’t Tell is a Crock

All Levels | “Show, don’t tell” is a slogan cited like scripture. It also might be the single most destructive piece of advice writers ever receive. In this seminar, participants will look at concrete examples of how the “show, don’t…

Course Type: 1 Session  |   Instructor: Steve Almond

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Start Date: 02/08/2021 – 5:00 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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Sad Songs

All Levels | What is it about sad songs that make us listen over and over? What are the words that evoke our own sadness and make us feel seen? In this craft class, we’ll break down the structures, movements,…

Course Type: 1 Session  |   Instructor: Gabrielle Bates & Paulette Perhach

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Start Date: 02/13/2021 – 1:10 pm

Gabrielle Bates & Paulette Perhach

Gabrielle Bates is a writer and visual artist originally from Birmingham, Alabama.

Her work has appeared in the New Yorker, Poetry Magazine, Virginia Quarterly Review, New England Review, jubilat, Gulf Coast, Mississippi Review, Black Warrior Review, the Best of the Net anthology, and BAX: Best American Experimental Writing, and her poetry comics have been featured internationally in a variety of exhibitions, festivals, and conferences.

Formerly the managing editor of the Seattle Review and a contributing editor for Poetry Northwest, Gabrielle currently serves as the Social Media Manager of Open Books: A Poem Emporium, a contributing editor for Bull City Press, and a University of Washington teaching fellow. She also volunteers as a poetry mentor through the Adroit teen mentorship program and teaches occasionally as a spotlight author through Seattle's Writers in the Schools (WITS). With Luther Hughes and Dujie Tahat, she cohosts the podcast The Poet Salon.

Manuscripts-in-progress include a poetry collection, a novel, and a collection of poetry comics / illustrated collaborations.

For their support of her work, financial and otherwise, she is grateful to the Bread Loaf Writers Conference, Artist Trust, Hugo House, Auburn University, and the University of Washington.

Paulette Perhach’s writing has been published in the New York Times, Elle, Vice, Slate, Inc., McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Hobart, Vice, Yoga Journal, Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, Glamour, and The Stranger. She’s worked for Health and Coastal Living magazines, as well as various newspapers. In 2013, Hugo House selected her as a Made at Hugo House Fellow.

She received the 2016 BlogHer Voices of the Year award for her essay, “A Story of a Fuck Off Fund,” which is anthologized in The Future is Feminist from Chronicle Books, along with work by Roxane Gay, Mindy Kaling, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Caitlin Moran, and Audre Lorde.

A returned Peace Corps Volunteer, she’s also won multiple Solas Awards for her travel writing.

In 2015 she created the Writer’s Welcome Kit, the online course sold through Hugo House, which includes a 55,000-word workbook, writer’s templates, and writer interviews. To date, more than 600 students have taken the course.

Her book, Welcome to the Writer's Life, was published by Sasquatch Books, part of the Penguin Random House publishing family, and was selected as one of Poets & Writers' Best Books for Writers.

She blogs about everything a writer needs to thrive – craft, personal finance, business skills, and joy – at WelcomeToTheWritersLife.com. The site also offers a newsletter with a year of daily writing prompts.

She keeps a casual podcast about creativity and money called Can We Talk About Money?

Learn more and read her work at PaulettePerhach.com.

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How to Hook Your Reader

Intermediate | You want to grab your reader’s interest and not let go, but how do you do it? Whether you’re writing memoir or fiction, you’ve got a story to tell — and it needs to get heard. Come spend…

Course Type: 1 Session  |   Instructor: Susan Meyers

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Start Date: 02/13/2021 – 1:10 pm
2 seats available

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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Just Like a Novel! Creating Urgent Scenes in Memoir

All Levels | What does it mean to create a scene that urges the reader onward? How does one incorporate scene into a larger narrative? (And what exactly is a scene?) This class is for those who want their story…

Course Type: 1 Session  |   Instructor: Christine Hemp

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Start Date: 02/14/2021 – 10:00 am

Christine Hemp

Christine Hemp has aired her essays and poems on NPR’s Morning Edition, and a poem of hers has traveled billions of miles on a NASA mission to monitor the pre-natal activity of stars. She is a speaker for the Humanities Washington Speakers Bureau and TEDx. Hemp is the author of That Fall (poems) and Wild Ride Home: Love, Loss and a Little White Horse, A Family Memoir. Her work has appeared recently in the New York Times, Psychology Today, and Tupelo Quarterly.

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The Ladder of Love: Writing Platonic Relationships

All Levels | Gail Caldwell once noted that “writing about a friendship that flourished within the realm of connection and routine has all the components of trying to capture air. We were the lattice that made room for the rose.”…

Course Type: 1 Session  |   Instructor: Jaimie Li

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Start Date: 02/14/2021 – 10:00 am

Jaimie Li

JAIMIE LI is a contributing writer at Poetry Northwest and Darling Magazine and the Editor-in-chief of the Spring 2020 issue of The Pitkin Review. She is an MFA candidate at Goddard College and the recipient of the 2019 Goddard/PEN North American Centers Scholarship for her work in fiction and memoir. In 2011, she received her BA in Law at Balliol College, Oxford University. She grew up in Los Angeles County and currently lives on the Cedar River in Maple Valley, WA. www.jaimiezongli.com

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Six Poems Six Ways

All Levels | We will write six poems (or more!) in six weeks, focusing on six poetic types: elegy, epistle (letter poem), imitation, ode, panegyric (praise/celebration), and prose poem. We’ll work in lyric and narrative modes, try experimental and nonce…

Course Type: 6 Sessions  |   Instructor: Carolyne Wright

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Start Date: 02/18/2021 – 1:10 pm
3 seats available

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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Playwriting: Diving into Dialogue

All Levels | Shape the dialogue of your play by building and creating compelling characters, exploring voice, and driving your plot forward through your characters’ behaviors and choices. Each week, we’ll read and discuss one scene by a contemporary playwright,…

Course Type: 6 Sessions  |   Instructor: Danielle Mohlman

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Start Date: 02/20/2021 – 1:10 pm

Danielle Mohlman

Danielle Mohlman is a nationally produced playwright based in Seattle, WA. Her plays have been developed at Arena Stage, the Kennedy Center, the Cherry Lane Theatre, the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, Cygnet Theatre, Rorschach Theatre, Field Trip Theatre, Umbrella Project, Youth Theatre Northwest, The Scratch & Really Really Theatre Group, and Seattle Public Theater, among others. Danielle is an alumna of Playwrights’ Arena at Arena Stage, the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities Artist Fellowship, and the Umbrella Project Writers Group. She is a proud graduate of both Cal Poly Pomona and Emerson College. She is currently developing multiple projects for theatre, film, and audio.

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Graphic Novel Memoir

Intermediate | A personal story gains added power when told in comics form. Two experienced graphic novelists will guide you through the process of creating several short comics, leading up to a finished story. We’ll look at masterful examples while…

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

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Start Date: 02/20/2021 – 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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Driving In the Dark: A Novel Revision Workshop

Intermediate | You’ve finished a crummy first draft of your novel. Now what? In this workshop, students will map out a plan for making significant progress toward more polished drafts while giving and receiving constructive feedback. Craft talks will address…

Course Type: 6 Sessions  |   Instructor: Naomi Jackson

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Start Date: 02/20/2021 – 10:00 am
2 seats available

Naomi Jackson

Naomi Jackson is author of The Star Side of Bird Hill, published by Penguin Press in June 2015. The Star Side of Bird Hill was nominated for an NAACP Image Award and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award and longlisted for the National Book Critics Circle’s John Leonard Prize, the Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize, and the International Dublin Literary Award. Star Side was named an Honor Book for Fiction by the Black Caucus of the American Library Association. It was also selected for the American Booksellers Association’s Indies Introduce and Indies Next List programs. The book has been reviewed by The New York Times, The New Yorker, Kirkus Reviews, NPR.org and Entertainment Weekly, which called Star Side “a gem of a book.” Publishers Weekly named Jackson a Writer to Watch.

Jackson studied fiction at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She traveled to South Africa on a Fulbright scholarship, where she received an M.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Cape Town. A graduate of Williams College, her work has appeared in literary journals and magazines in the United States and abroad, including Harper’s, The Washington Post, brilliant corners, Poets & Writers, and The Caribbean Writer. She is the recipient of residencies and fellowships from Bread Loaf, MacDowell Colony, Djerassi, the University of Pennsylvania’s Kelly Writers House, Hedgebrook, the New York Foundation for the Arts, Bronx Council on the Arts and the Camargo Foundation.

Jackson is Assistant Professor of English at Rutgers University-Newark. She was the 2018-19 Writer-in-Residence at Queens College and previously taught at the University of Iowa, University of Pennsylvania, City College of New York, and Oberlin College.

Jackson was born and raised in Brooklyn by West Indian parents.

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Plays for Poets: Writing alongside Samuel Beckett and Carlos Sirah

All Levels | We’ll read Beckett’s short experimental plays and Sirah’s debut collection, which moves between dialogue and poetry, in order to draw inspiration for our own theater of ideas (whether in play, prose or verse format, or hybrid form)….

Course Type: 6 Sessions  |   Instructor: Deborah Woodard

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Start Date: 02/20/2021 – 1:10 pm
This class is full

Deborah Woodard

Deborah Woodard's first full-length collection, Plato's Bad Horse, appeared in 2006 (Bear Star Press). Her new collection, Borrowed Tales, was recently published by Stockport Flats.

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Hermit Crab Forms for Poets & Prose Writers

Introductory | This mixed-genre class will explore “hermit crab” forms for our poems, prose, and prose poems! Just as a hermit crab adapts to various “homes,” we’ll write about our experiences using the language and architecture of borrowed forms: instruction…

Course Type: 1 Session  |   Instructor: Dilruba Ahmed

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Start Date: 02/20/2021 – 10:00 am
This class is full

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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