$80 Regular (Reflects true cost of running this program)

$120 Supporter (Registration at this level helps allow us to offer classes to all, regardless of ability to pay)

$15-$60 Pay-what-you-can (pay-scale based on your capacity during this uncertain time)

No cost: please contact us at if your financial circumstances are such that you cannot afford to pay at this time. We are working to ensure that every writer can have access to inspiration and support in this time of uncertainty and isolation, regardless of ability to pay.


Online Writing Series

Welcome to Hedgebrook’s online writing series. Now you can experience a taste of the radical hospitality we offer writers at our Whidbey Island retreat in your own home or writing space, while studying with seasoned teachers from our community. At this point in time, as people are staying home for health and safety, we are re-launching all four of our online classes to the entire Hedgebrook community.  

Many people are experiencing unprecedented losses in this time of global pandemic. In acknowledgment of different circumstances, we are offering these classes at a range of registration rates. From “Supporter” (pay more than cost) to, “Pay-what-you-can” and free, we honor our community’s need to empower one another in our respective crafts, and to stay connected and inspired. We know that if we are to move toward a future of greater equity, health and justice, women’s stories need to be equally heard — even during a global pandemic. We hope these classes give you the strength and resolve to tell your stories and raise up your voices in whatever ways you can, wherever you are in the world.

We offer classes in a diversity of genres designed to ground your writing practice and hone your craft. Classes are filmed at the retreat, and presented as a series of pre-recorded chapters, with the teacher and a small group of writers. The classes can be taken all at once or over the course of time it is offered. You can take each class you register for as many times as you’d like within the timeframe.

We also share elements of Hedgebrook’s retreat experience to inspire your writing, such as recipes from our Farmhouse kitchen and chefs, images from our land to print or use as a screensaver, and messages to energize your process. 

Please see the FAQs for answers to many of your questions. If you have questions that are not answered in the FAQs, feel free to email us at

The Surprising Power of Vulnerability
with Claire Dederer

Class Available April 6 – June 15


What does it mean to “do your job” as a memoirist?  In “The Surprising Power of Vulnerability,” New York Times bestselling memoirist, critic, and writing instructor Claire Dederer expertly guides students towards saying the uncomfortable truth. Claire helps students see that writing those difficult truths is in fact the moral function of the memoir. Through a series of readings, discussions, and practical exercises, students learn how to build a structure out of their own discomfort so that readers might shelter there, and ultimately, feel less alone.  You’ll use scene as an essential vehicle to write the kind of vulnerable work that lays bare the writer’s own honestly stated ambivalence–an honesty which ultimately serves the reader.  Claire addresses the critical importance of self-exposure in memoir writing, and helps writers break through the catharsis (instead of getting stuck there) in order to take that material and write it into a gift for the reader that is a work of art.

Filmed at Hedgebrook, in the Longhouse with a fire crackling and ducks quacking in the garden, this class offers writing exercises and strategies for writers to summon the courage needed to write difficult truths with real vulnerability in the memoir.   This class is structured to be of value to a wide range of students, at different points in their writing career.

Chat Room:

Within a week after registering for this online class, you will receive an email from Hedgebrook, inviting you to join the class’s private chat room on Slack. You will be able to chat with fellow students through June 15th. Claire will join the class chat group on Saturday, 5/2 from 11AM-12PM PDT and on Sunday, 6/7 from 11AM-12PM PDT Please email with any questions.


Claire Dederer is the bestselling author of two critically acclaimed memoirs: Love and Trouble and Poser. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Atlantic, Vogue, The Paris Review, the Nation, Slate, Marie Claire, the Washington Post, and countless other publications.  Claire has taught writing at literary centers, conferences, and universities across the country, including Hugo House, StoryStudio Chicago, and the University of Washington. She currently teaches in the MFA writing program at Pacific University.





How does the class work?

This online class is a series of pre-recorded video sessions, divided into chapters in chronological order, featuring the teacher and a small group of students in a cottage at the Hedgebrook retreat. Each class includes lectures, writing exercises, and pre-recorded class conversation. You may start and stop the video at any point. Most chapters end with a writing exercise. 

Is there homework?

The class is one continuous session that you can take at your own pace (or over several days or a few weeks), with writing exercises woven in. The teacher will prompt you in the video when there is a writing exercise.  After you’ve completed the writing exercise, simply play the next class video when you’re ready.

How much time will the class take?

This is totally up to you! Different classes are different lengths, and all are designed so you can move at your own pace. Once you register, you are welcome to return to the class as often as you like until the last day it’s offered.  The classes in our Online Writing Series range anywhere from around 60 minutes to around 90 minutes of total recorded video time.  The writing prompts will extend the total length of the class, depending on how many prompts there are. Each class is broken down into chapters, varying in length from around 5 to 20 minutes. Most of the chapters end with a writing prompt or exercise, which you can do on your own time simply by pausing the video and then coming back and starting with the next chapter. If not specified by your teacher, you might want to plan to spend 5-15 minutes on each of the writing prompts, in addition to the recorded instruction.

Is there a Discussion or Chat Room?

You will receive an invitation to join a private chat room on Slack for this online class within a week of registering for the class.  You may use the chat room to communicate with other students throughout the duration of the class.  Some (though not all) of the classes may feature one or two opportunities to chat with the teacher of the online class.   Please check the class description or email us at to check if the teacher of the class you want to register for plans to chat with students.

Will the teacher review my work?

No, the teacher won’t be able to review your work. But you will be able to ask specific questions during a set chat with the teacher (depending on the class). 

Can I take the class on my phone?

No, you’ll need a tablet or a computer with a fast internet connection to access class videos. You may find that having a notebook and pen or your computer to do the exercises will be helpful.

Is there a discount if I take more than one Hedgebrook online class?

When you register, you will see options to pay anywhere from $120 (support others to take the class) to the regular rate of $80, as well as a range from $15 – $60.  For some who are not in a position to pay for the class at this time, there is also a free option.  Each time you register for a class, you have an opportunity to decide how much you can pay.  These classes are providing much needed income for Hedgebrook, at a time when many of our in-person classes have been canceled.  However, we believe everyone should have access to these classes regardless of ability to pay, so we will leave it up to you to decide what you can afford. 

How can I take the class for free?

Please contact Jennifer and Britt at, and they will help get you setup to take the class. 

Please send other questions to

Witness & Resistance: Using Your Personal Story for Social Change & Action with Jourdan Keith

Class available April 6 – June 15

Class Description:

This workshop will focus on how you can use your personal stories to connect people to social change and taking action.  This is a perfect workshop if you write across genres because we’ll be using poetry as well as personal essays.   The class will look at the connection between the larger context of the story you have to tell, and framing that story in a way that allows people to hear the vulnerable issues that are shaping our world, and hopefully, compel them to take action. Through writing, you’ll explore how to move essays, poems and conversations from “bumper sticker,” to a place where the vulnerability of our own stories comes through and invites people to hear something they might not be as comfortable hearing otherwise.  The class will read from Fire and Ink: An Anthology of Social Action WritingYou and Yours by Naomi Shihab Nye, “Federico’s Ghost” by Martin Espada, and from Jourdan’s own poem, “Homophobia’s Hidden Carbon Count,” illustrating how a personal story can move people to see the connection between homophobia and climate change, which affects us all.  This class was filmed following the presidential election of 2016, and the content and message remains relevant (perhaps even more so) today.

Chat Room: Within a week after registering for this online class, you will receive an email from Hedgebrook, inviting you to join the class’s private chat room on Slack. You will be able to chat with fellow students through June 15th.



Jourdan Imani Keith is a poet, essayist, playwright, naturalist, and activist. She received a 2018 Americans for the Arts award for “Your Body of Water,” the theme for King County’s 2016-2018 Poetry on Buses program based on her TEDx Talk. Keith’s Orion Magazine essays, “Desegregating Wilderness” and ” At Risk” were selected for the 2015 Best American Science and Nature Writing Anthology (Houghton Mifflin). She has been awarded fellowships from Hedgebrook, Wildbranch, Santa Fe Science Writing workshop, VONA, and Jack Straw. Her memoir in essays, Tugging at the Web is forthcoming from University of Washington Press.

~Jourdan “Take care of your blessings” ~Essex Hemphill Follow me on twitter @griotworks Blog:


Structuring Your Memoir with Theo Nestor

Class available April 6 – June 15

Class Description:

After a honeymoon period of writing the initial pages of a memoir, writers often get caught up in a maze of questions regarding the book’s structure and content. In this class “Structuring Your Memoir,” memoirist and award-winning writing instructor Theo Pauline Nestor will lead you through a series of writing prompts designed to ferret out the questions that underlie your writing project and that hold the key to your dilemmas around where to begin, where to end, and what to include and what to leave out. Theo’s step-by-step approach helps you to discover the answers you already hold and offers practical ideas for putting those answers to work right away. Set in Meadow House at the retreat, this class offers the magic of Hedgebrook’s famous “radical hospitality” and the feeling of permission that women writers inevitably experience working in the Hedgebrook cottages. Class length: 73 minutes plus writing exercises.

Chat Room:

Theo will be available to chat with students in a virtual chat room twice during the time this class is offered. She will be available for 1 hour on both Saturday, April 25th from noon-1PM PDT and Sunday, May 17th from noon-1PM PDT. Bring your questions!


Theo Pauline Nestor is a writer, writing coach, and creator of the Writing Is My Drink blog, a place for writers coming into their own and finding their voice. Theo is the author of How to Sleep Alone in a King-Size Bed, which was a 2008 Kirkus Review Top Picks for Reading Groups and a Target Breakout Book. An award-winning instructor, Nestor teaches the Certificate in Memoir Writing for the University of Washington in Seattle.




Becoming Unstuck: Find Flow and Free Your Voice with Natalie Serber

Class available April 6 – June 15


Recapture some joy at your writing desk! In this online class, we’ll spend time exploring what gets in the way of our creative freedom. Inner Critic slowing you down? I’ve got ideas to quiet that noise. Fear of failing? I’ve got a few antidotes. Worried about cutting too close to the bone? Let’s talk about how to stay safe and make discoveries. We all get in our own way. It’s important to remember that the opposite of fear is faith. Faith in ourselves, in our process, in our voices, in our unique story. I’ve got thirteen practical steps to overcome the sludge of stuck! Once we’ve dissected our difficulties, we’ll spend time writing together, using prompts as a backdoor into our manuscripts, whether we’re starting something brand new, or in the midst of a long project.

Chat Room:

Within a week after registering for this online class, you will receive an email from Hedgebrook, inviting you to join the class’s private chat room on Slack. You will be able to chat with fellow students through June 15th. Natalie will be available to chat with students on Saturday, April 25th from 10-11:30AM PDT and Saturday, May 23rd from 10-11:30AM PDT.


Natalie Serber is the author of a memoir, Community Chest, and a story collection, Shout Her Lovely Name, New York Times Notable Book. Her fiction has appeared in One Story, Zyzzyva Magazine, The Greensboro Review, The Bellingham Review, Gulf Coast, and othersEssays and reviews have appeared in The New York Times, The Huffington Post, O, the Oprah Magazine, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Rumpus, and others. Visit her online at

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