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Meet Our Teachers

Hugo House teachers are at the core of our goal to help writers become better writers. Our teachers are writers; they are selected on the basis of their active engagement in the literary world as well as their love of teaching.

  • Headshot of John Yunker

    John Yunker

  • Headshot of Noah Zanella

    Noah Zanella

  • Headshot of Andrew Zawacki

    Andrew Zawacki

  • Headshot of Amy Zhang

    Amy Zhang

Headshot of John Yunker

John Yunker

John Yunker writes plays, short stories, and novels. He is the author of the novel The Tourist Trail; editor of the Among Animals fiction series and a nonfiction anthology, Writing for Animals; and his plays have been produced or staged at such venues as the Oregon Contemporary Theatre, the Source Festival, the Centre Stage New Play Festival, and Association for Theatre in Higher Education conference. His teleplay Sanctuary was performed at the 2017 Compassion Arts Festival in New York, and his short stories have been published in Phoebe, Qu, Flyway, Antennae, and other journals. He is co-author, with Midge Raymond, of the mystery novel Devils Island.

Headshot of Noah Zanella

Noah Zanella

I am a nonbinary writer and musician from Chicago. I have an MFA in Poetry from Columbia College Chicago. I was the recipient of the 2022 Elieen Lannan Academy of American Poets Prize. I'm trying not to miss it all.


LinkedIn: Noah Zanella

Describe your teaching style!

My focus is always on generating work. No matter how far we get into the intellectual or the abstract, my approach is primarily concerned with the development of writing practices (what actually happens, day to day, as we show up to the page—how does the work get made?). There is also an emphasis on the training of one’s attention as being a part of the craft of writing. Henry James’s advice to writers: try to become one of those upon whom nothing is lost.

Headshot of Andrew Zawacki

Andrew Zawacki

Pronouns: he/him

A 2015-16 Howard Foundation Fellow in Poetry, Andrew Zawacki is the author of five poetry books: Unsun : f/11 (Coach House, 2019); Videotape (Counterpath, 2013); Petals of Zero Petals of One (Talisman House,
2009); Anabranch (Wesleyan, 2004); and By Reason of Breakings (Georgia,
2002). A former Rhodes Scholar and Fulbright Scholar, he earned his doctorate from the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago.
Zawacki has also published four books in France: Sonnetssonnants, translated by Anne Portugal; Georgia and Carnet Bartleby, both translated by Sika Fakambi; and Par Raison de brisants, translated by Antoine Cazé and a finalist for the Prix Nelly Sachs. Anabranche, translated by Sika Fakambi, is forthcoming from Éditions Grèges.
His chapbook Georgia was co-winner of the 1913 Prize, while Masquerade won the Alice Fay DiCastagnola Award from the Poetry Society of America. Arrow’s shadow was issued by Equipage in the UK, and Kaeshi-waza was published in Canada by The Elephants. More recently, Sonnensonnets appeared from Tammy, Waterfall plot from Greying Ghost.
His work has appeared in Poems for Political Disaster, Legitimate Dangers:
American Poets of the New Century, The Iowa Anthology of New American
Poetries, Great American Prose Poems, The Eloquent Poem, and other
anthologies, as well as magazines such as The New Yorker, The Nation,
and The New Republic.
A past fellow of the Slovenian Writers’ Association, Zawacki edited Afterwards (White Pine, 1999), an anthology of postwar Slovenian poetry, fiction, and non-fiction, in addition to editing and co-translating Aleš Debeljak’s new and selected poems, Without Anesthesia (Persea, 2011), assisted by a Slovenian Ministry of Culture Translation Grant. His translations of two poetry books by Sébastien Smirou, See About (La Presse / Fence, 2017) and My Lorenzo (Burning Deck, 2012), have earned him a National Endowment for the Arts Translation Fellowship, a French Voices Grant, and a grant from the Centre National du Livre.
He coedited the late expatriate writer Gustaf Sobin’s collected poems and serves as co-executor of Sobin’s literary estate. Zawacki has published criticism in the TLS, Boston Review, Chicago Review, How2, Jacket2, New German Critique, and elsewhere. He has held fellowships from the Salzburg Seminar, the Bogliasco Foundation, la Résidence Internationale aux Récollets, le Collège International des Traducteurs Littéraires, Hawthornden Castle, Le Château de Lavigny, and the Millay Colony, Saltonstall Foundation, and Bread Loaf.

Headshot of Amy Zhang

Amy Zhang

Pronouns: she/her

Amy Zhang is the author of Falling Into Place, This Is Where The World Ends, and The Cartographers (HarperCollins). Her fiction has been recognized by the Indies Next List and received starred reviews from Booklist and VOYA, among other honors, and translated into five languages. Her poetry collection, Small Birds, Blue Bellies, was the recipient of the Rosenfeld Chapbook prize; select poems won the Hansmann Poetry Prize through the American Academy of Poets.