Hugo House

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Richard Hugo House, 2008

Hugo House is a non-profit community writing center in Seattle, Washington.


Hugo House was founded in 1997 by Linda Jaech, Frances McCue, and Andrea Lewis. These three writers believed Seattle needed a center for local writers and readers to find a community and create new work. In 1999, Laura Hirschfield described the nonprofit organization: "Richard Hugo House is a two-year-old literary arts center in Seattle named after the Seattle-born poet and creative writing teacher Richard Hugo who wrote squarely and poignantly about people and places often overlooked."[1]

Several new programs were created at Hugo House during the 2000s by Program Director Brian McGuigan, including Cheap Wine and Poetry (in 2005)[2] Cheap Beer and Prose (in 2008),[3] and the Made at Hugo House fellowship.[4] McGuigan left Hugo House in 2014.

In 2012, Tree Swenson became the Executive Director of Hugo House.[5]


Hugo House first occupied a 16,206-square-foot (1,505.6 m2) Victorian house originally built in 1902. Previous occupants of the building included New City Theater and before that the Bonney-Watson mortuary and funeral home.

In addition to administrative offices, the House included:

  • an 88/150 theater
  • a cabaret stage and cafe
  • three multipurpose rooms
  • a conference room
  • an art gallery
  • private meeting spaces

In June 2016, the organization moved to a temporary space adjacent to the Frye Art Museum on First Hill when the original house on Capitol Hill was razed.[6][7] The property was redeveloped with a six-story mixed-use building which, starting in September 2018, serves as the permanent home for Hugo House.[8][9]


Hugo House presents a number of programs, including:

  • Hugo Writing Classes
  • Hugo Classes for Youth
  • Stage Fright Teen Open Mic
  • Hugo Works in Progress
  • Hugo Literary Series
  • Word Works: Writers on Writing
  • Writers-in-Residence
  • Made at Hugo House Fellowship
  • Zine Archive and Publishing Project (formerly a program of Hugo House, now independent)



  1. ^ Hirschfield, Laura. "A Study in Social Entrepreneurship: Hugo House," GIA Newsletter, Vol 10, No 2 (Fall 1999)
  2. ^ Hugo House "Upcoming Events" Viewed June 6, 2016
  3. ^ Richardson, Lissa. "Who Can Resist Cheap Beer and Prose?" Pif Magazine
  4. ^ Constant, Paul. "The Hell With Grants," The Stranger February 13, 2013
  5. ^ Richardson, Catherine "Q&A: Tree Swenson Leaves Academy," Publishers Weekly Magazine, May 1, 2012
  6. ^ "Hugo House Settling Into New Digs". The Capitol Hill Times. June 6, 2016. Retrieved June 9, 2016.
  7. ^ Smith, Rick (January 6, 2016). "Hugo House Makes a Good Move—To First Hill, Temporarily". The Stranger. Retrieved June 9, 2016.
  8. ^ Smith, Rich (2018-09-12). "Hugo House, Seattle's Premier Literary Center, Reopens on Capitol Hill". The Stranger. Seattle: Index Newspapers LLC. Archived from the original on 2018-09-17. Retrieved 2018-11-13. Everyone will get their first look on Saturday, September 22, at the grand reopening celebration.
  9. ^ "The New Hugo House". The New Hugo House. 2018-01-01. Archived from the original on 2018-08-10. Retrieved 2018-11-13. ...a new and permanent space...on the same ground where we began...

External links[edit]