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by Gabrielle James

We hope you will join us in expressing gratitude to our long-time Executive Director, Amy Wheeler. After 17 years as Hedgebrook’s leader, this January, she will be transitioning out of her role.

A graduate of the University of Iowa’s renowned Playwrights Workshop MFA program, Amy first came to Hedgebrook as a Writer-in-Residence. With her first-hand experience of the power of Hedgebrook’s radical hospitality, which enables women to deepen their creative and intellectual work, Amy quickly became a supporter and advocate for the Hedgebrook mission.

She became a board member in 2003, bringing with her remarkable energy and vision. Transitioning to Executive Director in 2007, she oversaw notable program expansion, including the creation of the Songwriters, Screenwriters, and Documentary Film programs, which amplified women’s voices across diverse media. Her work to broaden outreach, offer top-notch educational experiences, and unify women continued with the expansion of local and international Master Classes. This programmatic innovation carried on with Hedgebrook’s newly-minted Online Class series, which provides access for participants previously unable to engage with our offerings.

Through her rare and wonderful warmth, which connects donors and supporters, Amy has been a beloved touchpoint for many. Her deep knowledge of this community – and its “ripples” – has strengthened Hedgebrook’s alum community and expanded the retreat experience to become what Gloria Steinem has called a “global campfire.” Her longstanding personal relationships with cultural luminaries sets her apart as a leader, as does her compassion and humanity.

In addition to all of this work and growth, Amy has maintained an active, creative life of her own. She looks forward to many future professional and artistic opportunities, including her current project adapting Hedgebrook alum Holly Morris’ beautiful documentary The Babushkas of Chernobyl to the stage.

Here at Hedgebrook, we want to take a moment to reflect on Amy’s powerful work. Her commitment and investment has made it possible for us to offer support and space to writers from around the world. Her dedication to keeping our mission grounded in traditions of hospitality, empowerment, and creativity has inspired so many and shown the way forward. We know we can count on our community’s support as we continue to bring those values with us into Hedgebrook’s bright future.

If you wish, please feel free to leave a comment for Amy below.

About GabrielleJ
I have worked for nonprofits the majority of my career, managing youth development programs, where kids felt empowered, honored and creativity was encouraged. Hedgebrook does all of that for women writers and I am excited to be a part of the development team, helping to amplify women’s voices for years to come.


  • Jane Hodges
    5:34 PM - 20 November, 2019

    Such admiration for you, Amy, and for Hedgebrook! What an example you and the organization have set for residencies everywhere.

  • Evangeline Ordaz
    5:42 PM - 20 November, 2019

    Felicidades and Congratulations, Amy! You are the amazing and rare artist who puts as much of your creativity and passion into supporting the art making of others as you do into your own beautiful work. I have benefited greatly from this and I am forever grateful! Wishing you so much joy in creation as you embark on your next chapter.

  • Pallavi Dhawan
    6:27 PM - 20 November, 2019

    Will miss you, Amy! Thank you for all the work you have done to make Hedgebrook an amazing space for women writers.

  • Peggy taylor
    7:15 PM - 20 November, 2019

    Thank you Amy for all you have done to make Hedge brook a beacon of light bringing forth the voices of women. Best of luck in your new adventures!

  • Kate Moses
    7:21 PM - 20 November, 2019

    Amy! What bittersweetness I feel at this news! Hedgebrook will forever be imprinted by your inspired and generous leadership, and how lucky we all are that you are applying a bit more radical hospitality to your own life as an artist. Thank you for your unflagging example and magnetic influence, which prompted me to renew my commitment to honoring and supporting women’s voices in a pointed way. There’s a guest room with a desk in upstate New York with your name on it, sister…oxox kate

  • Lydia Stryk
    12:37 AM - 21 November, 2019

    Dear Amy!
    You brought such gracefulness of spirit to your role at Hedgebrook.
    Wishing you joy and fulfillment wherever your work now takes you,

  • Lisa Halpern
    9:43 AM - 21 November, 2019

    Dear Amy, I have witnessed you over the years, stepping into and sharing your innumerable gifts in such incredible ways. Your impact on this organization, the writers who have spent time around the table, and the world at large is immense and immeasurable. Thank you for pouring your heart and soul into not just keeping Hedgebrook afloat, but bringing it out ‘from under the bushel’ and into the wider world. Your generous spirit, creativity, and all around bright light has been a true inspiration and a beacon for me and so many others. I know the next act of your journey will be soul filling and satisfying… and will unfold in so many delightful and surprising ways. You are marvelous.

  • Jennifer J Zeyl
    2:27 PM - 21 November, 2019

    Oh, Amy! Such big news!! Gosh, I hope you’re not moving! Let’s grab a meal soon. Grace and I may be out for the weekend in December.

  • Kitty Costello
    9:00 PM - 21 November, 2019

    Thank you for your amazing leadership, Amy. Wishing you every blessing.

  • Ellen Antonelli
    8:19 AM - 22 November, 2019

    You are such an inspiration, Amy! Thank you for your support of and vision for this fabulous community of writers. Your spirit is woven into the creative fabric of our work. May your future endeavors reflect all that you have given us. xo

  • LuLu Johnson
    9:07 AM - 23 November, 2019

    When I met Amy this spring at Elizabeth George’s Master Class in Tuscany, I didn’t realize she was the Executive Director at Hedgebrook, and I”m glad I didn’t because I might have been intimidated by the title! But her charm and easy laughter, her intelligence and advocacy for women should have told me who I was dealing with–a powerhouse who should be in a position of power. I am sorry to hear she is leaving Hedgebrook, but I am certain wherever she goes she will carry her warm wit and ability to put everyone as ease. Power to her! LuLu

  • Mary Elder
    5:26 PM - 6 December, 2019

    Oh Amy! Your name is synonymous in my mind with Hedgebrook… and with artistic vision, support and advocacy. Thank you for all that you’ve done for Hedgebrook and for the world of women writers. I can’t wait to witness your next chapter!
    With Love and Gratitude,

  • Teri Elliott
    9:20 PM - 30 April, 2020

    Came across this Amy and wanted to include my congratulations. Everyone’s comments ring so true. You were always very special. Not at all surprised at your success. Be well, be happy, stay wise.

  • Sara Scribner
    12:33 PM - 19 May, 2020

    Dear Amy, I’m just seeing this now about your news. I wish so much joy and meaning in your new life. You meant so much to me in Seattle with your Kick Ass Women’s Playwriting group. All the best to you.

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Gratitude for our Executive Director Amy Wheeler’s Vision