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By Gabrielle James

Hedgebrook Program Director Opportunity

“Hedgebrook is like a stone, sending out ripples into the gigantic pond of the world.”

-Anjali Banerjee, author of seven novels and Hedgbrook alumna

“Hedgebrook is a global campfire.”

-Gloria Steinem

Hedgebrook is looking to hire a new Program Director! Vito Zingarelli, our current Program Director extraordinaire, will be moving on this spring after masterfully serving Hedgebrook for over a dozen years. In the coming months, we will celebrate his many remarkable contributions.

Since opening its doors in 1988, Hedgebrook has hosted over 2,000 writers in residence, many of whom have gone on to win major literary accolades. In addition to this core program, Hedgebrook offers master classes, workshops, salons, events, and online classes. These exciting offerings are based on Whidbey Island, WA and in some other locations nationally and internationally. We are looking to find someone who has the experience, vision and personal qualities to take on this critical position in the organization.

We serve up radical hospitality when hosting women and non-binary writers, musicians, filmmakers, thinkers, and shapers of culture. The PD is central to delivering this hospitality though a well-established menu of programs. In addition, the PD will be called on to develop new opportunities to support women writers in honing their art and craft and magnifying their voices in the world.

The ideal candidate will be an experienced professional who has already been successful in developing, managing and directing programs in other nonprofit organizations – ideally in the arts and literature arenas. This person will need to have a collaborative and inclusive style, an exceptional capacity for holding the big picture in mind while attending to detail, and the creative prowess to both maintain the core legacy programs of Hedgebrook and leverage additional offerings towards expanding our impact in the world. Compassion, integrity and a sense of humor are a must.

Also, know that Hedgebrook is committed to equity and inclusion. We believe different voices and perspectives enrich our culture, raise our awareness, and make our community stronger. We welcome people of all races, nationalities, religions, and sexual orientations, and strongly encourage applications from people of color, immigrants, people with disabilities, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and other underrepresented and historically marginalized groups.

If you would like to learn more about our programs for 2020 click here.

For more information and to apply, please click here.

By Hedgebrook Guest

At a recent Hedgebrook Alumnae Gathering, we were talking about the love of writing (what else?), and when did we first start, and how did we keep it going? When I was in the 4th grade, I won the Little Hot Spot medal for writing the best essay in the city on safeguarding the home against fire. I got the morning off school, and my parents stood proudly by, as we went down to City Hall, and the mayor of New York City pinned an actual medal on my young chest, as the Marine Band played. I thought This writing life is something else.

In grade school, I started a neighborhood newspaper, and in high-school, I was co-editor of the weekly Timely Turtle Types, distributed among friends, mostly mocking our strict teachers and making fun of our own teenage foibles. Writing stories took the sting out.

So, early on, I learned that life is grist for the writer’s mill. When you’re a writer, you never stop writing, am I right? As a new mom, I wrote book reviews for The Baby Diaper News—and got free diapers in return. As a mother of four, I was busy, busy, busy; I combined writing with raising my family. I couldn’t stop to write, so I never stopped writing. I wrote restaurant reviews, so I could take the children out to dinner; I took them on day-trips and wrote up our adventures for The Seattle Times (my favorite: “Port Gamble, a Sure Bet for a Sunny Afternoon.”)

When James, my first-born, started school, I wrote an article about how he brought his pocket teddy bear named Yai-Yai, to class. Leave no rock unturned. This is a lesson I learned from my son Peter at age three. We took a walk down the block—and he stopped to examine every flower and stone, and say hi to neighbors I did not know. “A Day at Peter’s Pace” was my first national publication. With two published articles under my belt, I started teaching a class at the University of Washington, “Writing Articles for Publication.” I was brazen. The students had to submit query letters weekly as part of the class—so, guess what?—a lot of them got published.

When Peter turned four, I staged the birthday party aboard the ferry—children under five got to ride for free. Packed up the cake and treats and toy telescopes in a picnic basket, took Peter and his friends for a free ride, and, of course, wrote an article, with pictures, for the Sunday Magazine. Years later, when Peter was preparing for the SAT’s, we would board the same ferry in Edmonds at 6 o’clock at night. He would sit at one table and study; I would sit at another table nearby, writing. We would go back and forth across the Sound, and get off at 10:00, with four solid, uninterrupted hours of work under our belts.

Emily loved clouds, so we sat down together and wrote a book about clouds. When Katherine was a brand-new baby, I wrote an article for a national parenting magazine about how lambskin helped her sleep.

Come to think of it, my whole book, Put Your Heart on Paper, is filled with stories about the fun of writing with my family: writing lists with Emily, the thrill of writing an award-winning play with Peter, the closeness of co-authoring a book about the stars with James, the sweetness of finding notes from Katherine tucked in a shoe. When Peter punched a hole in the wall upstairs, when James’s truck broke down when Katherine wanted to ride her bike off the block, when Emily wanted me to buy her an expensive sweatshirt, we worked it out in our interactive journals. (I wrote an article for Writers’ Digest Personal Journaling Magazine called “A Diary for Two”).

I often sing in my head, sometimes fiercely, paraphrased from The Chorus Line, “God, I’m a WRITER, a writer WRITES.”

I love Mary Oliver’s Instructions for Living a Life

Pay Attention.

Be astonished.

Tell about it.

Wherever you are in life, look around you, write it up, send it in.

Henriette Anne Klauser, Ph.D.

Author and Speaker

Web: http://HenrietteKlauser.com/

Facebook: http://facebook.com/HenrietteKlauser/

By Hedgebrook Staff

Margarita Ramirez Loya and Storytelling as a Form of Social Justice:

In the current political climate, the question of whether writing fiction is of any practical use is a pressing one. While humanitarian groups such as No More Deaths/No Más Muertes work on the front lines of the South American refugee crisis at the US-Mexico border, sitting inside and reading or writing can begin to feel futile.

Writer and recent recipient of an Elizabeth George Foundation fellowship, Margarita Ramirez Loya has a more encouraging view. She believes that this is the perfect time for creative work to help change the narrative around immigration and give voice to those seeking asylum in the US as living conditions in their home countries become untenable. She has written about the importance of storytelling, saying, “I am aware of the power of reading. Books can become mirrors, windows, and sliding glass doors. I believe words matter… as long as there is an opportunity for unrepresented voices to be heard, there is hope for social justice… and I commend Hedgebrook for making sure that our voices are heard.”

Her remarks are particularly true as we look ahead, to the world our children will create. With this in mind, Ramirez Loya has chosen to work on a Young Adult novel, because “At this critical time in politics, I want young people to be aware of what is happening in our society. My wish is to create empathy in readers by having them witness, from an immigrant’s perspective, the atrocities that children and their families are currently experiencing at the border.”

In a time of tremendous political discourse on the matter, it is vital that attention is given to Mexican and South American writers who bringing forth stories of compassion and humanity. Their stories need to be told, and their books need to be read. And these writers need space and support to create their art.

Following her time as a writer-in-residence at Hedgebrook, Margarita spoke of the sanctity of this need: “As a child, I imagined myself writing stories for the world… I marveled at the idea of changing things that I didn’t like, just with the power of words… Hedgebrook welcomed me with open arms and taught me to believe in myself and that my words can create understanding in the world. Hedgebrook makes the world a better place… Thank you for believing in me and in the story that is in me that needs to be told.”

Margarita Ramirez Loya is a Mexican-American writer working in Arizona, and the recent recipient of an Elizabeth George Foundation fellowship. She is an ESL instructor at Cochise College, and, in 2012, she collaborated with her students to produce We Are Stories, a collection of stories based on interviews with Arizona residents that explores the immigrant experience, local history, and the power of storytelling. Currently, she is at work on a Young Adult novel centered around the US-Mexico border conflict and the resulting humanitarian crisis.

By Gabrielle James

Hedgebrook Holiday Gift Guide

As the holiday season approaches, we’ve put together a Gift Guide for the writer in your life, whether that is yourself or a loved one. We understand that lives are busy, and not everyone can find time for extended creative ventures, but there are other ways to quiet the world, get in touch with creativity, and nurture the artistic drive.

We at Hedgebrook believe that giving even brief time to artistic efforts can spark life-long creative pursuits. With that in mind, here is our list of immersive, innovative opportunities to incorporate the Hedgebrook experience into your upcoming year!


Throughout the year, we offer online classes designed to give writers space to focus on their work, supported by experienced, professional authors. Our classes offer the help writers might need to get a burgeoning project to take root, revive creativity, or give new life to a stalled idea, regardless of physical location.  In these seminars, you will learn from the writing techniques and practices of our teachers, and you will have extended access to the videos and exercises in order to incorporate them into your daily life with ease.      


Each May, we host a weekend of workshops, keynotes, and open-mics on Whidbey Island. Immerse yourself in conversations about artistic practice and discussions about what it means to be a woman writer at work in the world. In small-group workshops, share insights about works-in-progress with peers and published authors, and experience the support and energy that comes with working in a community. Revitalize over meals lovingly crafted by our chefs and, in quiet moments, explore the natural beauty of the island.


The holidays are the time of year when we think most about the needs of those we love, and make resolutions about the changes we wish to see in our own lives. Consider applying for, or offering to sponsor, a spot on one of our Master Classes. Surrounded by either the striking landscape of Whidbey or the dazzling hills of Tuscany, enjoy the energy of intimate workshops, run by award-winning authors who will provide critique tailored specifically to the needs of you and your work. Leave nourished by the cuisine and the company of other innovative writers.


If you believe in the work Hedgebrook does, please consider making a donation this holiday season. Your generosity allows us to provide spaces for women writers and facilitate conversations about the work they create.

Let us know in the notes section of your donation if you are giving on behalf of another, and we will happily send you a card enclosure. (Please allow at least seven business days for delivery.)

As you look ahead, to holiday gifts and New Year’s resolutions, commit to spending time in the upcoming year in a creative space. Promise to allow yourself to access and embolden your writing, or to empower the voice of a writer in your life.

From all of us here at Hedgebrook, we believe in your work and look forward to seeing what you write in the coming year.

Happy Holidays!

By Gabrielle James

Gratitude for our Executive Director Amy Wheeler’s Vision

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.

By Hedgebrook Staff

Hedgebrook’s Favorite Geek

GeekGirlCon art by Tatyana Vogt

Since 2011, autumn has heralded a major event in Seattle: GeekGirlCon. For two days, self-proclaimed geeks from all over the country join together to celebrate their love of all things geeky, often in costume. While the event is meant to provide a safe space for women and girls to feel empowered and uplifted, it is open to everyone, regardless of gender identification.

The GeekGirlCon mission statement declares that the organization “celebrates and honors the legacies of under-represented groups in science, technology, comics, arts, literature, game play, and game design. We do this by connecting geeks worldwide and creating an intersectional community that fosters the continued growth of women in geek culture. GeekGirlCon provides a safe space to spark conversations around social justice while encouraging unabashed geekiness.”

At the forefront of the organization is Sharon Magliano Feliciano, President of GeekGirlCon’s Board of Directors. Sharon’s geekiness extends outside of GeekGirlCon, and she can often be found in Shoreline, where she co-owns Arcane Comics. Those of you here at Hedgebrook might recognize her as our own Assistant Director of Development and Outreach.

GeekGirlCon board president and Hedgebrook Assistant Director Of Development & Outreach Sharon Magliano Feliciano geeks out with her kids at Arcane Comics. Photo: Joshua Huston for Seattle’s Child

Of her participation with both women-focused organizations, Sharon has said, “At the intersection of my work with Hedgebrook and my work with GeekGirlCon is the need to create safe spaces for women and under-represented voices. I feel so grateful to work with two amazing feminist organizations that encourage folks to express themselves bravely and authentically.”

While public geek culture has, historically, been male-dominated, and the stories in comics, video games, and science fiction have often catered to the male-gaze, this is beginning to change. In a world where interest in women’s stories and perspectives is growing, places like GeekGirlCon offer opportunities not only for life-long female fans to geek out together, but also for “geeklets” to explore the world of geekiness without judgment or bias. Sharon has been bringing her own children to GeekGirlCon since its inception, and the warm, open atmosphere is not only welcoming for parents, but, perhaps more importantly, shows their children, who will write the stories of the future, what an inclusive and accepting world looks like.

At the heart of GeekGirlCon is the belief that a more diverse and innovative geek fan-base not only exists, but should have a gathering space in which to celebrate their geekiness and creativity. A space that can spark new ways to look at stories and new platforms for building and sharing them. A space that advocates for the exploration of more inclusive and feminist storytelling. A space where women feel comfortable geeking-out and empowering each other.

We at Hedgebrook can’t wait to see the enthusiasm that emerges from this year’s GeekGirlCon, and are eager to support Sharon’s work as she looks to how our planet can represent itself in the future.

By Sharon Magliano

Hedgebrook Writers for the Win

Hedgebrook Writers For The Win!
These Hedgebrook Alumnae Have Been Recognized with Some of This Year’s Top Honors in Literature!
Carolyn Forche’ – Nonfiction
Laila Lalami – Fiction
Kali Farjado-Anstine – Fiction
Susan Choi – Fiction
Laura Da’ – Poetry
Ijeoma Oluo – Nonfiction
We are so proud to be a part of each writer’s journey. Hedgebrook relies on supporters like you to keep our programs thriving. Our Writers in Residence, Songwriters in Residence, Playwrights Festival, Screenwriters and Documentary Filmmakers Labs, Y-WE Write camp for youth, and Convenings are some of the ways we create safe spaces for women and non-binary writers to create.

Brava & Encore!

By Gabrielle James

Reflections From Summer Camp

In the summer of 2014, approximately 40 youth converged at the Whidbey Institue for the inaugural Y-We Write summer camp, a partnership with Young Women Empowered. Since then, over 200 young people have participated in the program. Writing workshops are led by Hegdebrook alumnae in fiction, spoken word, songwriting, and more.

Two of Hedgebrook’s teaching artists look back on this past summer’s Y-We Write summer camp and the transformative impact it has for all who participated.

Shannon Humphrey

Y-WE was an amazing experience, and I get as much experience as the students. They are invigorating with their curiosity, vulnerability, and passion. It is inspiring for me to watch them channel all of that into purposeful creatively. Their questions, suggestions, and support of one another do not cease to amaze me. I’m thrilled to have done it for two years in a row. Before I arrive, it feels challenging to set aside the business of life and put everything on hold, but once I get to Y-WE and the students’ hugs and anticipation, I’m so grateful. You know, it’s that part about needing a break from life but not knowing it until it happens. Their energy and love feed me too, and I come home rejuvenated. Thank you, Hedgebrook family, for helping make that a reality for them and us, the writers!

Amber Flame

Y-WE is a magical experience. It makes sense that the land holding the camp gains magical properties as well. There is such serenity among the trees, such peace in the hearts of those who service Whidbey Institute, that a sense of true safety descends and every individual has the opportunity to explore their creativity to the fullest. Songwriting workshops led to a chorus of voices for collaborative pieces, the energy of the other workshops mingled over lunch discussions and fed our inspiration. The youth experimented above and beyond any expectations. My time with the other Hedgebrook teaching artists was soul-filling and deeply connective; we gazed at stars and bonded in that short week with the same intensity a residency at Hedgebrook fosters! And I filled my little cabin with joyful noise, recommitted to my own creative drive to practice what I preach.

By Hedgebrook Staff

Women Championing Each Other

Women Championing Each Other

By uplifting the voices of women and non-binary writers, we are fueling a revolution!

Hedgebrook is pleased to recognize two celebrated, New York Times bestselling authors – Elizabeth George (known for her Inspector Lynley crime novel series), and the late novelist Rona Jaffe (who penned the bestselling classic novel The Best of Everything) – and the five Hedgebrook writers being supported through their foundations as an example of the spirited alchemy of women authoring change.

Both Foundations hold a mission to support emerging women writers of exceptional talent through awards and grants. They support Hedgebrook by establishing fellowships that underwrite the writer’s residencies, with a stipend to help cover their travel.


Lily Padilla: a playwright receiving acclaim for their play How To Defend Yourself, winner of the Yale Drama Series Prize that took the 2019 Humana New Play Festival by storm. They teach playwriting and devised theatre at University of California-San Diego. 

Elaine Kim: a fiction writer, Fulbright Foundation Research Fellowship Grantee and NYFA Fellow, working on a novel about how we live after war and loss; how we make sense of the forces of history that squeeze and shape us; and how we embrace or shy away from being agents of change in our lives and in the world around us.

Margarita Ramirez Loya: a fiction writer and ESL instructor working on a YA novel set against the backdrop of the US-Mexico border during the Trump administration. Margarita’s story will be a bold testimony giving voice to young people currently being silenced and locked in cages.

Ama Codjoe: a poet working on her first full-length collection of poems, Iterations of Being, that investigate the identity of an African-American woman whose personal and familial stories stretch across both sides of the Atlantic, and the ideas of iteration, repetition, and transformation through subjects such as memory, girlhood, nature, and fertility. 


Leslie Blanco: an American writer with Cuban and French ascendants who often refers to her colorful cultural heritage in her writings and puts the characters of her fictions into a Cuban context. Leslie’s essays and fiction have appeared The Huffington Post, The Kenyon Review, PANK, and numerous others.

By SassyBlack

Ancient Mahogany Gold

With the release of her new album Ancient Mahogany Gold, Hedgebrook Alum Relations Maven Kuri Jallow caught up with SassyBalck.

KJ: You’ve been doing this for a while, haven’t you? What inspired you to start writing and performing? 

SB: I have wanted to perform for as long as I can remember. Every time I saw a stage or a mic, I just wanted to get on it and share something. I wanted to get everyone’s attention and share myself. I started writing pretty early, but the first song I wrote was in 1997 when I first moved to Seattle from Hawaii. It was about love, and I can still sing it to this day. 

KJ: Why Ancient Mahogany Gold for this Album? 

SB: Those words just floated to me. I was working on a song, and the words came to me in the form of lyrics but stuck with me as the title of an album. The combination of these terms feel rich and hearty and strong and are an excellent representation of self-value and self-worth. 

“Ancient” – representing the age of our souls and spirits that we still struggle to understand. “Mahogany” – like the tree that stands firm and tall. Also, that word just rolls out of the mouth into the universe. And “Gold” – because it is the color of the sun and stars as we see them and holds value in our society. Also reference jazz, funk & soul classic “Golden Lady” by Stevie Wonder & “Sun Goddess” by Ramsey Lewis. There is so much more to it, but this is how I see it right now in this moment. 

KJ: You mention your experience at Hedgebrook helped in developing a song from this album. Can you tell us a bit more about that (and the name of the song)? 

SB: The song “Depression” was a work in progress when I went to stay at Hedgebrook in 2018. I was finally able to really release my outside world and give in to my music. I needed this break from reality like never before, so I dived into myself. In my sweet, serene cabin, I set up all my equipment and let my emotions flow. At that point “Depression” was still a skeleton of itself, a sketch. I was able to flesh out the song with lyrics and some harmonies, recorded in Ableton, my music production software, and with my SM58 mic. It was freeing. I worked on a lot of music and writing while there, but this is the song that made it out. 

KJ: Can you please share with our community how our Singer/Songwriter program impacted your music? 

SB: I didn’t quite understand Hedgebrook at first. It seemed too good to be true, but it’s not. It’s just what it says it is and it’s been a joy getting to learn more about the community and watch Hedgebrook continue to grow in all the ways an organization should and does over the years. I was lucky enough to be apart of the first class for the Singer/Songwriter program, and I can honestly say that it has strengthened my voice and my creativity as well as my community. It has been a blessing. 

KJ: What is next for SassyBlack? 

SB: I am working on a few things, including some short films I am writing and my first poetry book to come out spring 2020. Also music. Music will always be on the horizon for me.

Photo credit:  Texas Isaiah

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Hedgebrook Program Director Opportunity
Margarita Ramirez Loya and Storytelling as a Form of Social Justice:
Hedgebrook Holiday Gift Guide
Gratitude for our Executive Director Amy Wheeler’s Vision
Hedgebrook’s Favorite Geek
Hedgebrook Writers for the Win
Reflections From Summer Camp
Women Championing Each Other
Ancient Mahogany Gold