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Class Catalog

Browse Summer & Fall 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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Fall Registration Dates

All registrations open at 10:30 am

$500+ donor Registration: August 12
Member Registration: August 13
General Registration: August 20


Early Bird Pricing Aug. 12 through Aug. 26:

  • $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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Spiritual Memoir

Wendell Berry writes, “The significance (and ultimately the quality) of the work we do is determined by our understanding of the story in which we are taking part.” As writers interested in spirituality, we understand ourselves to be taking part…

Course Type: 1 Session  |   Instructor: Cameron Dezen Hammon

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Start Date: 10/29/2019 – 4:00 PM

Cameron Dezen Hammon

Author and musician Cameron Dezen Hammon’s writing appears in The Kiss anthology from W. W. Norton, Ecotone, the Literary Review, the Houston Chronicle, NYLON, and elsewhere; and her essay “Infirmary Music” was named a notable in The Best American Essays 2017. She earned an MFA in creative writing from Seattle Pacific University and is a writer-in-residence for Writers in the Schools in Houston, where she lives with her family. This Is My Body: A Memoir of Religious and Romantic Obsession, forthcoming in October 2019, is her debut book.

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New Fire: Reading for a Spark

All Levels | Taking our lead from the deep reading habit of rabbinic tradition, we will be opening the texts we read, and generating new work in dialogue with those texts. Beginning with close readings of provocative, poetic texts—work by…

Course Type: 1 Session  |   Instructor: Scott Cairns

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Start Date: 11/02/2019 – 1:00 PM

Scott Cairns

Scott Cairns is the author of nine books of poetry, including Idiot Psalms, Slow Pilgrim: The Collected Poems, and his latest, Anaphora: New Poems. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, The Paris Review, The New Republic, Poetry, and elsewhere, and has been anthologized in multiple editions of Best Spiritual Writing and Best American Spiritual Writing. Besides writing poetry, Cairns has also written a spiritual memoir, Short Trip to the Edge, a book-length theological meditation, The End of Suffering, and libretti for the oratoria “The Martyrdom of Saint Polycarp” and “A Melancholy Beauty.”

His new projects include Descent to the Heart, verse adaptation of selections from the writings of Saint Isaak of Syria. His spiritual memoir was just released in Greek and Romanian editions.

Cairns has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities, and was awarded the Denise Levertov Award in 2014. He is Professor Emeritus at the University of Missouri where he was the Curators’ Distinguished Professor of English, and currently directs Seattle Pacific University's low-residency MFA in Creative Writing program. Cairns is also the founding director of Writing Workshops in Greece, a program that brings writers to study and engage with literary life in modern Greece. With Carolyn Forché and Ilya Kaminski, Cairns leads Mystikós, a writers retreat on the Greek island of Serifos.

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The Professional Amateur

In insecure moments we can remember that amateur comes from the French word meaning “lover of.” To be uncertain is to love is to begin. Shunryu Suzuki, author of Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind: Informal Talks on Zen Meditation and Practice…

Course Type: 1 Session  |   Instructor: Shira Erlichman

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Start Date: 11/14/2019 – 15:00:00

Shira Erlichman

Shira Erlichman is a poet, musician, and visual artist. She was born in Israel and immigrated to the US when she was six. Her poems explore recovery –– of language, of home, of mind –– and value the "scattered wholeness" of healing. She earned her BA at Hampshire College and has been awarded the James Merrill Fellowship by the Vermont Studio Center, the Visions of Wellbeing Focus Fellowship at AIR Serenbe, as well as a residency by the Millay Colony. Her debut poetry book, Odes to Lithium, is out in September 2019. She is also the author and illustrator of the picture book Be/Hold. When not on tour, she lives in Brooklyn where she teaches writing and creates.

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Outside In: Two Ways of Thinking about Character

We’ll look at how character and point of view work together to shape conflict and emotional tension within works of fiction. After reviewing examples from literature, we’ll generate new writing in third- and first-person, and discuss how each technique shapes…

Course Type: 1 Session  |   Instructor: Tom Perrotta

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Start Date: 11/16/2019 – 14:00:00

Tom Perrotta

Tom Perrotta is the author of nine works of fiction, including Election and Little Children, both of which were made into Oscar-nominated films, and The Leftovers, which was adapted into a critically acclaimed, Peabody Award-winning HBO series. His other books include Bad Haircut, The Wishbones, Joe College, The Abstinence Teacher, Nine Inches, and his newest, Mrs. Fletcher. His work has been translated into a multitude of languages. Perrotta grew up in New Jersey and lives outside of Boston.

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All That Cages

Consider the power-pulleys of the world system and how they impact humanity—and poetry. What to write, how to write it, whose voice, what experience, what approach? We’ll look to writers like Milosz, Levertov, Ginsberg, Gimenez-Smith, Ali, Tretheway, Lim, and Hedge-Coke,…

Course Type: 2 Sessions  |   Instructor: Juan Felipe Herrera

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Start Date: 11/23/2019 – 10:00 AM

Juan Felipe Herrera

Juan Felipe Herrera is the 21st Poet Laureate of the United States (2015-2016) and is the first Latino to hold the position. From 2012-2014, Herrera served as California State Poet Laureate. Herrera’s many collections of poetry include Notes on the Assemblage; Senegal Taxi; Half of the World in Light: New and Selected Poems, a recipient of the PEN/Beyond Margins Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award; and 187 Reasons Mexicanos Can’t Cross The Border: Undocuments 1971-2007. He is also the author of Crashboomlove: A Novel in Verse, which received the Americas Award. His books of prose for children include: SkateFate, Calling The Doves, which won the Ezra Jack Keats Award; Upside Down Boy, which was adapted into a musical for young audiences in New York City; and Cinnamon Girl: Letters Found Inside a Cereal Box. His book Jabberwalking, a children’s book focused on turning your wonder at the world around you into weird, wild, incandescent poetry, is forthcoming in 2018. Herrera is also a performance artist and activist on behalf of migrant and indigenous communities and at-risk youth.

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Letting Your Characters Tell the Story

Fully imagined characters always produce a story. Trust me about that. When writers tell me they have trouble with plots, what I believe they’re actually saying is, they have trouble fully imagining their characters. In my Word Works lecture, we’ll…

Course Type: 1 Session  |   Instructor: Michael Cunningham

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Start Date: 12/13/2019 – 1:00 PM
This class is full

Michael Cunningham

Michael Cunningham is the author of the novels A Home at the End of the World, Flesh and Blood, The Hours, By Nightfall, and The Snow Queen, as well as a short story collection, A Wild Swan and Other Tales, all published by Farrar Straus & Giroux. The Hours won the 1999 Pulitzer Prize and PEN Faulkner Award, and was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award.

Cunningham’s fiction and non-fiction have appeared in the New Yorker, the New York Times, the Atlantic Monthly, the Paris Review, and other publications. A recipient of National Endowment for the Arts, Guggenheim and Whiting Foundation fellowships, he is Senior Lecturer in English at Yale University.

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Writing Without a Map

To write from an outline is to know from the beginning where you’re headed. But what happens if you dive in with nothing but some scraps of dialogue, an idea, or a gut feeling? To write without a planned destination…

Course Type: 1 Session  |   Instructor: Cari Luna

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Start Date: 12/14/2019 – 10:00 AM

Cari Luna

Cari Luna is the author of The Revolution of Every Day, which won the Oregon Book Award for Fiction. A fellow of Yaddo and Ragdale, her writing has appeared in Guernica, Salon, Jacobin, Electric Literature, Catapult, The Rumpus, PANK, and elsewhere. She lives in Portland, Oregon.

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