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Class Catalog

Browse 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. All classes will take place on Zoom or our asynchronous learning platform, Wet Ink, for the remainder of 2020.

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 One-Sentence Memoir

All Levels | Dive into the murky waters of your life and emerge holding one glistening sentence. In this workshop, we’ll work on getting to the nut of the story of your life — or one of the stories of…

Course Type: 1 Session  |   Instructor: Miranda Weiss

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Start Date: 10/03/2020 – 1:00 pm

Miranda Weiss

Miranda Weiss is the author of Tide, Feather, Snow: A Life in Alaska, a Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association bestseller. Her science and nature writing have been published by The Atlantic, The Economist, The Washington Post, Alaska Magazine, and REI, and her work has been anthologized in This is the Place: Women Writing about Home, which the New York Times called “far-reaching and compelling.” Her essay, “A Fleeting Resource: In Praise of the Deep Cold,” was recognized as Notable by Best American Essays, and her work has been supported by grants from the Rasmuson Foundation and the University of Alaska. She lives with her husband and two daughters in Homer, Alaska where she explores tidepools, maintains a large garden, keeps chickens, harvests wild greens, and fills the freezer each summer with salmon.

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Renovate Your Story House (ONLINE)

This description has been updated from the print catalog. All Levels | Every manuscript is like a house — it needs a solid foundation, structural integrity, and good flow. But to turn your middle grade story house into a truly…

Course Type: 6 Sessions  |   Instructor: Julie Romeis Sanders

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Start Date: 10/03/2020

Julie Romeis Sanders

JULIE ROMEIS SANDERS has twenty years of experience as a children’s book editor, bookseller, and workshop instructor. As an acquiring editor for Bloomsbury Children’s Books and Chronicle Books she collaborated with many award-winning authors and illustrators including Aaron Reynolds, Victoria Jamieson, Rick Yancey, Dan Santat, and Laura Numeroff. She edited the Caldecott Honor book Flora and the Flamingo by Molly Idle and was the first editor for several writers who went on to create best-selling books that were awarded the Caldecott Honor, Newbery Honor, and Printz Honor. Julie also spent several years as a children’s bookseller, which gave her a deep understanding of how people buy books for children. For the past eight years Julie has worked as an independent developmental editor and workshop instructor. Her clients include writers, literary agents, and publishers. Julie also works with non-profit publisher Room to Read, where she edits books in translation and creates workshops for writers and illustrators in developing countries. In 2017 she traveled to Jordan to lead an illustrator workshop alongside talented illustrator Julie Downing. Julie is passionate about helping writers make their books the best they can be with creative, constructive, collaborative feedback at every stage of their career. To learn more about Julie, visit: http://www.editorialjulie.com

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The Art of the Fragment: Writing alongside Carson, Dickinson, and Sappho

All Levels | In this class, we’ll draw inspiration from the late fragments of Emily Dickinson (now available in online archives); Sappho, as translated by Anne Carson, and Carson’s elaboration of a Greek myth, Autobiography of Red. We’ll create our…

Course Type: 6 Sessions  |   Instructor: Deborah Woodard

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Start Date: 10/03/2020 – 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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Poetry of Abundance: Exploring the Contemporary Long Poem (ZOOM)

Contemporary poets have implored us to trust our patience with length in an age of bite-sized headlines. In this workshop, we will explore how the nuances, forms, and structures of long poems as meditations and investigations by writers such as…

Course Type: 1 Session  |   Instructor: Marcelo Hernandez Castillo

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Start Date: 10/03/2020 – 10:00 am

Marcelo Hernandez Castillo

Marcelo Hernandez Castillo is a poet, essayist, translator, and immigration advocate. He is the author of Cenzontle (BOA editions, 2018), chosen by Brenda Shaughnessy as the winner of the 2017 A. Poulin Jr. prize and winner of the 2018 Northern California Book Award. Cenzontle maps a parallel between the landscape of the border and the landscape of sexuality through surreal and deeply imagistic poems. Castillo’s first chapbook, Dulce (Northwestern University Press, 2018), was chosen by Chris Abani, Ed Roberson, and Matthew Shenoda as the winner of the Drinking Gourd Poetry Prize. His memoir Children of the Land (Harper Collins, 2020) is his most recent publication and explores the ideas of separation from deportation, trauma, and mobility between borders.

Castillo was born in Zacatecas, Mexico and immigrated at the age of five with his family to the California central valley. As an AB540 student, he earned his B.A. from Sacramento State University and was the first undocumented student to graduate from the Helen Zell Writers Program at the University of Michigan. His immigration case was used by the Supreme Court to justify the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) under president Obama. Castillo is a founding member of the Undocupoets campaign which successfully eliminated citizenship requirements from all major first poetry book prizes in the country and was recognized with the Barnes and Noble “Writers for Writers” award from Poets &Writers Magazine. Through a literary partnership with Amazon Publishing he has helped to establish The Undocupoet Fellowship which provides funding to help curb the cost of submissions to journals and contests.

He is the translator of the Argentinian modernist poet, Jacobo Fijman and is currently at work translating the poems of the contemporary Mexican Peruvian poet Yaxkin Melchy whose poems combine digital, environmental, and indigenous studies into a cosmopolitan melée specific to Mexico City. Castillo also co-translated the work of the Mexican poet Marcelo Uribe with C.D. Wright before her untimely passing.

Castillo’s work has been adopted to Opera through collaboration with the composer Reinaldo Moya and his work has appeared or been featured in The New York Times, PBS Newshour, People Magazine en Español, The Paris Review, Fusion TV, Buzzfeed, Gulf Coast: A Journal of Literature and Fine Arts, New England Review, and Indiana Review, among others. He currently teaches in the Low-Res MFA program at Ashland University. He lives in Marysville, California, with his wife and son.

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Pitch Your Passions (ONLINE)

Introductory/Intermediate | Distinguish yourself in the freelance marketplace by defining your niche. In this class, novice freelancers and more established writers looking to secure paid assignments with newspapers, glossy print, and digital media outlets will discuss niche markets such as…

Course Type: 4 Sessions  |   Instructor: Rachel Werner

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Start Date: 10/04/2020

Rachel Werner

Rachel Werner is faculty for Hugo House and The Loft Literary Center; a We Need Diverse Books program volunteer; and a book reviewer for Shelf Awareness. She has contributed print, photography and video content to Fabulous Wisconsin, BLK+GRN, BRAVA, Madison Magazine and Entrepreneurial Chef. She is also the founder of The Little BookProject WI, a community arts and nonprofit bi-annual collaboration. A passionate commitment to holistic wellness and sustainable agriculture keeps her a Midwestern girl at heart—and Madison resident.

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Jumpstart Your Poems & Prose

All Levels | Join us for a fun and lively series of prompts that include varied approaches to writing. You can expect prompts to help you move past writer’s block, activities that will challenge your typical approaches to generating new…

Course Type: 1 Session  |   Instructor: Dilruba Ahmed

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Start Date: 10/04/2020 – 10:00 am

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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(Re)Building Confidence as a Writer

All Levels | Have you struggled to call yourself a writer? Have you gotten stuck, lost your mojo, faced profound change, or otherwise retreated from writing and now want to find your way back? It might surprise you to hear…

Course Type: 4 Sessions  |   Instructor: Bonnie J. Rough

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Start Date: 10/05/2020 – 1:10 pm

Bonnie J. Rough

Bonnie J. Rough is an award-wining author, essayist, and journalist who loves the writing classroom, whether as student, mentor, or both at once. Her latest book is Beyond Birds and Bees: Bringing Home a New Message to Our Kids about Sex, Love, and Equality (Seal Press 2018). She has written recently for the New York Times, The Atlantic, The Cut, Washington Post, Slate, and many other outlets. Her previous two books, Carrier: Untangling the Danger in My DNA (winner of a Minnesota Book Award) and The Girls, Alone: Six Days in Estonia (named one of Amazon's Best Kindle Singles), are literary memoirs. Rough earned her MFA from the University of Iowa in 2005. She has taught in various writing programs including the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis and as faculty for the Ashland University low-residency MFA program. She has been the recipient of numerous grants, fellowships, and awards, with her creative work appearing in anthologies and publications including the Best American series, Modern Love, The Sun magazine, Brain, Child, the Seattle Review of Books, and dozens of other literary journals and magazines.

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How to Create an Irresistible Narrator

This is a Workshop for Democracy. The instructor will be contributing 100% of his teaching pay to the organization Black Votes Matter [https://blackvotersmatterfund.org/donate/]. The instructor asks that students pay Hugo House a discounted fee for the class, and contribute the…

Course Type: 1 Session  |   Instructor: Steve Almond

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Start Date: 10/05/2020 – 6:00 pm

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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Six Entryways into 2021

All Levels | How to write so your work reflects what it feels like to be alive now rather than what it felt like to be alive in 1921: 1. Brevity; 2. Journal; 3. Collage; 4. Remix/Appropriation; 5. Photo/Film; 6….

Course Type: 6 Sessions  |   Instructor: David Shields

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Start Date: 10/05/2020 – 5:00 pm
5 seats available

David Shields

David Shields is the New York Times bestselling author of sixteen books, including How Literature Saved My Life; Reality Hunger (named one of the best books of the year by more than thirty publications); The Thing About Life Is That One Day You'll Be Dead; Black Planet (finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award); Remote (winner of the PEN/Revson Award); and Salinger (co-written by Shane Salerno).

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Write Your Young Adult Novel

All Levels | Writing for teens is a unique challenge, but it can also be fun and rewarding! In this class we’ll discuss everything you’d usually tackle in a novel writing workshop — characters, pacing, plot, and tone — but…

Course Type: 10 Sessions  |   Instructor: Lish McBride

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Start Date: 10/06/2020 – 10:00 am

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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Yearlong in Sci Fi

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: Nisi Shawl

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

Nisi Shawl

Nisi Shawl wrote the Nebula finalist Everfair, and co-wrote Writing the Other: A Practical Approach, a standard text on inclusive representation. She co-edited the anthologies Stories for Chip: A Tribute to Samuel R. Delany; and Strange Matings: Science Fiction, Feminism, African American Voices, and Octavia E. Butler.

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Problems in Overwhelm

Your life — everyone’s life — is an unending, overwhelming flow of events and feelings and memories and experiences. In this class, we’ll explore strategies for narrowing and selecting our material. Through in-class critique, writing exercises, and studying examples of…

Course Type: 1 Session  |   Instructor: Claire Dederer

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

Claire Dederer

Claire Dederer is the author of two critically acclaimed memoirs: Love and Trouble: A Midlife Reckoning and Poser: My Life in Twenty-Three Yoga Poses, which was a New York Times bestseller. Poser has been translated into 11 languages, optioned for television by Warner Bros., and adapted for the stage.

Dederer is at work on Monsters, a nonfiction book investigating good art made by bad people, forthcoming from Knopf. The book is based on her 2017 essay for the Paris Review, “What Do We Do with the Art of Monstrous Men?” The essay went globally viral, was a Longform best essay of the year, and has repeatedly been cited as one of the most influential and insightful pieces of writing on the Me Too movement to date.

Dederer is a long-time contributor to The New York Times. Her essays, criticism, and reviews have also appeared in The Paris Review, The Atlantic, The Nation, Vogue, Marie Claire, Elle, Real Simple, Entertainment Weekly, New York magazine, Chicago Tribune, Newsday, Slate, Salon, High Country News, and many other publications. Her essays have appeared in numerous anthologies, most recently Labor Day. Dederer began her career as the chief film critic for Seattle Weekly. She has taught at Hugo House and the University of Washington, as well as residencies, workshops, conferences, MFA programs, and universities across the country. She currently teaches at the Pacific University low residency MFA Program.

She is the recipient of a Hedgebrook residency and a Lannan Foundation residency.

Dederer is a fourth-generation Seattle native. She lives on an island in Puget Sound with her husband, the writer Bruce Barcott, and their children.

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More Than Memories: Making Meaning in Memoir

The time of class has been updated from the print catalog. All Levels | 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…

Course Type: 1 Session  |   Instructor: Kimberly Dark

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

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 Personal and the Political

Intermediate | We’re living in politically tumultuous, grief-struck times, and poetry’s role as a catalyst for redress has never been more necessary. In this two-session class, we’ll spend one session looking at poets whose works illustrate the ways we might…

Course Type: 2 Sessions  |   Instructor: Rick Barot

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

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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Writing the Novel-in-Verse

Introductory/Intermediate | Verse novels combine the opportunities of poetry with the narrative arc and character development of novels. The inviting rhythms and white space on the page are particularly appealing to younger or reluctant readers. Explore what makes a story…

Course Type: 6 Sessions  |   Instructor: Joy McCullough-Carranza

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Start Date: 10/12/2020 – 5:00 pm
This class is full

Joy McCullough-Carranza

Joy McCullough’s debut young adult novel Blood Water Paint has earned honors including the National Book Award longlist, finalist for the ALA Morris Award, a Publishers Weekly Flying Start, and four starred reviews. In 2020, her middle grade novel A Field Guide to Getting Lost releases from Atheneum/Simon & Schuster, and a second young adult novel from Dutton/Penguin is also forthcoming. She has twice been a finalist for the Times of London’s International Children’s Fiction prize.

A graduate of Northwestern University’s theater school, Joy’s plays have been produced in Seattle, Chicago, San Diego, and New York. In the Seattle area, her work has been developed and produced at Macha Theater Works, FringeACT, Washington Ensemble Theatre, Mirror Stage Company, Live Girls, the Mae West Fest, and 14/48. She has taught playwriting for Seattle’s ACT and in San Diego at La Jolla Playhouse and the Old Globe Theatre.

She lives in the Seattle area with her Guatemalan husband, two homeschooled children, and a very sweet Australian shepherd.

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