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.

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    Jake Uitti

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    Unknown CiviCRM Contact

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    Samantha Claire Updegrave

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    Luis Urrea

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    UW Castalia

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    Shaudi Bianca Vahdat

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    Kirstin Valdez Quade

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    Christie Valentin-Bati

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    Lydia K. Valentine

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    Laura van den Berg

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    B.A. Van Sise

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    Nance Van Winckel

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    Elisabeth Kikuchi

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    Lavanya Vasudevan

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    Claire Vaye Watkins

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    Elle Vergara

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    Vanessa Veselka

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    Meera Vijayann

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    Elizabeth Villamán

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    Jaye Viner

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    Jodie Vinson

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    Anna Vodicka

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    Wendy Wagner

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    Wendy Wagner

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Jake Uitti

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Unknown CiviCRM Contact

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Samantha Claire Updegrave

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Luis Urrea

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UW Castalia

Castalia is a monthly reading series at Richard Hugo House featuring graduate students, faculty, and alumni from the Creative Writing Program at the University of Washington.

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Shaudi Bianca Vahdat

Shaudi Bianca Vahdat is a composer, lyricist, musician and theatre artist who explores story-driven songwriting through influences that include musical theatre, jazz, classical, and both American and Iranian folk music. Shaudi holds a Masters in Music (Performance with a Production Concentration) from Berklee College of Music and a BA (Drama Performance) from the University of Washington School of Drama. A strong believer in the power of the arts to assist in the progress of humanity and unite people of all backgrounds, Shaudi often seeks to use music to normalize and celebrate multiculturalism and multilingualism with her audiences. Productions she has composed for include Desdemona: a play about a handkerchief (Opera House Arts in Stonington, Maine, dir. Julia Sears), BrechtFest (The Horse in Motion, dir. Bobbin Ramsey), The Things Are Against Us (Washington Ensemble Theatre, dir. Bobbin Ramsey), and Chilifinger: The Musical, with playwright Wayne Rawley (One Coast Collaboration Festival). Shaudi has also worked as an actor (including with Book-It Repertory Theatre and The Horse in Motion, of which she was a co-founding member) and arts educator (including at the Fedujazz School in Cabarete, where she also worked on the Dominican Republic Jazz Festival). As a singer-songwriter, she has performed locally with organizations including Fremont Abbey Arts Center, The Bushwick Book Club, and The 14/48 Projects. In 2012, Shaudi produced and released her first EP, Some Songs, and in 2017 her follow up EP Left, a stylistically mixed studio album which includes original work, Shakespeare, and a cover of 1970’s Iranian rock icon Koroush Yaghmaei. You can find Shaudi’s work on Apple Music, Spotify, and other music streaming services, and at shaudibiancavahdat.com.

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Kirstin Valdez Quade

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Christie Valentin-Bati

Pronouns: she/her
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Lydia K. Valentine

Lydia K. Valentine is a playwright and poet, director and dramaturg, editor, and educator. Lydia’s first poetry collection, Brief Black Candles, was published in November 2020 by Not a Pipe Publishing. Her writing has also appeared in online and print publications such as Speak, The Pitkin Review, and Shout! An Anthology of Resistance Poetry and Short Fiction. The anthology from Blue Cactus Press, We Need a Reckoning, takes its name from one of Lydia’s three poems that will be included. She has been the recipient of various awards and recognitions with the most recent being named the 2021-2023 City of Tacoma Poet Laureate.

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Laura van den Berg

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B.A. Van Sise

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Nance Van Winckel

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Elisabeth Kikuchi

Elisabeth Vasquez Kikuchi is a second-generation Filipina American photographer and poet. Her art explores her identity as the daughter of an immigrant, and the impact of a migratory upbringing on her sense of belonging. She lives in Seattle with her husband, daughter and two cats. Elisabeth is a Capricorn.

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Lavanya Vasudevan

Lavanya Vasudevan is an Indian-American writer living near Seattle, WA. Her stories appear in Ploughshares, Chicago Quarterly Review, Wigleaf, The Pinch Journal, and elsewhere. Her work has been selected for Wigleaf Top 50, The Best Small Fictions Anthology, and The Masters Review Anthology. She is an alum of the inaugural American Short Fiction Workshop, the New York State Summer Writers Institute, Kenyon Review Workshop, and Tin House Workshop. Find her online at www.lavanyavasudevan.com and on Twitter at @vanyala.

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Claire Vaye Watkins

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Elle Vergara

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Vanessa Veselka

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Meera Vijayann

Meera Vijayann is a writer and essayist based in Kirkland, Washington. As a writer who lives with a chronic illness, she is drawn to social invisibility within South Asian diasporic cultures, and the influence of mayam, the Tamil word for illusion. Her writing is shaped by the decade she spent as a development professional and journalist reporting on sexual violence in India and has appeared in Catapult, Entropy, Electric Literature, and The Guardian, among others. Her essay about how immigration laws separated her from her family won the Medium Writer’s Challenge Finalist Prize in 2021. Through her fiction, she hopes to gently peel away the nostalgia that pervades South Asian literature and dive into gaps in collective memory. She is currently working on her debut novel, which explores how the falsehoods perpetuated by America’s H1B work visa program affect two young Tamil immigrants.

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Elizabeth Villamán

She grew up on an island near the sea and uncertainty. Her interest in art began with poetry and painting and, from then on, the fusion of the arts became the hallmark of his creative processes. He was born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Writer, screenwriter, teacher, and actress. Graduated in the VIII promotion of the Master's Degree in Narrative and Intensive in Film Scripts, (Escuela de Escritores, Madrid, Spain), Master's Degree in People-Oriented Creativity Strategies, (Miguel de Cervantes European University). And a Specialization in the Teaching of Creative Writing (Escuela de Escritores, Madrid, Spain). Founder of Escribir es HOY. She has given creative workshops in Europe as well as in the United States, and has won various awards, with anthology publication with other authors, nationally and internationally. In 2019, she was the first winner of the Literary Residency scholarship in Coruña, through the René del Risco Bermúdez Foundation. In 2020 and 2022 she was selected for the Catapult Carribean Creative Online Grant, and in 2021 she won the second place Young Story Award in the Dominican Republic, among other awards Las Islas Rotas is one of her most recent book of stories.

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Jaye Viner

Jaye Viner lives with a tall human and two fur bombs. She knows just enough about a variety of things to embarrass herself at parties she never attends. Her novel, Jane of Battery Park, is available from Red Hen Press.

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Jodie Vinson

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Anna Vodicka

Anna Vodicka's essays and travel writing have appeared in a variety of magazines and anthologies, including AFAR, Brevity, Electric Literature, Guernica, Harvard Review, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Ms., Longreads, Paste, Flash Nonfiction Funny, and Lonely Planet’s An Innocent Abroad. Her writing has been selected for Best of Brevity, Best Women's Travel Writing, Pushcart Prize Special Mention, The Missouri Review Audio Prize, and Best American Essays and Best American Travel Writing notables, in addition to earning residency fellowships to Vermont Studio Center, PLAYA, and Hedgebrook, and grant support from Artist Trust, 4Culture, and the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund. She co-led The Golf Pencil Group writing program at the King County Jail, and teaches flash nonfiction and generative workshops at Hugo House.

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Wendy Wagner

Wendy N. Wagner is the editor-in-chief of Nightmare Magazine and the managing/senior editor of Lightspeed. Her short stories, essays, and poems run the gamut from horror to environmental literature. Her longer work includes the novella The Secret Skin (one of The Washington Post’s best SF/F/H books of 2021), the horror novel The Deer Kings, the Locus bestselling SF eco-thriller An Oath of Dogs, and two novels for the Pathfinder role-playing game. She lives in Oregon with her very understanding family, two large cats, and a Muppet disguised as a dog. You can find her at winniewoohoo.com

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Wendy Wagner

Pronouns: she/her, they/them

Wendy N. Wagner is the editor-in-chief of NIGHTMARE MAGAZINE and the managing/senior editor of LIGHTSPEED MAGAZINE. She is the author of the novella THE SECRET SKIN, the horror novel THE DEER KINGS, and the SF thriller AN OATH OF DOGS.