Join us for creative workshops led by and for women writers. Enjoy a day filled with lively conversation and delicious food, culminating in a party with an open mic. Write, learn, share stories and leave freshly inspired.

Date: Saturday, June 18, 2016 | 9 AM – 6 PM

Location: Hedgebrook Farm | Whidbey Island, WA



This event has passed. Stay tuned for upcoming information on our Winter Salon!


* All proceeds from this workshop benefit Hedgebrook and go toward underwriting our mission to support visionary women writers whose stories and ideas shape our culture now and for generations to come.

* If you have questions or if you are planning to give this experience as a gift, please contact us by phone at 360-321-4786 or email our office at

* Registration is via our Click and Pledge page. Full payment is due at the time of registration. Please call 360-321-4786 for any questions or concerns, or if you need help with your registration.


9:00 AM: Continental breakfast & kick-off conversation in the Longhouse

10:00 AM: Morning writing workshops in the cottages & Meadowhouse

12:30 PM: Lunch & conversation

2:00 PM: Afternoon writing workshops in the cottages & Meadowhouse

4:30 – 6 PM: Open Mic with wine & cheese reception in the Longhouse

Personal Essay: The Unexpected Ending

The morning session of this workshop is full.

Taught by Nicole Hardy

The best personal essays provide endings both revelatory and unexpected, giving the impression that the writer’s insight changes alongside the reader’s. We’ll dissect and discuss a range of these essays with an eye to elevating our own endings, mastering the techniques that support such (seemingly) effortless epiphanies.

Who They Really Are: Turning People Into Characters

Both sessions of this workshop are full.

Taught by Sonora Jha

How do you take real people and turn them into characters so their stories can be told? In this class, we will find the people who inhabit our real life and times – in news stories big and small – and turn them into fictional characters so we can tell stories with a big heart. We will plunge into their motivations, their deep desires and fears, and get to the soul of how ordinary humans become compelling characters on our page. Bring a news story of your own or an idea for a character in your work. Sonora will have some at hand as well. Using writing prompts and other tools, we will fill the cottage with dynamic characters who take risks, say beautiful, terrible things, and leap off our page.

Dissolving or Deepening Tension with Humor

Taught by Jennie Shortridge

A story without humor can be a story without soul. But a story with ill-timed, gimmicky, or gratuitous jokes can pull the reader out of the narrative. What are the uses of humor in a story, and how are they best executed in terms of dissolving or deepening tension? We’ll look at excerpts from work by Sue Townsend, Lorrie Moore, Antonya Nelson and others, and we’ll respond to prompts with writing that reflects different points on the humor spectrum.

Somebody’s Got a Secret: cultivating the unseen passions, fears, and lies that keep your characters and your story moving forward

Both sessions of this workshop are full.

Taught by Elizabeth Heffron

The dissonance that happens between what people say, versus what they do, is the storyteller’s best friend. The slow-rising awareness of the actual context of a character’s situation (their secret) can keep your readers or audience on the edge of their seats. Playwright Jose Rivera calls this the “IV drip” of information. In this workshop, we examine successful examples and explore techniques for unleashing the power of your characters’ innermost secrets.

Choosing Collage: Meaning before Form

The afternoon session of this workshop is full.

Taught by Elissa Washuta

Collage structure presents an alluring alternative to the familiar arc of dramatic narrative structure for those writers seeking to break with chronology and create complex textures of time and story in memoir and personal essay. A structural model will best serve the work when it is married to meaning, a container built to the measurements of the work’s shape. Shards of collage can mirror the fragments of a broken consciousness, and its movements can augment notions of the unknown. In this workshop, students will learn about the possibilities of collage structure and draft their own collage pieces.

Where Prose Meets Poetry: A Map to the Hidden Lyricism in Your Work

Co-taught by Mary Anne Carter and Sarah Galvin

Ever wonder what makes poetry different than song lyrics, or restaurant menus, or the things people yell out of their cars while honking at each other? There are elements of poetry in all of these things (who can deny cursing evocatively is an art form?) but carefully crafted structures assemble these elements into what we know as poetry. In this workshop we will look at the formal evolution of poetry, parallels in other mediums such as visual art, and provide the perspective on form you need to write the best poems possible! Bring writing implements for top secret, topless, explosive, artisanal, 9.5 % ABV, on-sale-for-one-day-only writing exercises.

Mary Anne CarterMary Anne Carter is a Seattle-based visual artist with a deep affection for the poetry community. Her recent collection of screen printed broadsides was praised by The Stranger for enlivening an “old-timey form with humor, typographic wildness, and a deep understanding of poetic structures.” Humor, wildness, and structure define both Carter’s character and body of work, which includes printmaking, fashion design, textile design, and performance. Her work has appeared on the covers of several publications including No, Dear Magazine’s Popular Issue, Enough by Chris Martin, Sakra Boccata by José Antonio Mazzotti, and Ugly Duckling Presse’s 6×6 Issue 21. Website: Sarah GalvinSarah Galvin is the author of a book of poems, The Three Einsteins and a book of essays, The Best party of Our Lives. Her poetry and essays can be also found in io, New Ohio Review, Vice Magazine, and Pinwheel, among others. She is a regular contributor to The Stranger newspaper. She is a winner of the 2015 Lottery Grant, a 2015 James W. Ray award nominee, and was considered for what would have been the first Radio Flyer Wagon DUI in Washington State history.

Nicole HardyNicole Hardy‘s memoir, Confessions of a Latter-Day Virgin, was a finalist for the 2014 Washington State Book Award. Her other books include the poetry collections This Blonde and Mud Flap Girl’s XX Guide to Facial Profiling–a chapbook of pop-culture inspired sonnets. Her work has appeared in literary journals and newspapers including The New York Times, and has been adapted for radio and stage. Her essay “Single, Female, Mormon, Alone” was noted in 2012’s “Best American Essays.” She earned her MFA at the Bennington College Writing Seminars. Visit her at

Elizabeth HeffronElizabeth Heffron’s plays include Bo-Nita, a 2014 Edgerton New Play Award recipient, which received its world premiere at the Seattle Repertory Theatre, and subsequently at Portland Center Stage. Her play, Mitzi’s Abortion: A Saint’s Guide to Late-Term Politics and Medicine in America, premiered at ACT Theatre in 2006, and has since been performed across the country, and published by Original Works Publishing, and the Rain City anthology ‘MANIFESTO v.3, edited by Naomi Iizuka. A portion of her most recent work, Portugal, was first presented at the 2013 Hedgebrook Women Playwrights Festival, and will now be featured in its entirety this summer at the Great Plains Theatre Conference. She is a staff writer of short radio dramas for Sandbox Radio Live, and currently teaches at Cornish College of the Arts and Freehold Theatre/Lab, where she is working with incarcerated women on a collaborative performance piece. She is an alumna of the Seattle Rep Writers Group, a member of the Sandbox Artists Collective, and the Dramatists Guild.

Sonora JhaSonora Jha is the author of the novel Foreign and a professor of journalism and media studies at Seattle University. Her Op-Eds have been published in The New York Times, Seattle Times, Seattle Weekly and The Globalist and her academic work has appeared in top tier national and international journals. Sonora was previously Metro Bureau Chief at The Times of India and a journalist in Singapore before moving to the U.S. to get a Ph.D. in political communication. She is an alumna and president of the board of Hedgebrook Writers’ Retreat and teaches a class in fiction at the Richard Hugo House. She has just finished her second book, a memoir.

Elissa WashutaElissa Washuta is a member of the Cowlitz Indian Tribe and a writer of personal essays and memoir. She is the author of two books, Starvation Mode and My Body Is a Book of Rules. Her work has appeared in Salon, The Chronicle of Higher Education, BuzzFeed, and elsewhere. Elissa serves as the undergraduate adviser for the Department of American Indian Studies at the University of Washington and a nonfiction faculty member in the MFA program at the Institute of American Indian Arts.


JennieShortridgeJennie Shortridge is the author of five bestselling novels, including Love Water Memory and When She Flew. Her books have been translated into several languages and selected as American Booksellers Association’s Indie Next picks, Target Bookmarked picks, and Library Journal’s Editors’ Picks. An avid teacher and volunteer, she is the co-founder of Seattle7Writers, a nonprofit collective of Northwest authors who raise money and awareness for Northwest literature and literacy. Learn more at

“The salons give me a chance to meet new teachers and gain new perspectives on my writing; I always learn something new and make new friends through the salons. I would never have started writing poetry if it weren’t for a Hedgebrook salon — it’s changed my entire life!”

~Lea Galanter, previous Salon attendee

“I love the winter salon for its brevity: in one day, you get to meet other writers, interact with a range of teachers who are masters in their craft, share your work out loud, eat great food, and go home fired up to write on as the holiday season transitions you into a new year. The experience as a whole is not unlike a wine and cheese sampler at a Hedgebrook reception: brief, nourishing, memorable, and always delicious.”

~Hannah Lee Jones, previous Salon attendee

“I found Hedgebrook before moving to wonderful Whidbey Island. I made the trek north from California annually just to join in the camaraderie, support and swirl of knowledge that is the Salon. Now I’m a local and still never miss it. Nothing feeds my creative soul more than this day at Hedgebrook, and I now go with a gaggle of gal pals. We submerge ourselves in the joy of communal learning and writing, great food, and fascinating women coming together in the most magical way.”

~Debra Campbell, previous Salon attendee