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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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Yearlong in Prose Section II

In weekly meetings over the course of the 2019-2020 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: Yearlong  |   Instructor: Peter Mountford

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Start Date: 09/25/2019 – 19:10:00
This class is full

Peter Mountford

Peter Mountford’s novel A Young Man’s Guide to Late Capitalism won a 2012 Washington State Book Award. His second novel, The Dismal Science, was published in February, 2014. A former Hugo House writer in residence, Peter is currently on faculty at Sierra Nevada College's low residency MFA program.

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The Telling Detail: The Art of Description

Introductory / Intermediate | Adding the right amount of detail to scenes is key to creating an engaging narrative. Too little and your reader can feel lost. Too much and she’ll soon be bored. In this class we’ll study how…

Course Type: 4 Sessions  |   Instructor: Joe Ponepinto

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Start Date: 09/26/2019 – 7:10 PM

Joe Ponepinto

Joe Ponepinto is the publisher and fiction editor of Tahoma Literary Review, a nationally-recognized literary journal, and teaches fiction writing at Tacoma Community College. His novel, Mr. Neutron, will be published by 7.13 Books in spring 2018. His stories and criticism have been published in dozens of journals in the U.S. and abroad.

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Ten Approaches to the Image

We will write back to images. The course will activate creative, political, emotional, somatic, synesthesiac, analytical, attentional, and game-like responses to images. We will create images with which to create words. We will talk about the difference between words and…

Course Type: 1 Session  |   Instructor: Anne Lesley Selcer

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Start Date: 09/26/2019 – 6:00 PM

Anne Lesley Selcer

Anne Lesley Selcer is an art writer and a poet in the expanded field. Blank Sign Book is a collection of essays moving though the tensions and potentials between art and politics. Sun Cycle, winner of the CSU Poetry Center First Poetry Book Prize will be out September 2019. Named for the star that makes vision possible, it investigates image, power and gender. She is author of from A Book of Poems on Beauty, winner of the Gazing Grain prize, a chapbook emerging from her multidisciplinary research into Western beauty. Anne Lesley’s art writing includes Banlieusard, a commissioned book-length text on media and sense memory for Artspeak and Untitled (a treatise on form) for 2nd Floor Projects, a limited edition pamphlet in tandem with an exhibition. Critical writing appears in Fillip, Art Practical, Hyperallergic, The Capilano Review, Open Space, the anthology New Media Art 2017: Back to Nature, as well as in several exhibition catalogs, the most recent forthcoming this Fall for the Mills College Art Museum. Poetry appears in Fence, The Chicago Review, and Action, Yes! among several other small magazines. Anne Lesley wrote a column for Jacket2 on “art resistant to the transformation of social life into a frontier market” and a series of essays for SFMOMA’s Open Space on language and the moving image. In Vancouver BC, she created the Chroma Reading Series for creative research, artists working in language, and poetry; she was an initiating and contributing editor there to the Public Works anthology of art writing. Her language-based video, sound and text pieces have exhibited at the Krowswork, Visible Verse Festival, Southern Exposure, T-10 Video festival, and on Gauss PDF. Anne Lesley’s practice has been supported by residencies at Krowswork, Mildred’s Lane and Southern Exposure, and in tandem with the Nonsite collective, by The Headlands Center for the Arts and SFCameraworks.

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I Would Never Say That?: Getting Real Dialogue Out of Your Characters

Do you dread writing dialogue? Do you want to enjoy it but feel it falls flat on the page? Do you love it in the moment, then worry it isn’t serving the story when you reread it? In this intensive,…

Course Type: 1 Session  |   Instructor: Mira Jacob

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Start Date: 09/28/2019 – 1:00 PM
3 seats available

Mira Jacob

Mira Jacob is the author and illustrator of Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations. Her critically acclaimed novel, The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing, was a Barnes & Noble Discover New Writers pick. She teaches at The New School.

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One-Page Fictions

Jayne Anne Phillips’s ‘flash’ or short-short fictions were included in her landmark short story collection, Black Tickets, published in the late ’70s. In this workshop on compression, rhythm, language, and the “spiral construction” of successful short-shorts, students will receive copies…

Course Type: 1 Session  |   Instructor: Jayne Anne Phillips

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Start Date: 09/28/2019 – 10:00 AM
This class is full

Jayne Anne Phillips

Jayne Anne Phillips is the award-winning author of the short story collections Black Tickets and Fast Lanes, and the novels Machine Dreams, Shelter, MotherKind, Lark and Termite, and Quiet Dell. Machine Dreams was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award and chosen by the New York Times Book Review as one of twelve Best Books of the Year.

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Say it Loud!

What are your origin stories? What are the textures of your world? Whose voices do you carry? What futures are you reaching for? Who will hold your stories? In this generative workshop, we will play and explore these questions by…

Course Type: 1 Session  |   Instructor: Ching-In Chen

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Start Date: 09/28/2019 – 13:00:00

Ching-In Chen

Ching-In Chen is author of The Heart's Traffic: a novel in poems (Arktoi/Red Hen Press, 2009), recombinant (Kelsey Street Press, 2017; 2018 Lambda Literary Award Winner for Transgender Poetry); to make black paper sing (speCt! Books, 2019) and Kundiman for Kin :: Information Retrieval for Monsters (forthcoming from Portable Press at Yo-Yo Labs). Chen is also co-editor of The Revolution Starts at Home: Confronting Intimate Violence Within Activist Communities (South End Press, 2011; AK Press 2016) and Here Is a Pen: an Anthology of West Coast Kundiman Poets (Achiote Press, 2009). Born of Chinese immigrants, they have received fellowships from Kundiman, Lambda, Watering Hole, Callaloo, Can Serrat, Storyknife and Imagining America and are a member of Macondo and Voices of Our Nations Arts Foundation. A community organizer, they have worked in Asian American communities in San Francisco, Oakland, Riverside and Boston. In Autumn 2019, they will join the School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences and the MFA in Creative Writing and Poetics at the University of Washington Bothell as an assistant professor. www.chinginchen.com

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Monsters I Will Be: Experimental Poetics & Politics

How do we, through poetry, take the monstrosities of modern life and politics and compost them into something new? In this workshop you’ll learn the “frankenpo” (Frankenstein poetry) method, which takes existing bodies of text, smashes them, and sews them…

Course Type: 1 Session  |   Instructor: Kenji Liu

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Start Date: 09/28/2019 – 10:00 AM

Kenji Liu

Kenji C. Liu is author of Monsters I Have Been (Alice James Books, 2019) and Map of an Onion, national winner of the 2015 Hillary Gravendyk Poetry Prize (Inlandia Institute). His poetry has appeared in American Poetry Review, Poetry Northwest, Gulf Coast, Apogee, and elsewhere, including two chapbooks, Craters: A Field Guide (2017) and You Left Without Your Shoes (2009). An alumnus of Kundiman, VONA/Voices, the Djerassi Resident Artist Program, and the Community of Writers, he lives in Los Angeles.

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Scene Lab for Memoir

All Levels | We’ll analyze successful scenes in published memoirs, study scene writing best practices, and revise a so-so scene in your current draft. Come prepared with a scene that’s not quite working—and we’ll figure out the problem.

Course Type: 1 Session  |   Instructor: Nicole Hardy

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Start Date: 09/29/2019 – 1:00 PM

Nicole Hardy

Nicole Hardy is the author of the memoir Confessions of a Latter-Day Virgin and the poetry collections This Blonde and Mud Flap Girl's XX Guide to Facial Profiling — a chapbook of pop-culture inspired sonnets.

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Fiction II

This class will build upon craft learned in Fiction I. Students can expect advanced readings, regular workshops, and feedback from their classmates and instructor. We’ll look at each other’s drafts with an eye to properly balance the elements of story,…

Course Type: 8 Sessions  |   Instructor: Richard Chiem

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Start Date: 09/29/2019 – 10:00 AM

Richard Chiem

Richard Chiem is the author of You Private Person (Sorry House Classics, 2017), and the novel, King of Joy (Soft Skull, 2019). You Private Person, was named one of Publishers Weekly’s 10 Essential Books of the American West. His work has been published by NY TyrantFanzine, and The Nervous Breakdown, among many other places. He was named a 2019 Writer to Watch by the Los Angeles Times. He has taught at Hugo House, Catapult, and at the University of Washington Bothell. He lives in Seattle.

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Write Your Memoir

All Levels | Is it time to tell your story, but you’re not sure how to begin? Are you deep in a draft but hitting a wall? Feeling unsure about structure? This class combines nuts-and-bolts instruction about the elements of…

Course Type: 6 Sessions  |   Instructor: Lisa Wells

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Start Date: 09/30/2019 – 5:00 PM
2 seats available

Lisa Wells

Lisa Wells is the author of The Fix (2018), winner of the Iowa Poetry Prize, and a book of nonfiction, forthcoming from Farrar, Straus & Giroux. Her work appears in Harper’s Magazine, Granta, The Believer, N+1, The Iowa Review, Best New Poets, at The Poetry Foundation and elsewhere. She’s taught poetry and nonfiction writing at the University of Iowa, the University of Arizona, and at Yale-NUS College in Singapore where she was a Writing Fellow in Residence. She lives in Seattle.

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The Art of the Question

Introductory | A seminar on the art of researching, writing, and refining questions to pose to subjects you plan to interview for upcoming work. We will examine how to write concise, enlightening, and specific questions; when to ask each question;…

Course Type: 1 Session  |   Instructor: Jake Uitti

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Start Date: 09/30/2019 – 6:00 PM

Jake Uitti

Jake Uitti is an award-winning writer whose work has appeared in The Washington Post, Alaska Airlines Magazine, The Seattle Times, Salon, Atlas Obscura, The Stranger and many other publications. When not poring over a keyboard mid-interview, Jake can be found rolling around the Emerald City in a 2003 Chevy Impala looking for the city’s best ramen or cheese pizza slice. He is the author of two books from Reedy Press: 100 Things To Do In Seattle Before You Die and Unique Eats and Eateries: Seattle. The son of two Ivy League professors, Jake grew up amidst books of poetry and French literature, but soulful meals and compelling music are his true loves.

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Writing and Publishing the Middle Grade Novel

Intermediate / Advanced | What makes a novel uniquely middle-grade? This craft-intensive class will focus on developing voice, plotting, character development, scene construction, and dialogue pitched for the middle-grade reader, as well as revision and the submission process. We will…

Course Type: 6 Sessions  |   Instructor: Kevin Emerson

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Start Date: 09/30/2019 – 7:10 PM

Kevin Emerson

Kevin Emerson is the author of twenty middle grade and YA novels, published by HarperCollins, Random House, Scholastic and Little Brown. His most recent releases are Last Day on Mars and Any Second.

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Book Lab

This yearlong mentorship program is for students who have completed a Yearlong Manuscript course or anyone with a complete manuscript ready for extensive feedback. Students will be part of an intimate cohort of fellow writers that work together and one-on-one…

Course Type: Book Lab  |   Instructor: Claire Dederer

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Start Date: 10/01/2019 – 17:00:00
Registration for this class has not started.

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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Cultivate Your Inner Editor

All Levels | Great, you’ve got a draft—but now what? Don’t just tinker, take a methodical approach to deep editing—from the conceptual analysis to line edits. Learn how to assess the shape and structure of your draft s to sharpen…

Course Type: 4 Sessions  |   Instructor: Leah Baltus

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Start Date: 10/01/2019 – 5:00 PM

Leah Baltus

Leah Baltus’ writing and editing career spans nearly two decades, during which time she has worked with poetry, fiction, essay, creative nonfiction, screenplays and many forms of journalism. She was editor-in-chief of City Arts from 2011 to 2018, where she had the pleasure to edit many of Seattle’s most exciting writers.

Previously Leah served as editorial director at Pyramid Communications, producing messaging and materials for leading nonprofits and philanthropies in the region. She founded and ran the nationally distributed zine RIVET for seven years and is a co-founder of the artist support nonprofit Shunpike. Prior to moving to Seattle in 2001, she worked for a Hollywood literary manager, helping to facilitate adaptations of books and magazine stories for the screen.

Leah grew up in the Detroit suburbs and studied journalism and creative writing at Northwestern University. She lives in the Hillman City neighborhood with her husband, a wacky French bulldog and an ancient fluffy gray cat.

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Yearlong in Science-Fiction

In weekly meetings over the course of the 2019-2020 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: Yearlong  |   Instructor: Nisi Shawl

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Start Date: 10/01/2019 – 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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