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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.

  • Hugo House logo

    Caylin Capra-Thomas

  • Headshot of Kate Carmody

    Kate Carmody

  • Headshot of Katrina Carrasco

    Katrina Carrasco

  • Headshot of Bill Carty

    Bill Carty

  • Headshot of William Carty

    William Carty

  • Headshot of Elaine Castillo

    Elaine Castillo

  • Headshot of Claudia Castro Luna

    Claudia Castro Luna

  • Headshot of Claudia Heron

    Claudia Heron

  • Headshot of Victoria Chang

    Victoria Chang

  • Headshot of Jos Charles

    Jos Charles

  • Headshot of Mayur Chauhan

    Mayur Chauhan

  • Headshot of Jay Chavez

    Jay Chavez

  • Headshot of Chen Chen

    Chen Chen

  • Headshot of Joyce Chen

    Joyce Chen

  • Headshot of Ching-In Chen

    Ching-In Chen

  • Headshot of Olivia Cheng

    Olivia Cheng

  • Hugo House logo

    Sarajennifer Chiro

  • Headshot of Aimee Christian

    Aimee Christian

  • Headshot of Ansley Clark

    Ansley Clark

  • Headshot of Tara Conklin

    Tara Conklin

  • Headshot of Corinna Cook

    Corinna Cook

  • Headshot of Kristi Coulter

    Kristi Coulter

  • Headshot of Laura Da’

    Laura Da’

  • Headshot of Sarah Dalton

    Sarah Dalton

Hugo House logo

Caylin Capra-Thomas

Headshot of Kate Carmody

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.

Headshot of Katrina Carrasco

Katrina Carrasco

Katrina Carrasco writes novels, short stories, and essays. Her debut novel, The Best Bad Things (MCD/Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2018), was a finalist in the Lambda Literary Awards and Washington State Book Awards, and won the Shamus Award for Best First P.I. Novel. Her essays and short stories have appeared in publications and websites including Witness Magazine, Post Road Magazine, and Literary Hub. She has received support from the Corporation of Yaddo, Blue Mountain Center, Jentel, Artist Trust, and other residencies and arts organizations. Katrina is a former mentor with Latinx in Publishing. Her new book, Rough Trade (MCD/FSG), will be out this April.

Headshot of Bill Carty

Bill Carty

Pronouns: he/him

Bill Carty is the author of Huge Cloudy (Octopus Books, 2019), which was long-listed for The Believer Book Award, and We Sailed on the Lake, published by Bunny Presse/Fonograf Editions in 2023. He has received poetry fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Artist Trust, Hugo House, and Jack Straw Cultural Center. He was awarded the Emily Dickinson Award from the Poetry Society of America, and his poems have appeared in the jubilat, Best American Poetry, Denver Quarterly, Iterant, Paperbag, The Kenyon Review, 32 Poems, and other journals. Originally from Maine, Bill now lives in Seattle, where he is Senior Editor at Poetry Northwest. He teaches at Hugo House, the UW Robinson Center for Young Scholars, and Edmonds College.

Headshot of William Carty

William Carty

Pronouns: he/him

Bill Carty is the author of Huge Cloudy (Octopus Books, 2019), which was long-listed for The Believer Book Award, and We Sailed on the Lake, published by Bunny Presse/Fonograf Editions in 2023. He has received poetry fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Artist Trust, Hugo House, and Jack Straw Cultural Center. He was awarded the Emily Dickinson Award from the Poetry Society of America, and his poems have appeared in the jubilat, Best American Poetry, Denver Quarterly, Iterant, Paperbag, The Kenyon Review, 32 Poems, and other journals. Originally from Maine, Bill now lives in Seattle, where he is Senior Editor at Poetry Northwest. He teaches at Hugo House, the UW Robinson Center for Young Scholars, and Edmonds College.

Headshot of Elaine Castillo

Elaine Castillo

Elaine Castillo is the author of the widely acclaimed debut novel, America is Not the Heart (Viking, 2018), named one of the best books of the year by NPR, The Boston Globe, Kirkus Reviews, the New York Public Library, and many others. In August 2022, Viking will publish her first work of nonfiction, How to Read Now, on the politics and ethics of our reading culture. Her writing has appeared in Freeman’s, The Rumpus, Lit Hub, Taste Magazine, Electric Literature, and elsewhere. Her short film, A Mukkbang, was commissioned by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s Open Space. She is a VONA Foundation Fellow, and was a three-time recipient of the Roselyn Schneider Eisner Prize for prose while at UC Berkeley. She has also been nominated for the Pat Kavanagh Award, a Pushcart Prize, and a Gatewood Prize.

Headshot of Claudia Castro Luna

Claudia Castro Luna

Claudia Castro Luna is the author of Cipota Under the Moon (Tia Chucha Press, 2022); One River, A Thousand Voices (Chin Music Press, 2020 & 2022); Killing Marías (Two Sylvias, 2017) finalist for the WA State Book Award 2018, and the chapbook This City (Floating Bridge, 2016). She served as Washington’s State Poet Laureate (2018-2021) and as Seattle's inaugural Civic Poet (2015-2017). She was named Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellow in 2019. Her most recent non-fiction is in There’s a Revolution Outside, My Love: Letters from a Crisis (Vintage). Born in El Salvador, Castro Luna came to the United States in 1981. Living in English and Spanish, she writes and teaches in Seattle on unceded Duwamish lands where she gardens and keeps chickens with her husband and their three children. 

Headshot of Claudia Heron

Claudia Heron

Claudia Castro Luna is the author of Cipota Under the Moon (Tia Chucha Press, 2022); One River, A Thousand Voices (Chin Music Press, 2020 & 2022); Killing Marías (Two Sylvias, 2017) finalist for the WA State Book Award 2018, and the chapbook This City (Floating Bridge, 2016). She served as Washington’s State Poet Laureate (2018-2021) and as Seattle's inaugural Civic Poet (2015-2017). She was named Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellow in 2019. Her most recent non-fiction is in There’s a Revolution Outside, My Love: Letters from a Crisis (Vintage). Born in El Salvador, Castro Luna came to the United States in 1981. Living in English and Spanish, she writes and teaches in Seattle on unceded Duwamish lands where she gardens and keeps chickens with her husband and their three children. 

Headshot of Victoria Chang

Victoria Chang

Victoria Chang’s new book of poetry is The Trees Witness Everything (Copper Canyon Press and Corsair Books, U.K.). Her previous book of poetry, OBIT (Copper Canyon Press, 2020), was named a New York Times Notable Book, a Time Must-Read Book, and received the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award in Poetry, and the PEN/Voelcker Award. Her nonfiction book, Dear Memory (Milkweed Editions), was published in 2021. She has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, and lives in Los Angeles and is a Core Faculty member within Antioch’s low-residency MFA Program.

Headshot of Jos Charles

Jos Charles

Jos Charles is author of a Year & other poems (Milkweed Editions, 2022), feeld (Milkweed Editions, 2018), a Pulitzer-finalist and winner of the 2017 National Poetry Series selected by Fady Joudah, and Safe Space (Ahsahta Press, 2016). She is the founding-editor of THEM, the first trans literary journal in the US, and engages in direct gender justice work with a variety of organizations and performers. Charles's poetry has appeared in Poetry, PEN, Washington Square Review, BLOOM, Denver Quarterly, Action Yes, The Feminist Wire, The Capilano Review, and elsewhere. Among her awards are the Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation and a 2015 Monique Wittig Writer's Scholarship.

Headshot of Mayur Chauhan

Mayur Chauhan

Pronouns: he/him/his

Mayur Chauhan is an L.A-based immigrant, writer, actor, and comedian, originally from Delhi. Mayur is a Key West Literary Seminar and Bread Loaf scholar. His humor pieces have been published in McSweeney’s and many other publications.

Describe your teaching style.

My coaching is writer-centered and engaging. I encourage the participants to become more confident in their voice and their work while staying open to suggestions. If there's one thing I'd repeat at least 589 times in class is "You are the final decision maker."

I believe self-care and playfulness are as important as craft and marketplace. Also, I love to meet everyone's pets via Zoom.

Headshot of Jay Chavez

Jay Chavez

Pronouns: they/them

j.chavez (they/them) is a Seattle-based playwright, educator, and all-around theatre maker. Through the power of RedBulls they earned a BA in Theatre from Western Washington University, concentrating in Directing, Dramatic Writing, and Education. They are the founder and artistic director of Haus of Hazard Theatre Productions which does free theatre in the PNW. They were crowned the unofficial title of Lil’ Miss Kennedy Center for their play how to clean your room (and remember all your trauma) which was awarded The KCACTF National Undergraduate Playwriting Award 2020 and the David Mark Cohen National Award in 2021. how to clean is featured in the Methuen Drama Book of Trans Plays, a first of it’s kind anthology of Trans plays written by Trans playwrights for Trans people. It’s been over two decades and Jay is still chasing the knowledge of how wind works. They are a teaching artist at Seattle Children’s Theatre. When they aren’t working, they love to drink coffee, write bad adaptations of classic plays, and cook delicious meals their mother describes as "too spicy." They are excited to teach with Hugo House.

Headshot of Chen Chen

Chen Chen

Chen Chen is the author of When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities, which won the A. Poulin Jr. Poetry Prize, Thom Gunn Award for Gay Poetry, and the GLCA New Writers Award. Longlisted for the National Book Award, When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities was also a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award for Gay Poetry, and was named one of the best of 2017 by The Brooklyn Rail, Entropy, Library Journal, and others. About the collection, Stephanie Burt says,“As Chen’s younger self had to escape from constricting familial expectations (become a lawyer, marry a woman, buy a house), the adult writer has to escape from the constrictions of autobiography, into hyperbole, stand-up comedy, fairy tale, twisted pastoral. It’s easy to imagine a young reader seeing himself here as he had not seen himself in poems before.” He is also the author of two chapbooks, Set the Garden on Fire (Porkbelly Press, 2015) and Kissing the Sphinx (Two of Cups Press, 2016).

In an interview with NPR, Chen explained, ““I felt like I couldn’t be Chinese and American and gay all at the same time. I felt like the world I was in was telling me that these had to be very separate things.” As someone who was struggling with his sexuality and thinking about identity— with immigrant parents and wondering how to come out, “Poems were a way for those different experiences to come together, for them to be in the same room.”

His work has appeared in many publications, including Poetry, Tin House, Poem-a-Day, The Best American Poetry, Bettering American Poetry, and The Best American Nonrequired Reading. Recently, his work has been translated into French, Greek, Spanish, and Russian. Poets & Writers Magazine featured him in their Inspiration Issue as one of “Ten Poets Who Will Change the World.” He has received fellowships from Kundiman, Lambda Literary, and the Saltonstall Foundation.

Chen earned his MFA from Syracuse University and is pursuing a PhD in English and Creative Writing as an off-site Texas Tech University student. He lives in frequently snowy Rochester, NY with his partner, Jeff Gilbert and their pug dog, Mr. Rupert Giles.

Chen is the 2018-2020 Jacob Ziskind Poet-in-Residence at Brandeis University.

Headshot of Joyce Chen

Joyce Chen

Pronouns: she/her

Joyce Chen is a writer, editor, and community builder who draws inspiration from many coastal cities. She has covered entertainment and human interest stories for Rolling Stone, Architectural Digest, Elle, Refinery29, the New York Daily News, and People, among others, and her creative writing credits include Poets & Writers, Lit Hub, Narratively, and Slant’d, among others. She has contributed op-eds to Paste magazine, and writes book reviews for Orion and Hyphen magazines. In 2022, she co-edited the anthology Uncertain Girls in Uncertain Times, a collection of poetry paired with essays and life lessons. She is a proud VONA alum and was a 2019-2020 Hugo House fellow. She is also the executive director of The Seventh Wave, an arts and literary nonprofit that champions art in the space of social issues.

Headshot of Ching-In Chen

Ching-In Chen

Descended from ocean dwellers, Ching-In Chen is a genderqueer Chinese American writer, community organizer and teacher. They are author of The Heart's Traffic: a novel in poems (Arktoi Books/Red Hen Press, 2009) and recombinant (Kelsey Street Press, 2018 Lambda Literary Award for Transgender Poetry winner) as well as chapbooks to make black paper sing (speCt! Books) and Kundiman for Kin :: Information Retrieval for Monsters (Portable Press at Yo-Yo Labs, Leslie Scalapino Finalist). Chen is co-editor of The Revolution Starts at Home: Confronting Intimate Violence Within Activist Communities (South End Press, 1st edition; AK Press, 2nd edition) and Here Is a Pen: an Anthology of West Coast Kundiman Poets (Achiote Press). They have received fellowships from Kundiman, Lambda, Watering Hole, Can Serrat, Imagining America, Jack Straw Cultural Center and the Intercultural Leadership Institute as well as the Judith A. Markowitz Award for Exceptional New LGBTQ Writers. A community organizer, they have worked in Asian American communities in San Francisco, Oakland, Riverside, Boston, Milwaukee, Houston and Seattle and are currently a core member of the Massage Parlor Outreach Project. They currently teach at University of Washington Bothell in the School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences and the MFA program in Creative Writing and Poetics. www.chinginchen.com

Headshot of Olivia Cheng

Olivia Cheng

Olivia Cheng is an MFA student in fiction at the University of Michigan. Her fiction has appeared in The Boston Review and The Georgia Review. Her other work has appeared in Electric Literature and Ploughshares Blog.

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Sarajennifer Chiro

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Aimee Christian

Pronouns: she/her/hers

Aimee’s writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, NBC Think, Poets & Writers, Atticus Review, Entropy, and more. She is a writing instructor and editor and the founder of Writing Personhood, a writing center for adoptees only. She is currently querying her memoir about adoption and identity. Find out more about Aimee at aimeechristian.net @thewriteaimee

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Ansley Clark

Pronouns: she/her

Ansley Clark is a writer and educator based in Bremerton. She received her MFA in Poetry from the University of Colorado and is the author of the chapbook Geography (dancing girl press 2015). Her poems and essays have appeared in Poetry Northwest, Black Warrior Review, Crazyhorse, Colorado Review, and elsewhere. She currently manages the writing center and teaches English at South Puget Sound Community College. She also co-designs and teaches creativity and sexuality workshops for women and nonbinary individuals, LGBTQ-focused poetry workshops for teens at Bainbridge Artisan Resource Network, and community arts-based antiracism workshops with the artist Hannah Brancato.

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Tara Conklin

Tara Conklin is a writer and former lawyer whose first novel, The House Girl, (William Morrow) was a New York Times bestseller, #1 IndieNext pick, Target book club pick and has been translated into 8 languages. Her second novel, The Last Romantics (William Morrow) was published in 2019 to wide acclaim. An instant New York Times bestseller, The Last Romantics was a Barnes & Noble Book Club Pick, IndieNext Pick, and was selected by Jenna Bush Hager as the inaugural read for The Today Show Book Club. Her latest novel Community Board is out now and available in stores and online in all the usual places. The recipient of an Artist Trust grant, her writing has appeared in Vogue, the Berkshire Eagle and elsewhere. 

Before turning to fiction, Tara worked for an international human rights organization and at corporate law firms in London and New York. She was born in St. Croix, US Virgin Islands and grew up in western Massachusetts. She holds a BA in history from Yale University, a JD from NYU School of Law and a Master of Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School at Tufts University. Tara now lives in Seattle with her family where she writes, teaches at Hugo House and works with private clients on manuscript development. 

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Corinna Cook

Pronouns: she/her

Corinna Cook is the author of Leavetakings, an essay collection (University of Alaska Press 2020). She is a former Fulbright Fellow, an Alaska Literary Award recipient, and a Rasmuson Foundation awardee. Corinna’s creative work appears in Flyway, Alaska Quarterly Review, Alaska Magazine, Brink, and elsewhere; her journalism appears in Yukon North of Ordinary and GlacierHub; her critical articles appear in Assay, New Writing, and Essay Daily; and she writes about teaching for Pedagogy and American Literary Studies. Corinna holds a PhD in English and Creative Writing from the University of Missouri. More at corinnacook.com.

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Kristi Coulter

Pronouns: She/her

Kristi Coulter is author of Nothing Good Can Come From This and the forthcoming Exit Interview. Her work appears in The Paris Review, New York Magazine, Elle, and elsewhere. She has taught at Hugo House and the University of Washington. Go to www.kristicoulter.com for more information.

Social Media: @KristiCCCoulter (Twitter and Instagram) 

Headshot of Laura Da’

Laura Da’

Pronouns: she/her

Laura Da’ is a poet and teacher. A lifetime resident of the Pacific Northwest, Da’ studied creative writing at the University of Washington and The Institute of American Indian Arts. Da’ is Eastern Shawnee. She is a recipient of fellowships from the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation, Artist Trust, Hugo House, and the Jack Straw Writers Program. Her first book, Tributaries, won the 2016 American Book Award. Her newest book is Instruments of the True Measure (University of Arizona Press, 2018). Go to www.laurada.com for more information.

Instagram: @lauralouiseda

Twitter @Laura_L_Da

Facebook: www.facebook.com/lauralda

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Sarah Dalton

Pronouns: she/her

Sarah Dalton is a Latina writer, editor, and teacher. She is an alumna of VONA, Macondo, and San Jose State. Her nonfiction has appeared in [pank], MUTHA Magazine, Reed, River Teeth's Beautiful Things, and The Sun's Readers Write.