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Teachers

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 Elizabeth Beechwood

    Elizabeth Beechwood

  • Headshot of Andrew Bell

    Andrew Bell

  • Headshot of Jeff Bender

    Jeff Bender

  • Headshot of Soumeya Bendimerad Roberts

    Soumeya Bendimerad Roberts

  • Hugo House logo

    Christina Berke

  • Headshot of Misha Berson

    Misha Berson

  • Headshot of Grace Bialecki

    Grace Bialecki

  • Headshot of Courtney Bird

    Courtney Bird

  • Headshot of Liza Birnbaum

    Liza Birnbaum

  • Headshot of Margarita Borrero

    Margarita Borrero

  • Headshot of Amy Bowers

    Amy Bowers

  • Headshot of Sabra Boyd

    Sabra Boyd

  • Headshot of Hannah Brancato

    Hannah Brancato

  • Headshot of Isabella Bravo

    Isabella Bravo

  • Headshot of Lynn Breedlove

    Lynn Breedlove

  • Headshot of Susan Briante

    Susan Briante

  • Headshot of Sara Brickman

    Sara Brickman

  • Headshot of Stephanie K. Brownell

    Stephanie K. Brownell

  • Headshot of Marci Calabretta Cancio-Bello

    Marci Calabretta Cancio-Bello

  • Headshot of Gabrielle Calvocoressi

    Gabrielle Calvocoressi

  • Headshot of Lauren Camp

    Lauren Camp

  • Headshot of Tara Campbell

    Tara Campbell

  • Hugo House logo

    Caylin Capra-Thomas

  • Headshot of Kate Carmody

    Kate Carmody

Headshot of Elizabeth Beechwood

Elizabeth Beechwood

Pronouns: she/her

Elizabeth Beechwood is your typical scarf-knitting, bird-feeding tree hugger who lives on the western fringes of Portland, Oregon. When she writes, she starts with regular people with regular lives…but then something strange happens. Whether it’s fiction, fantasy, magical realism, or genre-bending, you can count on something just a little peculiar from her stories. Her Pushcart-nominated fiction has been published in Nightscape Press’s award-winning anthology Nox Pareidolia, Third Flatiron’s Hidden Histories, Not a Pipe Publishing’s The Year of Publishing Women’s Short Stories series, Crossed Genres, and Every Day Fiction. Elizabeth earned an MFA in Popular Fiction at the University of Southern Maine’s Stonecoast program and a Copyediting Certificate from UC San Diego Extension’s Copyediting Certificate Program. She’s a member of SWFA and ACES. You can keep up with her shenanigans at www.elizabethbeechwood.com

Headshot of Andrew Bell

Andrew Bell

Andrew Bell is an award-winning filmmaker, writer, and educator from the Pacific Northwest. His short film work has played at festivals worldwide and is broadcast internationally on ShortsTV, BloodydisgustingTV, and streaming on CryptTV. He is currently working on his first feature film and doing what he loves most—mentoring young writers, actors, and filmmakers. He holds an MFA from Columbia University.

Headshot of Jeff Bender

Jeff Bender

Pronouns: he, him, his

Jeff Bender is a graduate of Columbia's MFA program and winner of Hugo House's New Works Competition. His fiction and humor have appeared in McSweeney's, Electric Literature, The Iowa Review, Guernica, Points in Case, Slackjaw, and Little Old Lady Comedy.

Describe your teaching style.

I have a plan but try to listen to the group as much as possible and let the personality of the class influence what we do.

Headshot of Soumeya Bendimerad Roberts

Soumeya Bendimerad Roberts

Soumeya Bendimerad Roberts is a literary agent and VP, Foreign Rights, at HG Literary. 

In fiction, Soumeya is seeking literary and upmarket novels and collections, and also represents realistic young-adult and middle-grade. She likes books with vivid voices and compelling, well-developed story-telling, and is particularly interested in narratives by people of color and fiction that reflects on the post-colonial world. She's currently on the hunt for narratives set in enclosed settings, stylized literary takes on genre (especially literary thriller and suspense), novels set in other countries or shot through with elements of travel, family sagas, historical narratives (especially those that intertwine with the present), honest, updated, politically charged takes on the domestic family novel, and unconventional love stories. A lover of craft, she is drawn to observant writing that illuminates dynamic relationships between complex but sympathetic characters, intelligent experiments with form, and stories that enchant and transport the reader in authentic and inventive ways. In non-fiction, she is primarily looking for idea-driven or voice-forward memoirs, personal essay collections, and approachable narrative non-fiction of all stripes: politics, current events; popular culture, (especially anything that deals with subcultures – the more minute the better), unconventional business, popular science, adventure, psychology, and more. She also represents practical nonfiction in the areas of cooking, design, craft, gardening, travel and the outdoors, humor, health, and parenting.

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Christina Berke

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Misha Berson

Misha Berson is a freelance writer and teacher. From 1991-2016 she was the drama critic for the Seattle Times, after 10 years writing for the SF Bay Guardian. She has written four books on theater, including "Between Worlds: Asian American Playwrights" and "Something's Coming, Something Good: West Side Story and the American Imagination." Her work has also appeared in American Theatre, crosscut.com, oregonartswatch.com, Variety, the SF Chronicle and many other publications. She has been a Pulitzer Prize juror several times, most recently in 2019 when she was chair of the drama committee, and she is a juror for the annual Steinberg/ATCA playwriting award. She has taught arts and journalism courses at UW, Seattle University, SF State University, UC Davis, Richard Hugo House and The Eugene O'Neill Center Theatre Critics Conference.

Headshot of Grace Bialecki

Grace Bialecki

Pronouns: she/her

Grace Bialecki is a writer, spoken word poet, and workshop facilitator. She has performed at KGB Bar and as the featured poet at Paris Lit Up, and her work has appeared in various publications including Catapult and Epiphany Magazine. Bialecki is the co-founder of the storytelling series Thirst, and the author of the novel Purple Gold (ANTIBOOKCLUB). 

For more information check out Grace's website (www.graciebialecki.com) or Twitter (www.twitter.com/graciebialecki).

Describe your teaching style.

I feel myself as a facilitator more than a teacher. Although I'll be discussing my practice, I'll also be engaging with the students and asking about their process. My goal is to empower attendees to try new techniques they can then adapt to their own needs.

Headshot of Courtney Bird

Courtney Bird

Born in New Jersey, Courtney holds an MFA in Fiction from the University of Montana and a BA in Art History from Princeton. Her work has appeared in The Fairy Tale Review, The Masters Review, The Indiana Review, Barrelhouse, and The Los Angeles Review, among others. When Courtney's not writing, she can be found coaching lacrosse, hiking with her baby on her back, or looking for weird little pockets of wonder in the world. Courtney lives in Seattle, where she was a Hugo House Fellow in 2018-2019.

Headshot of Liza Birnbaum

Liza Birnbaum

Pronouns: she/her/hers

Liza Birnbaum's writing has appeared in Web Conjunctions, jubilat, Tammy, Open Letters Monthly, and other publications. She holds an MFA in fiction from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and teaches at Hugo House, Cornish College of the Arts, and the University of Washington's Robinson Center. She's been awarded residencies from Pine Meadow Ranch Center for Arts and Agriculture and Fishtrap. For more of Liza go to lizabirnbaum.com

Headshot of Margarita Borrero

Margarita Borrero

Doctora en literatura europea, Universidad Autónoma, Madrid, Spain

Margarita Borrero es novelista, premiada y publicada en España, y escritora de relatos, género en el que ha ganado media docena de primeros lugares en distintos certámenes en España, Estados Unidos y Canadá. Durante más de una década se ha desempeñado como docente de Escuela de escritores, una de las instituciones privadas de escritura creativa más grandes del mundo hispanohablante, miembro de la Asociación Europea de programas de escritura creativa. También ha trabajado como profesora asociada en Mount Saint Mary University, en Los Ángeles.

PhD European Literature, Universidad Autónoma, Madrid, Spain

Margarita Borrero is an award-winning novelist from Colombia. She has received numerous short story awards in Spain, Canada and the United States. She teaches at Madrid’s Escuela de Escritores, one of the top private creative writing institutions of the Hispanic world and a member of the European Association of Creative Writing Programs. She has also worked as an associate professor at Mount Saint Mary University in Los Angeles.

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Amy Bowers

Pronouns: she/her

Amy Bowers is a Florida native currently living in Connecticut with her family. Her writing explores art, domestic culture, the insect and natural worlds, and manufactured places and spaces. She is currently working on an essay collection about growing up in central Florida among amusement parks, alligators, and hurricanes. She holds an MFA in CNF from Bennington and has work published or forthcoming in [PANK], Washington Square Review, West Trade Review, OxMag, Farm-ish, Assay, and LA Review of Books. Her essay Manual is published (fall 2021) in A Harp in the Stars: An Anthology of Lyric Essays, edited by Randon Billings Noble and published by the University of Nebraska Press.

Headshot of Sabra Boyd

Sabra Boyd

Pronouns: she/her/they

Sabra Boyd is a writer, editor, journalist, and public speaker whose work has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Eater, Vice, IndieWire, Psychology Today, HuffPost, The Seattle Times, and more. From personal essays to investigative journalism, Sabra enjoys helping others build their own successful writing careers.

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Hannah Brancato

Pronouns: she/her

Hannah Brancato (she/her) is an artist and educator based in Baltimore, whose art practice is grounded in collective storytelling, and the creation of public rituals to bring people’s stories together. She is faculty at Maryland Institute College of Art, Towson University and UMBC. In Fall 2021 she was a Studio Resident at VisArts, culminating in the solo exhibition, Inheritance of White Silence, a socially engaged project investigating ways to resist inherited white supremacy culture. Hannah is currently working to document the integral role of art in social justice work, through a series of interviews with anti-sexual violence activists called Move Slowly; and by teaching Art x Resistance, a collaborative research-based course of her own design. She is a recipient of the 2021 Rubys Artist Grant for Dreamseeds, an installation of textiles, sound, and interactive components that will invite current and budding activists in Baltimore to develop visions for the future, co-created with Sanahara Ama Chandra.

Brancato is co-founder FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture, an art/organizing collective that produces creative interventions to create a culture of consent, best known for the Monument Quilt. She was a FORCE collective member from 2010-2020, is a 2015 OSI-Baltimore Community Fellow, and as part of FORCE, is the recipient of the 2016 Sondheim Artscape Prize, awarded to one artist or collective in the Mid-Atlantic region per year.

Brancato’s work has received widespread media coverage, including Afterimage, Ms Magazine, Voice of America, Bmore Art, the Washington Post, MSNBC, Surface Design Journal, and Fast Company. 

Headshot of Isabella Bravo

Isabella Bravo

Pronouns: they/them

Bella Bravo is a writer new to Seattle. They earned an MFA in fiction from the University of Wisconsin, Madison in 2022. Their stories and essays have appeared in NY Tyrant, Spoil, and Commune. For more information go to bellabravo.com and follow on Instagram @bellabravo.

Headshot of Lynn Breedlove

Lynn Breedlove

Lynn Breedlove, author of the novel Godspeed and the performance text On Freak Show, derived from his one-man-show of the same name. For his long-term contributions to Bay Area queer culture – from stints in music ensembles from Tribe8 to The Homobiles, to entrepreneurial accomplishments such as establishing the first all-female bicycle courier company, Lickety Split, to the pioneering, queer-centric ride share business Homobiles, Breedlove received a Certificate of Honor from the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Breedlove last joined Sister Spit on their 1998 tour.

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Susan Briante

Pronouns: she/her

Susan Briante is the author most recently of Defacing the Monument (Noemi Press 2020), a series of essays on immigration, archives, aesthetics and the state, winner of the Poetry Foundation’s Pegasus Award for Poetry Criticism in 2021. In a starred review, Publisher’s Weekly calls the collection “a superb examination of the ethical issues facing artists who tell others’ stories” and a “dazzlingly inventive and searching text.” 

Briante’s collection of poetry The Market Wonders (Ahsahta Press) was a finalist for the National Poetry Series. The Kenyon Review calls it “masterful at every turn.” The collection was recently translated into Spanish by the poet Giancarlo Huapaya and published under the title El Mercado se pregunta by Kriller71 (Madrid). Briante is also the author of the poetry collections Pioneers in the Study of Motion and Utopia Minus (an Academy of American Poets Notable Book of 2011. Of Utopia Minus, Publisher’s Weekly declared: “this book finds an urgent language for the world in which we live.”

She has received grants and awards from the Atlantic Monthly, the MacDowell Colony, the Academy of American Poets, the US-Mexico Fund for Culture, and (most recently) the Ucross Foundation. Recent work has appeared in the Virginia Quarterly Review, The Best American Poetry (2021) and The Brooklyn Rail. She is a professor of English in the creative writing program at the University of Arizona. There she serves as co-coordinator of the Southwest Field Studies in Writing Program, which brings MFA students to the US-Mexico border to engage in reciprocal research projects with community-based environmental and social justice groups. She is also a member of the Detained project, a team of artists, scholars and activists who record and archive the oral histories of formerly detained migrants and asylum seekers.

Headshot of Sara Brickman

Sara Brickman

Pronouns: they/them

Sara Brickman is a queer Jewish writer and performer born in Ann Arbor, MI. The winner of the Split This Rock Poetry Prize, Sara has received grants and scholarships from the Lambda Literary Foundation, the Yiddish Book Center, 4Culture, and Artist Trust, and their performance have appeared at On The Boards and theaters and community spaces nationwide. A BOAAT Writers Fellow and Ken Warfel Fellow for Poetry in Community, their writing appears in Narrative, Adroit, The Indiana Review, Muzzle, and the anthologies Ghosts of Seattle Past, The Dead Animal Handbook, and Courage: Daring Poems for Gutsy Girls. They are currently at work on a book of poems and hybrid essay collection and performance about community resilience, trauma, statuary, and collective organizing in Charlottesville, VA during the white-nationalist rallies of 2017. Sara holds an MFA from the University of Virginia and lives in Seattle, where they work in a library, teach writing to youth and adults, and parent a cat named Latke. 

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Stephanie K. Brownell

S.K. Brownell is writer, artist, and educator from the American Midwest. Their work has been shortlisted for the inaugural Samuel R Delany Fellowship in Speculative Fiction and has received the National Partners of the American Theatre Playwriting Excellence Award, Solstice Literary Prize in Fiction Editor's Choice, and other honors. They are a Tin House Workshop alumn and a Sewanee Conference Tennessee Williams Scholar. Their fiction, poetry, and drama has appeared in Speculative North, Decoded, Great Lakes Review, Newfound, and elsewhere. Stephanie holds an MFA from Boston University and teaches at Carroll University, GrubStreet, and Pioneer Valley Writers Workshop. They currently live in Boston with a cat called Wander. Find them online at skbrownell.com or @skbrownell.

Twitter: www.twitter.com/skbrownell

Headshot of Marci Calabretta Cancio-Bello

Marci Calabretta Cancio-Bello

Pronouns: she/her/hers

Marci Calabretta Cancio-Bello is the author of Hour of the Ox (University of Pittsburgh, 2016), winner of the Donald Hall Prize for Poetry. She and E.J. Koh co-translated Yi Won’s The World’s Lightest Motorcycle (Zephyr Press, 2021). Cancio-Bello has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Kundiman, the Knight Foundation, and the American Literary Translators Association, and her work has appeared in Best Small Fictions, Kenyon Review Online, The New York Times, and more. She is co-director for the Adoptee Literary Festival and PEN America Miami/South Florida Chapter, and a program coordinator for Miami Book Fair. www.marcicalabretta.com

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Gabrielle Calvocoressi

Gabrielle Calvocoressi is the author of The Last Time I Saw Amelia Earhart, Apocalyptic Swing (a finalist for the LA Times Book Prize), and Rocket Fantastic, winner of the Audre Lorde Award for Lesbian Poetry. Calvocoressi is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships including a Stegner Fellowship and Jones Lectureship from Stanford University; a Rona Jaffe Woman Writer's Award; a Lannan Foundation residency in Marfa, TX; the Bernard F. Conners Prize from The Paris Review; and a residency from the Civitella di Ranieri Foundation, among others. Calvocoressi's poems have been published or are forthcoming in numerous magazines and journals including The Baffler, The New York Times, POETRY, Boston Review, Kenyon Review, Tin House, and The New Yorker. Calvocoressi is an Editor at Large at Los Angeles Review of Books, and Poetry Editor at Southern Cultures. Works in progress include a non-fiction book entitled, The Year I Didn't Kill Myself and a novel, The Alderman of the Graveyard. Calvocoressi teaches at UNC Chapel Hill and lives in Old East Durham, NC, where joy, compassion, and social justice are at the center of their personal and poetic practice.

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Lauren Camp

Pronouns: she/her

Lauren Camp is the author of five books, recently Took House (Tupelo Press). Honors include the Dorset Prize and finalist for the Arab American Book Award. Her poems appear in Poem-a-Day, Witness, Blackbird, Prairie Schooner, and Kenyon Review.

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Tara Campbell

Pronouns: she/her/hers

Tara Campbell is a writer and teacher specializing in speculative fiction and flash fiction. She is a fiction editor at Barrelhouse, and teaches fiction at American University, Johns Hopkins University's Master in Writing, The Writer's Center, Politics and Prose, and the National Gallery of Art's Writing Salon. She's published a novel and four collections, as well as stories in publications such as SmokeLong Quarterly, Masters Review, Wigleaf, Booth, Strange Horizons, and CRAFT Literary. Before earning her MFA at American University, Tara received an MA in German, and a BA in English. She is a Kimbilio Fellow, and the recipient of the following awards from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities: the 2016 Larry Neal Writers' Award in Adult Fiction, the 2016 Mayor's Arts Award for Outstanding New Artist, and Arts and Humanities Fellowships for 2018 – 2022. Originally from Anchorage, Alaska, Tara Campbell has also lived in Oregon, Ohio, New York, Germany and Austria. She currently lives in Washington, D.C. Follow her on Twitter: @TaraCampbellCom or Instagram: @thetreevolution or go to www.taracampbell.com for more information.

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Caylin Capra-Thomas

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Kate Carmody

Pronouns: She/Her

Kate Carmody is a recipient of a CINTAS Foundations grant supporting artists born in Cuba or of Cuban descent. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Potomac Review, Essay Daily, No Contact, Los Angeles Review, The Journal of Compressed Creative Arts, and Lunch Ticket, among others. She received her MFA from Antioch University in Los Angeles. While pursuing her MFA in creative nonfiction, she worked as a blogger, assistant blog editor, and the assistant lead editor for the youth spotlight series at Lunch Ticket. In addition to teaching at Hugo House, she teaches writing through the Loft Literary Center, Austin Bat Cave, and Antioch’s Continuing Education Program. In 2012, she received the Facing History and Ourselves Margot Stern Strom Teaching Award and in 2017, was selected by Facing History and Ourselves to participate in a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation grant-funded study to assess if peer-led professional development can improve teachers’ instruction of literacy standards. She lives in Denver, Colorado with her husband and dog. The three of them are in a band called Dadafacer.