Eat Read Hugo

Eat Read Hugo 2020


Just as we have transformed our classes from live gatherings around a table to virtual sessions, we have reinvented our annual fundraiser to be held online. 

Hugo House was founded with the idea that writers need each other. In our physical isolation, we need each other more than ever. And we need you, because you understand how urgent it is to read and write words that will keep us connected. We hope you stay safe and healthy. We will continue to work on opportunities to keep our writing community connected.

Event Details

The virtual auction will begin May 7 at 5:30 pm and last through May 9 at 9 pm.

This page will be updated with entertaining new videos as they’re released.

May 9, 2020: 9:30 pm

Your generosity put us over the top!

Thank you so much for helping to make Eat Read Hugo such a success!

This was our very first virtual auction, and we are overwhelmed by your generous support. We exceeded our goal and raised $227,867 over the last three days to support Hugo House’s free virtual programming, as well as our events, classes, scholarships, readings, fellowships, and youth programs—all thanks to your generosity and commitment to Hugo House.

Your gift will translate into even more free programming for those in our community who so need to stay connected. Your support will reach people who are feeling the worst impact of the financial disaster. 

What we’ve discovered over our last few months sheltering at home, trying to calm our anxieties about the uncertain, unstable time we find ourselves in, is that Seattle needs Hugo House, whether virtually or in person. Seattle needs a place—even a digital one—to focus on words, especially right now, when our words are the best tool many of us have to weather this storm.

As our namesake Richard Hugo wrote, writing is hard work—a challenge that takes humility, honesty, and the courage to go deep enough to discover and reveal our common humanity. It is even harder to do in a crisis, and even more necessary. But we’re here to help.

On behalf of our board of directors, staff, teachers, students, and all the writers who come through our doors—thank you for believing in and supporting the work we do.

Yours truly,

Tree Swenson
Executive Director

May 9, 2020: 8 pm

Thank you to everyone who has supported us during our very first virtual Eat Read Hugo!

With one hour to go, we still need to raise $27,500 to meet our goal. Will you help us get there?

There’s only an hour left to bid at Eat Read Hugo 2020! Watch this video to find out what our final surprise item is, then follow the link to raise your paddle.

If you’ve been bidding on a particular item, it’s time to make sure you’re still at the top! You have one hour left to put in your final bids. Check your bids.

Don’t forget, all Raise the Paddle donations of $100 receive a one-month audiobook membership with Libro.fm. Donations of $250 or more receive a three-month membership with Libro.fm.

And we still have $2,500 to go on our $20,000 Challenge Match—remember, every donation of $500 or $1,000 will be matched 1:1. This means your $500 donation will be worth $1,000, and your $1,000 donation will be worth $2,000!

Help us reach the Challenge Match!

Thank you, again, to everyone who has supported our work during this auction. We couldn’t do it without you.

May 9, 2020: 7 pm

We’re in our final two hours of Eat Read Hugo!

This has been a season of many firsts for all of us. Our huge thanks go out to everyone who has embraced the unknown by donating or bidding thus far. We are profoundly grateful for your support.

Plus, we’ve got exciting news: We’re only $2,500 away from meeting our $20,000 match! All gifts of $500 and $1,000 will be doubled. Raise your paddle to help us reach our goal.

Below, check out the auction’s keynote offering: an exclusive interview with author Charles Johnson, conducted by Garth Stein.

With two hours left till the close, there’s still time to participate. Raise your paddle to support Seattle’s writing community—from its teachers to its students, from the writers to the readers, from the young people at our Scribes summer writing camps to the community members who come out to support local and national writers at one of our many free events.

Speaking of our youth programs, did you know that last year we gave out more than $7,000 in scholarships for underprivileged youth to attend Scribes?

Here’s what just a few of them had to say about the program:

By donating or bidding at Eat Read Hugo, you are directly supporting those students, as well as the many economically disadvantaged adults who receive scholarships for our classes. We thank you. 

May 9, 2020: 4 pm

Thank you to everyone who’s supported Eat Read Hugo thus far.

Click here to get to the auction website.

In this afternoon’s video, Karen and Fred update us on what’s going on with the auction, and Bushwick Book Club Seattle founders Geoff Larson and Wes Weddell give us a special, musical testimonial.

What Hugo House is about, more than anything else, is connection.

Every reader and every writer is engaged in an intimate transfer of ideas and emotions, from one brain straight to another. Our goal is to help you make those connections—with yourself as a writer, with other writers and readers in our classes or write-ins, and with the community at large at our events.

To facilitate these kinds of connections, we work closely with other organizations in our community—from Bushwick Book Club Seattle, Northwest Native Writers Circle, Clarion West, and Tasveer to booksellers like the Elliott Bay Book Company and Open Books to cultural institutions like the Northwest African American Museum, The Henry, and many, many more.

Thanks to Geoff Larson and Wes Weddell for the wonderful song and testimonial in the video above, and thanks to you—our supporters—who make all our work possible.

If you haven’t raised your paddle yet, there’s still time! Click here to donate or bid.

May 9, 2020: 1 pm

Thank you to everyone who’s supported our auction so far.

Click here to get to the auction website.

In the video below, emcee Karen Finneyfrock updates us on the progress of the auction, and auctioneer Fred Northup highlights more of our featured items. Plus, a special message from Hugo House cofounder Frances McCue!

Eat Read Hugo is made possible through the generosity of our sponsors and our many donors, in addition to bidders like you. We’d like to offer a special shout out to the following sponsoring organizations:

The clock is ticking down to the closing bell at 9 pm PDT. Get your bids in and add your support for Hugo House programs, including: 

  • Youth programs
  • Writing classes
  • Scholarships
  • Writers-in-residence
  • Free online programs, including readings, discussions, write-ins, and prompts
  • And more!

If you aren’t able to offer financial support at this time, we understand. You can still help out by sharing the auction with your social networks, or by sharing a great Hugo House memory with us on Twitter or Instagram at #EatReadHugo2020.

May 9, 2020: 10 am

A huge thank you to everyone who’s supported our auction thus far!

Click here to get to the auction website.

It’s the last day of Eat Read Hugo 2020! Emcee Karen Finneyfrock updates us on what’s coming up in the auction, auctioneer Fred Northup shares a few more of his favorite items, and Hugo House board president Dick Gemperle thanks our sponsors.

All auction items are still in play until 9 pm, so check back regularly to lock in your winning bids. If you have not had a chance to check out the auction, you can still join the bidding or raise your paddle today!

Remember, all Raise the Paddle donations of $100 receive a one-month audiobook membership with Libro.fm. Donations of $250 or more receive a three-month membership with Libro.fm. And every donation of $500 or $1,000 will be matched 1:1, up to $20,000. This means your donation will be worth double.

Check out this video to see our auctioneer, Fred Northup, highlight our 12 featured auction items.

Your generosity makes all our work possible—not just for our staff members, but for our teachers, too. Writing for the love of it doesn’t always pay the bills. Teaching at Hugo House is just one way talented Seattle writers piece together their writing lives.

May 8, 2020: 7 pm

Thanks to everyone who’s donated so far!

Click here to get to the auction website.

There’s one day left for Eat Read Hugo, and we’ve got a special surprise in tonight’s video: a multimedia piece by prose writer-in-residence Kristen Millares Young and Bushwick Book Club Seattle cofounder Geoff Larson.

In tonight’s video, we hear from emcee Karen Finneyfrock, Hugo House board president Dick Gemperle, auctioneer Fred Northup—and see a special interdisciplinary collaboration between two Seattle artists.

Collaborations like this are what we love most about our work. As Seattle’s literary hub, we are proud and humbled to be the place that talented artists come to meet, work with, and even mentor other talented artists. 

The current crisis has come as a shock to all of us, but it will not defeat us, and it will not defeat our mission. Art is necessary in times of crisis. Writing is necessary. We need to support our communities as best we can at a distance, and remember that each of our individual actions matter. What we do matters. Where we put our time, money, and attention matters. 

We’re grateful that you’re putting yours here. 

As our board president Dick Gemperle said so eloquently, “The world is always changing; language is always changing; writing is always changing. We look forward to facing the uncertain future with confidence, because we know we can count on you, our loving extended family.”

Click here to support writers at Eat Read Hugo!

May 8, 2020: 10 am

Good morning, everyone!

Day Two of Eat Read Hugo is in full swing. We’re aiming to raise $185,000 by 9 pm Saturday. Can you help us get there?

Click here to get to the auction website.

In this morning’s video, emcee Karen Finneyfrock highlights our Raise the Paddle incentives; writers Jess Walter, Elizabeth George, Claudia Castro Luna, Erica Bauermeister, and many more all share a little about what they love about Hugo House; and auctioneer Fred Northup previews a few items. 

In the age of COVID-19, many in our literary community are enduring a financial crisis at a time when their souls need nourishment more than ever.  

One way we’ve found to continue serving our community is to expand our free digital events and classes. If you haven’t yet had a chance, check out some of Hugo House’s special digital offerings—including the Solitude Social Club (tonight with poet francine j. harris!) and Quarantine Write-In with instructor Rebecca Agiewich.

To see the schedule of our upcoming events, click here.

When you give to Hugo House, you help fellow writers and readers stay connected in a time of crisis. Thank you! 

May 7, 2020

It’s time! Eat Read Hugo 2020 is officially underway.

Click here to get to the auction website.

Emcee Karen Finneyfrock and Executive Director Tree Swenson welcome us to Eat Read Hugo: The Virtual Edition! Watch the video to learn more about what we’ve been doing in response to the pandemic and how you can help out. To register for the auction and start bidding, follow this link: https://erh2020.ggo.bid

At Hugo House, we’ve always known that the act of writing is important. But in the midst of this crisis, writing has become a necessity—our words serve as catharsis, as documentation, as the historical record, as the path into making sense of our uncertain world.

To help out, we’ve been offering an array of free programming: virtual events, including book discussions and write-ins; classes for adults and youth; and at-home writing exercises, to name a few. We shifted our paid classes to the online platforms Zoom and Wet Ink, a move our community has embraced wholeheartedly.  

But to continue meeting the needs of our community, we need your help!

We’re also pleased to announce our Raise the Paddle incentives!

We have three great incentives to bid, thanks to our generous sponsors, board, and community members.

  • Donors who give $100 will receive a one-month audiobook membership from our sponsor, Libro.fm.
  • Donors who give $250 or more will receive a three-month audiobook membership from Libro.fm.
  • Every donation of $500 or $1,000 will be matched 1:1, up to $20,000. This means all gifts of $500 will equal $1,000, and gifts of $1,000 will equal $2,000!

April 30, 2020

Registration is free and open now! Click HERE to browse the auction site.

Emcee Karen Finneyfrock gives us a sneak peek into Eat Read Hugo—starting May 7 at 5:30 pm! Registration is free and open now; sign up and check out our first round of items here.

How to Register:

  1. Follow the link to our auction site and click “Start Bidding” in the top right corner of the webpage. 
  2. Create an account to log in and get started. 
  3. You’ll be able to start browsing items immediately, planning your bids for when the door officially opens at 5:30 pm on May 7.

How to Bid:

  1. Browse packages until you find one (or many) that you want to bid on. Bidding starts May 7 at 5:30 pm.
  2. On each package, you can bid an exact amount or outbid someone else. You’ll receive a text or email notification when you’ve been outbid on an item.
  3. For Raise the Paddle, if you intend to donate through a donor-advised fund or check, please contact Louise Kincaid at louise@hugohouse.org before the end of the auction.

April 23, 2020

Emcee Karen Finneyfrock welcomes us to Eat Read Hugo!