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Master Classes

Master Classes combine Hedgebrook’s retreat experience with the unique opportunity to be in residence and study with a celebrated teacher on beautiful Whidbey Island.

Creative writing workshops in a diversity of formats and genres are offered to women writers at all levels of experience. Participation in each class is limited to 6-8 writers, to ensure individual attention, and create an intimate, supportive writing community.

2019 Master Classes

We offer a variety of classes to suit writers at different levels of experience and phases in the writing process. Some are generative, designed to inspire new projects or breakthroughs in your process, while others focus on craft or developing a project already underway. Over the course of the week, teachers give generously of their time: leading a series of writing workshops, talks on craft and constructive group feedback sessions, meeting one-on-one with each writer, and sharing evening meals with the group. Writers also enjoy time in retreat to write and rejuvenate.

We offer a variety of classes over the course of the year.

Lan Samantha Chang: Family Stories

June 4-11


“All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” In this celebrated opening to Anna Karenina, Tolstoy identified the unique nature of families, our first and most intimate genesis of novels and stories. Each family relationship provides an inexhaustible opportunity for the profound exploration of time, love, memory, and responsibility. The writing of many cultures has also explored the meaningful nature of volitional families not united not by blood or marriage, but by friendship, circumstance, and loyalty, and faith.

This will be a supportive and intimate workshop setting designed to provide constructive and generative feedback on individual short stories or novel chapters. The subject matter of family will provide a narrative vehicle through which we will explore essential craft elements of fiction such as point of view, character development, pacing, and memory. We’ll be defining and discussing these elements, with an emphasis on the writing process, including revision, story and novel development, and time management.

Lan Samantha Chang is one of four sisters raised in Appleton, Wisconsin. She is the author of an award-winning collection of stories, Hunger, and two novels, Inheritance and All is Forgotten, Nothing is Lost. Her work has been translated into nine languages and has been selected twice for inclusion in The Best American Short Stories. She has given workshops on short story and novel writing at The American Library in Paris, the Napa Valley Writers’ Conference, and the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. Sam has been chosen as One Story’s Mentor of the Year for her support of emerging writers. She lives in Iowa City, Iowa, where she is a professor creative writing at the University of Iowa and the first female director of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She’s currently writing a novel about a Chinese American community in the Midwest.

Please note: The application is accessible via SlideRoom. Each Master Class has a priority deadline listed below, and classes often fill with a waitlist. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis by Hedgebrook staff and teachers, so we strongly recommend interested writers apply as soon as possible. We anticipate decisions will be finalized within two weeks of the priority deadline.

All levels are welcome to this Master Class.

Program Dates

Arrivals: Tuesday, June 4th
Departures: Tuesday, June 11th
Priority deadline: Tuesday, April 2nd


Fee: $3200 (Covers lodging, meals, and workshops; all taxes included.
Deposit: $1,000, due: Tuesday, April 23rd
Final Payment Due: Tuesday, May 7th

Please note that we are unable to offer financial aid or scholarships for this master class.

Retreat Experience

Each writer is housed in her own handcrafted cottage in the woods. Delicious meals are prepared by Hedgebrook’s chefs, featuring produce harvested from our organic garden. Our land features beautiful wooded walking trails, ponds and meadows teeming with wildlife, nearby Double Bluff beach, and breathtaking views across Puget Sound, with Mount Rainier in the distance. While the setting is rural, nearby towns offer shops and amenities.


Our six hand-crafted cottages–Oak, Fir, Owl, Cedar, Willow and Waterfall–were designed by architect Chuck Dougherty, who worked with the Amish in Pennsylvania. While all the cottages have a similar design, they are built of a variety of woods and have unique color schemes and furnishings. Stained glass windows, pottery sinks, and other features were designed and crafted by local artisans.

Cottage_interior_smEach cottage has an upstairs sleeping loft with a hand built double bed, lamps, rocking chair, chest of drawers, and a small closet. With advance notice, it is possible to accommodate a bed downstairs for those who don’t feel they can climb the ship ladder to the loft. The main floor has a work area with ample desk space, a sitting area with window seat looking out into the woods, and a comfortable, overstuffed armchair. Bookshelves have space for the writer’s personal library, as well as a cottage journal in which each resident is invited to make entries during her stay. With entries dating from Hedgebrook’s genesis in 1988, the journals are the cottage’s living legacy–and a way for writers to connect with those who have come before, and those will come after her stay.

A small half-bathroom and a fully equipped efficiency kitchen finish out the main floor. All cottages have electricity and are heated primarily by wood stoves. Writers share a centrally located bathhouse equipped with two showers, old-fashioned bathtub, two sinks, drawers for each cottage, heated floors and a washer/dryer.

The historic Farmhouse is the center of the Hedgebrook community, where residents gather for dinner at a table overlooking Deer Lagoon and Puget Sound. All meals are prepared by Hedgebrook’s chefs, using organic food from our garden and local farmers. The Farmhouse living room, with a library full of Hedgebrook writers books, serves as a gathering place for residents to converse and share their work.

Selection Process

The application is accessible via SlideRoom. Each Master Class has a priority deadline listed below, and classes often fill with a waitlist. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis by Hedgebrook staff and teachers, so we strongly recommend interested writers apply as soon as possible. We anticipate decisions will be finalized within two weeks of the priority deadline.

Lan Samantha Chang: Family Stories

Class dates June 4-11 and priority application deadline: Tuesday, April 2nd

If you have questions about whether a specific Master Class is appropriate for you or your project, or any other question about the Series, please be in touch with us at 360-321-4786.

Refund Policy

Upon acceptance into the class, participant pays a $1,000 non-refundable deposit to hold a space in the class. Should payment not be received by the deposit due date, the slot will be released to a wait-listed participant.

You will be informed of the payment schedule upon registration. The full fee is non-refundable upon due date.

If Hedgebrook, the teacher or student is unable to complete the class due to unforeseen circumstances, we will consider a partial refund on a case-by-case basis.