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 Jami Attenberg

    Jami Attenberg

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    Elizabeth Austen

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    Zach Ayers

  • Headshot of Peter Bacho

    Peter Bacho

  • Headshot of Nazry Bahrawi

    Nazry Bahrawi

  • Headshot of Taneum Bambrick

    Taneum Bambrick

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    Russell Banks

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    Rick Barot

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    Colleen Barry

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    Ellen Bass

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    Gabrielle Bates

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    Erica Bauermeister

  • Headshot of Janée Baugher

    Janée Baugher

  • 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

  • Headshot of Misha Berson

    Misha Berson

  • Headshot of Misha Berson

    Misha Berson

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    Tawnya Bhattacharya

  • Headshot of Gracie Bialecki

    Gracie Bialecki

  • Headshot of Courtney Bird

    Courtney Bird

  • Headshot of Liza Birnbaum

    Liza Birnbaum

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    Michele Bombardier

Headshot of Jami Attenberg

Jami Attenberg

Jami Attenberg is the author of seven books of fiction, including: Instant LoveThe Kept ManThe Melting SeasonThe MiddlesteinsSaint Mazie, and All Grown Up. Her most recent novel is All This Could Be Yours (2019), which was included on the Best of Fall lists from People, Vogue, USA Today, Entertainment Weekly, New York, Observer, Bust, Nylon, New York Post, Pop Sugar, and more.

Attenberg is also the author of the memoir I Came All This Way to Meet You: Writing Myself Home (2022). In this brilliant, fierce, and funny memoir of transformation, Attenberg—described as a “master of modern fiction” by Entertainment Weekly and the “poet laureate of difficult families” by Kirkus Reviews—reveals the defining moments that pushed her to create a life, and voice, she could claim for herself. What does it take to devote oneself to art? What does it mean to own one’s ideas? What does the world look like for a woman moving solo through it? Exploring themes of friendship, independence, class, and drive, I Came All This Way to Meet You is an inspiring story of finding one’s way home—emotionally, artistically, and physically—and an examination of art and individuality that will resonate with anyone determined to listen to their own creative calling.

About All This Could Be Yours, Emma Cline, author of The Girls, says, “Jami Attenberg’s work is so deeply attuned to humans and our imperfect attempts to love each other. All This Could Be Yours is populated by Attenberg’s pitch-perfect characters; flawed, recognizable people dealing with big topics–death, family, sex, love–and Attenberg handles it all with an expert touch and a keen sense of what, despite all the sadness and secrets, keeps people connected, striving for moments of beauty and tenderness in a dark world.”

Attenberg has written about food, travel, books, relationships and urban life for The New York Times Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, the Sunday Times, Slate, and others. Her work has been published in a total of sixteen languages.

She lives in New Orleans, LA.

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Elizabeth Austen

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Zach Ayers

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Peter Bacho

Peter Bacho is the author of seven books: Cebu, Dark Blue Suit, Boxing in Black and White, Nelson’s Run, Entrys, and Leaving Yesler. His latest book, Uncle Rico's Encore, was released earlier this year. His books have received several awards, including the 1992 American Book Award. He is an adjunct professor at The Evergreen State College Tacoma Campus. Bacho was born in Seattle, Washington and grew up in Seattle’s Central District.

Headshot of Nazry Bahrawi

Nazry Bahrawi

Nazry Bahrawi is an academic and translator from Singapore currently residing in Seattle. He teaches modules on Southeast Asian science and speculative fiction as well as racial narratives from the region at the University of Washington-Seattle, where he is an assistant professor. Nazry is the editor and translator of Singa-Pura-Pura, a short story anthology of Malay speculative fiction. He has translated Lost Nostalgia and Lorong Buang Kok, The Musical from Malay to English. He is an editor-at-large at Wasafiri magazine and the essay & research editor for the Journal of Practice, Research and Tangential Activities (PR&TA).

Headshot of Taneum Bambrick

Taneum Bambrick

Taneum Bambrick is the author of Intimacies, Received (Copper Canyon Press, Sept 27th 2022) and Vantage, winner of the APR/Honickman First Book Award (American Poetry Review 2019). She received support from Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, Sewanee Writers' Conference, and Vermont Studio Center. A 2020 Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, she is currently a Dornsife Fellow in the PhD program at the University of Southern California. Her work appears in The New YorkerThe NationAcademy of American PoetsPEN, and elsewhere. 

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Russell Banks

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Rick Barot

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Colleen Barry

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Ellen Bass

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Gabrielle Bates

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Erica Bauermeister

Headshot of Janée Baugher

Janée Baugher

Janée J. Baugher is the author of the groundbreaking guidebook, The Ekphrastic Writer: Creating Art-Influenced Poetry, Fiction and Nonfiction (McFarland, 2020), as well as two poetry collections, Coördinates of Yes (Ahadada, 2010) and The Body’s Physics (Tebot Bach, 2013). Baugher holds degrees from Boston University and Eastern Washington University, and her fiction, nonfiction, and poetry have been published in over 125 journals, including Saturday Evening Post, Tin House, The Southern Review, Nano Fiction, Boulevard, Rattle, Verse Daily!, The American Journal of Poetry, Nimrod International Journal, and The Writer’s Chronicle.  A two-time Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee and Bread Loaf Conference participant, Baugher held a two-year post as a Humanities Washington Inquiring Minds Speaker in which she lectured across Washington State on writers and visual artists of the Lost Generation. Her performance-art projects include collaborations with choreographers, dancers, and composers. Baugher’s writing has been adapted for the stage and set to music at University of Cincinnati–Conservatory of Music, Contemporary Dance Theatre in Ohio, Interlochen Center for the Arts in Michigan, Dance Now! Ensemble in Florida, The Salon at Justice Snow’s in Colorado, Otterbein University, and University of North Carolina-Pembroke. As a spoken-word artist, Baugher has performed in Seattle at Arts Edge Arts Festival, Bumbershoot Arts Festival, the Moore Theatre, and Folklife Arts Festival. She’s also been featured on Seattle Channel TV and at the Library of Congress.

 Baugher has taught creative writing for 20 years and is currently an assistant editor at Boulevard literary journal. www.JaneeBaugher.com, (Instagram) @ekphrastic_writer.

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

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.

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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.

Headshot of Misha Berson

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 Misha Berson

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.

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Tawnya Bhattacharya

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Gracie Bialecki

Pronouns: she/her

Gracie Bialecki is a writer and literary coach who lives in Paris, France. Her fiction, essays, and video poems have appeared in various publications including Epiphany Magazine where she was a monthly columnist. Bialecki is the co-founder of Thirst, a gallery and storytelling series; a poetry editor at Paris Lit Up; and the author of Youth, a collection of poetry. Her novel, Purple Gold, was published by ANTIBOOKCLUB in 2020.

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

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 fiction and essays have appeared in Web Conjunctions, jubilat, Open Letters Monthly, and other publications. She is a founding editor of Big Big Wednesday, an annual print journal of literature and visual art, and has taught creative writing in a number of settings, most recently at an alternative school for young women who are pregnant or parenting. In 2019, she will be a funded resident at the Lillian E. Smith Center at Piedmont College. She holds an MFA from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. For more of Liza go to lizabirnbaum.com.

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Michele Bombardier