Past Hugo Fellows by Year
Lili Gu is a poet and filmmaker passionate about exploring justice, liberation, and the human condition through storytelling. She studied poetry while in engineering school at Columbia University and went on to receive her MFA in Film Production and Directing from UCLA. Her work has received numerous accolades, screening internationally and on television networks such as PBS. This will be Lili’s return to poetry. Her writing works to uncover language away from the white gaze, speaking truth to power on themes of Chinese American assimilation, queerness, and intergenerational strength. She makes art as an act of love—toward visions of an imagined future in which all humans can not just survive, but thrive.
Ari Laurel is a fiction writer in Seattle who writes about decolonial futures, climate, and the Pacific Northwest. She primarily draws from her experience as a racial justice community organizer in Missoula and a labor organizer in Seattle. Her stories are politically motivated, reflecting a strong current of international solidarity, food sovereignty, land return, and ecological restoration. She is a 2022 Hugo House fellow, a 2022 Fernland Studios artist in residence, and a 2023 June Dodge fellow at the Mineral School. Her work has appeared in Ninth Letter, Passages North, Blue Mesa Review, The Conium Review, The Toast, Duende, and more. Her short story “Farewell Address to the Last Mango in the Pacific Northwest” won first place in Blue Mesa Review’s 2021 Summer Fiction contest. This story is currently part of a larger project.
Magda Manning (they/them) is a queer writer and educator from Taos, New Mexico. They received their MFA in Poetry from Sarah Lawrence College in 2019. They’re interested in exploring how language expands, and/or limits identity, and how it functions as a process, rather than product, of self-making. They currently work as a K1 teacher, play lots of cribbage with their mom, and live in Seattle with their partner. Their project is a manuscript of poems that explores the connections between landscape, gender, sexuality, transition into adulthood, the movement of home, and many other aspects of their personhood. They are sifting through their memories of memories of memory, wondering about accuracy versus truth, and what happens to a story when it gets written, when it gets shared.
In my writing, I amplify the experiences and stories of East African immigrants in an authentic way that also encompasses our complex relationship with culture, traditions, language, gender dynamics, and race as black diasporans. My style involves uplifting our culture through incorporating my native language Swahili and rooting my stories in its cultural and political context which continues to influence us and how we interact with different tribes and countries herein the diaspora. As a poet, I continue to be a voice that speaks up against injustice by drawing attention to incidences of hypocrisy and inequality regardless of who commits them or how uncomfortable the topic is. My purpose is to tell my story as a Kenyan African and immigrant through my own lens to help others understand our experience while striving for social justice.
Meera Vijayann is a writer and essayist based in Kirkland, Washington. As a writer who lives with a chronic illness, she is drawn to social invisibility within South Asian diasporic cultures, and the influence of mayam, the Tamil word for illusion. Her writing is shaped by the decade she spent as a development professional and journalist reporting on sexual violence in India and has appeared in Catapult, Entropy, Electric Literature, and The Guardian, among others. Her essay about how immigration laws separated her from her family won the Medium Writer’s Challenge Finalist Prize in 2021. Through her fiction, she hopes to gently peel away the nostalgia that pervades South Asian literature and dive into gaps in collective memory. She is currently working on her debut novel, which explores how the falsehoods perpetuated by America’s H1B work visa program affect two young Tamil immigrants.
James T. Washburn (he/him) is a gay, trans, and disabled Storyteller-Activist based in Seattle. His work is deeply inspired by his community and experiences at the intersection of identities. He is a multi-hyphenate artist, with works spanning from the immersive novella Sealed with Honey to Achilles + Patroclus, a chamber opera commissioned by the Seattle Opera. James takes inspiration from folklore, mythology, and queer history; his work focuses on discovering queerness in traditional stories and reimagining familiar tropes and archetypes through a queer lens. He is the Founding Artistic Director of Magpie Artists’ Ensemble, an artistic collective focused on innovative cross-disciplinary storytelling.
Scott Bentley received a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and poetics at the University of Washington, Bothell. He’s a curator for the Gamut literary series and former editor at Clamor, Ghost Town, and Pacific Review. His writing and art have appeared in yehaw, Submergence: Going Below the Surface with Orca and Salmon, Vote the Earth, and elsewhere.
Bentley will use the fellowship to continue working on his manuscript of visual and translation poetry titled Bwai \ Remapping. The poems rely on the images of animals and mapped territories to create poems where these animals and territories are sacred. This creative writing is influenced by the Yoeme bwikam, The Red Nation, Jessica Mehta, Layli Long Soldier, and our nonhuman relatives with whom we share the land.
s.c. bostwick is a nonbinary trans poet born and raised on occupied Puyallup and Coast Salish Territories in what is now known as Washington State. They received their BA in English from Western Washington University and their MFA in poetry from the University of Notre Dame. Their work can be found in Homology Lit, Dream Pop Journal, and DELUGE. They are currently working on projects that are concerned with family, transness, migration, power, and the construction industry.
s.c. plans to expand their long poem “nailbiter” into a book-length self-ethnography that will document the intersections of and divergences between lost (and found) heritage, migration, substance abuse, queer desire, and transness all within and under a colonial, cisheteropatriarchal state.
C.R. Glasgow is a nonbinary, queer, first-generation Being with lineage from West Africa, West Indies, and Americas. This Being serves as writer, spiritual psychologist, doula, and public speaker. Their work has been supported by Jack Straw, VONA, and Hugo House. C’s published writing has appeared in various forms in Butch is Not a Dirty Word, the Arrow Journal, Jack Straw Anthology, PsycPro, and Afrikan Wisdom: New Voices Speak Black Liberation, Buddhism, and Beyond.
C.R.’s collection of work will be a rite of passage for other Black folx to witness the ways we are constantly in dialogue with our ancestors—living, transitioned, and yet to be born.
Marguerite Harroldhas a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from Columbia College Chicago. She is a member of the Community of Writers and an alum of the Bread Loaf Orion Environmental Writer’s Conference. She is the assistant editor of American Life in Poetry.
Marguerite’s writing offers portraits of the lives of the people she has been, the people she has known, the people she encounters and the people she hopes to know. She tries to convey their stories, their culture, their ways of living, their beauty, their survival, and the lessons they must pass on. She seeks to create work that is photographic and precise in detailing the nuances of the image—work that pushes those images wide open so that everyone feels welcome and hopefully, viscerally moved by the experience.
Rebecca Marrall writes fiction and creative nonfiction for teens and adults, and lives in the Pacific Northwest with an adorable scamp of a dog and an unsustainable number of hobbies. She recently attended the 2021 Tin House YA Fiction Workshop and was selected to be one of the 100 invited writers to participate in the Write Team Mentorship Program’s curated Pitch-a-Thon event before being chosen as a Mentee for the 2021 Program.
Rebecca will work on a collection of personal essays about her experience as a disabled person who served as a caregiver for a parent with chronic illness while navigating the often inhospitable healthcare system in the United States. With a working title of It Shouldn’t Be This Hard, these reflections will explore personal truths about class, gender, and disability.
Troy Osaki is a Filipino Japanese poet, organizer, and attorney from Seattle. A three-time grand slam poetry champion, he has earned fellowships from Kundiman and the Jack Straw Cultural Center. His work has appeared in Hobart, the Margins, [PANK], Poetry Northwest, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, and elsewhere. He writes in hopes to build a safe and just place to live in by uniting the people and reimagining the world through poetry.
Our Archipelago, is a poetry manuscript about Osaki’s first trip back to the Philippines, his homeland. It is both a homecoming and a despedida, a farewell. Through a series of travelogue-inspired poems, he shares about his joy in returning home and heartache in learning why his family fled in the first place.
Brian Dang (they/them) is a Seattle-based playwright. They are currently a proud resident playwright with the Seattle playwriting group, Parley. For Brian, playwriting is an act of envisioning an eventual communing – of ideas and people in shared creation. Their writing has been workshopped with Pork Filled Productions, Karen’s Secret Army, Theatre Battery, and the Undergraduate Theater Society. Brian is also an arts administrator with Washington Ensemble Theater, passionate about educational equity, and on the side, they like to watch movies, revel in hopeless romanticism, pet cats, and eat bread. Brian is grateful for having somehow convinced the world they can read and write.
Brian will be completing a full-length play with the working title of murder by metaphor, which will engage with the tricky nature of finding agency in a capitalist nation state, and how theatre can sometimes reinforce the same relational power dynamics in depiction, representation, and poetics.
Cassidy Dyce is a native of Ashburn, Virginia, and moved to Seattle after earning her Bachelor of Arts in English at Christopher Newport University. In 2018, she continued her studies of literature and writing oversea by matriculating at the University of Glasgow in Scotland. Currently, she works as the writer’s assistant to New York Times bestselling author, Kwame Alexander. Her work has appeared on NPR’s Morning Edition. As a writer, she seeks to shine a brighter light on issues that confront minorities. Her goal is to foster literary inclusivity on a global scale while addressing struggles that exist among communities of color and other underrepresented constituencies.
Cassidy will be finishing her work-in-progress novel, Caricature, in which seven members of a Black Student Union are subjected to a vicious science experiment that causes them to confront and question their relationship with Blackness, their self-identity, and one another.
Clare Johnson is a dyke-identified writer/artist originally from Seattle. For her writing, she’s received fellowships from Jack Straw, Mineral School, and Crosstown Arts. Publications include Poetry Northwest, Shake the Tree, Raven Chronicles, and Roses, a book pairing Rilke poems with her drawings. Exhibitions include Hugo House, Storefronts Seattle, and Guy’s Hospital (London), where her 35-drawing project about childhood asthma is permanently displayed. Other major projects include a 2017 production of Our Town combining handmade art and erasure poems from Thornton Wilder’s script into gesture-responsive animations on a 360-degree screen; her Post-it Note Project, excerpted in the Seattle Review of Books with monthly lyric essays; and a participatory coloring sheet mural on a Capitol Hill dumpster. She’s working on three community projects: a poster for Sound Transit, temporary art for the AIDS Memorial Pathway, and more participatory art decorating fencing around a Tiny House Village for people experiencing homelessness.
Clare will be completing her hybrid form poetry manuscript, Will I live here when I grow up, which uses small, interwoven pieces mixing current life with themes of historical westward migration and family histories.
Frances Lee (they/them) is a nonfiction essayist and environmental justice communications strategist based in Suquamish Territory (Bremerton, WA). Frances’s creative practices are animated by a deep inquiry into the everyday practices and norms that structure the stories we tell one another as activists and justice seekers. They invite readers to examine the destructive ideologies we reproduce and perhaps choose a more humane path. Frances edited the anthology, Toward an Ethics of Activism: A Community Investigation of Humility, Grace and Compassion in Movements for Justice. Their essays have appeared in Yes! Magazine, CBC The Sunday Edition, Bitch Media, and more. They are the recipient of the Seventh Wave 2020 Bainbridge Residency and the Seattle Globalist 2019 Environmental Justice Investigative Journalism Fellowship.
Frances is working on a collection of essays drawing on their experience as an activist in local and national movements to consider the nuances of activist culture, critique its dogma, and draw out ethical practices and core values that sustain activists and organizers over the long haul.
Stephanie Segura is a Southern California-born poet and the daughter of Central American immigrants. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English from California State University, San Bernardino, where she drew inspiration from surrealist practices along with the desert heat. Her poetry explores a lineage of displacement through speculative testimony, audio transcriptions, and written recollections. She enjoys working with youth and has taught cultural enrichment for El Centro de La Raza. She will continue teaching youth at her newest home, Rainier Valley Leadership Academy. Her work is featured in Pacific Review Publication and Clamor. She holds an MFA in creative writing and poetics from the University of Washington, Bothell.
Stephanie plans to finish her first multi-media poetry manuscript, Open Door Behind You, a genealogy of generational trauma, memory, and dysfunctionality. The experimental writing in this manuscript examines what it means to inherit trauma and the ways in which it affects memory and the histories we pass down.
Arianne True is a poet and excitable human from Seattle and from the Choctaw and Chickasaw nations. She grew up in the Seattle writing community, nurtured by YouthSpeaks and the Hugo House, and currently works as a teaching artist with Writers in the Schools and as a mentor for the Seattle Youth Poet Laureate program. Arianne is also involved in other local arts communities, including performative mythology and Appalachian folk traditions. She’s queer, food-oriented, and passionate about her PNW home, and it all shows in her work. Arianne is a proud alum of Hedgebrook and of the MFA program at the Institute of American Indian Arts.
This year, Arianne is planning to complete an experimental manuscript that asks the reader to engage with the decades-long effects of child abuse and what it means to steal and reclaim bodies. The manuscript is a museum in experimental poems, including galleries, notes from the curatorial staff, and a gift shop.
Joyce Chen is a writer/editor/creator from LA who spent a decade in NYC before relocating back to the West Coast in fall 2017. She has covered entertainment and human interest stories for Rolling Stone, Paste magazine, Refinery29, the New York Daily News, and People, among others, and her creative writing credits include Slant’d, LitHub, Narratively, and Barrelhouse, among others. She has also contributed book reviews to Orion magazine and Hyphen magazine. Joyce is interested in topics like time, silence, and liminal spaces as they relate to agency, power, and intercultural understanding. She is the executive director of The Seventh Wave, a bicoastal arts and literary nonprofit that champions art in the space of social issues, and holds an MFA from The New School and a BA in journalism and psychology from USC.
Joyce is currently working on a collection of essays that examine the friction that arises from living with two sets of values that are often at odds with one another—the American ideals of independence and self-fulfillment and the Taiwanese values of family, community, and sacrifice—as experienced through different modes of time perception.
Shelby Handler is a queer Jewish writer and organizer living on Duwamish territory/Seattle. They are rooted to a diasporic lineage of home-making through language. Shelby is a founding member of the Jewish Voice for Peace Artist Council and a master teaching artist for Arts Corps and Youth Speaks Seattle, the city’s premier youth spoken word program. Their work has appeared in Gigantic Sequins, glitterMOB, and the Write Bloody anthology We Will Be Shelter: Poems for Survival, among others.
Shelby is working on their first poetry manuscript. So far, it is a collection of holes: gaps, breakages and splits foraged from family, memory and history. The poems, in form and content, examine empty spaces and holes to ask what it means to belong to a parent, a family, a people, a land. The work hopes to transmute holes into openings, widening them into apertures for emergent kinships to shine through.
Piper Lane was born and raised in Homer, Alaska, and holds an MFA from the University of Washington and an MA from Ohio University. She coordinated the reading series Castalia, cofounded the Black Jaw Lit Series, and served as prose editor for the Seattle Review. She teaches creative writing at UW. She has an affinity for collecting bones from tide lines and country rail road tracks, and her work explores hard characters, hard light, and the way landscape shapes and shatters small, isolated communities. She won UW’s Eugene Van Buren award for fiction and Ohio University’s LitFest Nonfiction essay contest. In her work, she interrogates the mythologies haunting the landscapes of home, especially disrupting Alaska as the ‘last frontier.’
Piper will be working on her first novel, What The Sea Will Take, about a family of fishermen, exploring how the reverberations of generational trauma and sexual assault ripple out within tight-knit and isolated communities. In the book, a violent and tragic fishing accident reveals the conflicted, slippery questions of loyalty, responsibility, and guilt. Ultimately a tale of survival, it also illuminates the complex ways history and land embed and weave through relationships.
Sasha LaPointe is a Coast Salish author from the Nooksack and Upper Skagit Indian tribes. She received her MFA from The Institute of American Indian Arts with a focus on creative nonfiction and poetry. Her work has appeared in Hunger Mountain, Literary Hub, the Rumpus, and Indian Country Today. Her memoir Red Paint is forthcoming by Counterpoint Press in 2021. She lives in Tacoma, Washington.
Sasha will complete a draft of her memoir, Red Paint. It is a memoir about resilience through lineage. The story explores the ways Sasha has survived sexual assault, PTSD, and other traumas, some lived and some passed down generationally. It is the story of how she moves through the world as a contemporary, indigenous woman, drawing parallels to the lives and experiences of her Salish ancestors.
Abi Pollokoff is a Seattle-based poet and book artist with work previously in CutBank, Poetry Northwest, the Spectacle, and Black Warrior Review, among others. She has been the poet-in-residence for the Seattle Review of Books and The Alice, a reader for the Seattle Review, and editor-in-chief of the Tulane Review. Abi is the events manager for Open Books: A Poem Emporium, the managing editor for Poetry Northwest Editions, and a content director in visual communications. Her MFA is from the University of Washington (Seattle).
With the Hugo Fellowship, Abi will be working on a thorough revision of her manuscript-in-progress. A feminist ecopoetics, this project explores the semantic and sonic relationships of body, landscape, and language as they exist in the world today.
Jen Soriano (she/they) is a Filipinx-American writer whose work blurs the lines between nonfiction, surrealism, and poetry. Jen’s writing has appeared in TAYO, Pleiades, Waxwing, and other journals. Jen earned an MFA from the Rainier Writing Workshop and is a 2019 Jack Jones Fellow. They are the recipient of the 2019 Penelope Niven Prize and the 2019 Fugue Prize for creative nonfiction. She is a contributing editor for Slag Glass City. Jen lives in Seattle on unceded Duwamish territory, and is a proud nanay to her 5-year old son Teo and their 1-year old betta fish Arrow. When not writing or mothering, you can find them developing strategies to make social justice irresistible and inevitable, digging in the dirt, or cooking up something in the kitchen.
Jen plans to finish her lyric memoir on colonization, historical trauma, and the neuroscience of healing. She will also start work on an essay collection on cyborg mothering, which will explore how science and technology disrupt conventions of “natural” womanhood, “natural” mothering, and a “natural” gender binary with fixed gender roles.