Staff + Board


Program Director, Events: Rob Arnold

Rob Arnold has spent the past decade in publishing and literary advocacy, co-founding the online magazine Memorious and holding editorial roles at Ploughshares, Fence Books, The National Poetry Series, Grid Books, and Aevitas Creative Management. He was also a digital marketing specialist at Beacon Press, and associate director of PEN New England. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Ploughshares, The Gettysburg Review, Hyphen, Poetry Northwest, Yes Poetry, and The Ocean State Review, among others.

Program Director, Education: Margot Kahn Case

Margot Kahn Case received her MFA in nonfiction from Columbia University. Before rejoining Hugo House as program director, she spent nearly a decade freelancing. Prior to that, she managed SAL’s Writers in the Schools program and directed youth programs at Hugo House. Her books include the award-winning biography Horses That Buck and the New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice anthology This Is the Place: Women Writing About Home. Her next collection, Wanting: Women Writing About Desire, is forthcoming in 2021. Margot’s writing has appeared in the Rumpus, Lenny Letter, Tablet, BUST, Publishers Weekly, and elsewhere. In 2019, Jericho Brown chose her poem “Winter” for the Crab Creek Review Poetry Prize.

Front Desk & Registrar: Lily Frenette

Lily Frenette (she/her) was once told she read too many books and should do something else with her time. She ignored that and added writing to her repertoire. Graduated from Sarah Lawrence College, she studied creative writing, photography, and environmental issues. She previously interned at The Loft Literary Center and The Center for Fiction. When not writing or reading, she can be found hiking, taking photos, listening to podcasts, or talking about her home state of Minnesota.

Marketing Assistant: Megan Gallagher

Megan Gallagher studied creative writing at Western Washington University. Before joining the Hugo House team part-time in January 2019, she interned at Bellevue Arts Museum, KCLS, and Artist Trust. She also currently works as the Communications Coordinator at BAM and as a library page. Outside of work, she likes to run, cook, and play with her dog.

Development Director: Louise Kincaid

louisekincaidLouise Kincaid has worked in nonprofit management and development for over 25 years. Prior to joining Hugo House, she was the Development Officer at the Institute of Flight, Executive Director for Mercer Island Center for the Arts, and Director of Development for Village Theatre. From 1992 to 2002, Louise was the Executive Director of Northwest Chamber Orchestra, where she led the organization to a 10-year period of remarkable organizational growth, fiscal stability, and artistic excellence. She graduated from the University of Michigan with two graduate degrees in Musicology and Music Performance.

Development & Board Coordinator: Nicole McCarthy

Nicole McCarthy received her MFA in Creative Writing & Poetics from the University of Washington Bothell. Before coming to Hugo House, Nicole worked as a bookseller at King’s Books, a happy helper at Wave Books, and as the managing editor for a few local literary journals. Her work has appeared in Glass: a Journal of Poetry, The Shallow Ends, Ghost Proposal, the 2018 Best American Experimental Writing Anthology, and others. She also occasionally teaches for the Write253 program, offering classes in experimental creative writing to youth in Tacoma.

Finance Director: John Peterman

John Peterman graduated from UW Business School and worked as a senior analyst in financial forecasting and analysis. A little while ago, he moved to a little ski town in Colorado to write and fly down mountains. His first novel died in the silence when it met the world. His second novelette earned an honorable mention in competition. This will likely alter humankind forever…is a phrase he often whispers at 2 a.m. after he closes his laptop and looks to the stars. He returned to the coast knowing that the power of storytelling would be at the core of any and all future endeavors. He is happy where he landed.

Marketing Director: Katie Prince

Katie Prince has worked in writing, editing, and design for more than eight years, in fields ranging from journalism and publishing to corporate and nonprofit marketing. Prior to joining Hugo House, she served as the marketing coordinator at the Nordic Museum during its rebrand and transition to a new facility. She holds an MFA in poetry from the University of North Carolina Wilmington, where she taught classes in publishing and book design, worked as a designer for Ecotone, and interned at Lookout Books. She has been a named a finalist for the National Poetry Series, the St. Lawrence Book Award, and the Philip Levine Prize. Her work has been published in Electric Literature, Fugue, The Adroit Journal, and Poetry Northwest, among others.

Executive Director: Tree Swenson

Photo by Rosanne Olson

Tree Swenson has been the executive director of Hugo House since early 2012. She previously spent ten years as executive director of the Academy of American Poets in New York, where she launched the Poem-a-Day program and started the annual Poetry & the Creative Mind event at Lincoln Center. Swenson was the executive director and publisher at Copper Canyon Press, which she co-founded, for twenty years. The Press produced books from poets including Nobel Laureates and Pulitzer Prize–winners, and garnered numerous national awards. She also served as director of programs at the Massachusetts Cultural Council and is a former board president of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP). She holds an MPA degree from the Kennedy School at Harvard.

Program Assistance, Front Desk, and Bartenders

Mickee Cheung, Thomas Ianelli, Sarah Johnson, Amy Lin, and Eric Roper

A/V Tech

Jason Glover


Dick GemperleDick Gemperle (President) is a retired architect currently on the Board of Seattle Opera, where he chairs the Facilities Committee, which recently oversaw completion of the Opera Center, adjacent to McCaw Hall. He has been Manager of the King County Architecture Division and chair of the building committees for St. Joseph School and Jubilee Women’s Center. He is a member of two book clubs, subscribes to REP, ACT, and OSF, and has taken poetry classes at Hugo House. He came to Hugo House five years ago through the Facilities Task Force for the new home.

lynn-grantLynn Grant (Vice President) is a writer who lives on Capitol Hill. She works as a developmental editor.

Sarah Kuipers (Treasurer) is an attorney with Kowan & Cordon, LLC, where she focuses her practice in tax planning and complex transactional structuring. In the course of her legal career to date, she has provided counsel to a wide variety of clients, from large multinational companies to mom-and-pop businesses. Sarah received her LLM in tax from NYU, her JD from the University of Virginia, and her BA from Swarthmore College. She lives on Bainbridge Island with her wife, the poet Keetje Kuipers, their young daughter, and their doodle Prairie. Although Sarah has fallen in love with the Pacific Northwest, she remains devoted to her Philadelphia sports teams.

Mary Jo Newhouse (Secretary) is a longtime resident of Montlake. She practices as a healthcare attorney in Seattle, prior to attending law school she was a nurse at Children’s Hospital in Seattle. She grew up in Eastern Washington on the family farm which raised hops, fruit trees, and wine grapes. She and her husband have three adult children and she continues to dabble in the family wine business.

Allison Augustyn 2Allison Augustyn is an award-winning writer and editor. She was a rock music critic for the Chicago Sun-Times and Seattle Times, and contributed to the book Kill Your Idols (Barricade Books, 2004). She is co-author of the PROSE award-winning Gems and Gemstones (University of Chicago, 2009), and opened five exhibits as a media writer at The Field Museum of Natural History. She has also worked as a marketing and development consultant for nonprofits in the U.S. and Africa. She is currently transitioning into writing fiction, and takes classes at Hugo House. In 2015, she was awarded a Washington State Artist Trust residency for fiction, and published stories in The Masters Review, Doll Hospital, and Whole Terrain.

Elizabeth DeNoma is a senior editor on the Amazon Crossing team. Elizabeth regularly leads panels at publishing industry events such as the London Book Fair, BookExpo, and the American Literary Translators Association. Elizabeth completed her PhD in Scandinavian languages and literature at the University of Washington and taught for several years at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Her dissertation focused on the intertextual relationship between the literary works of Selma Lagerlof and their film adaptations in the silent and sound eras. She lives with her family in Seattle, where she can be found in or on the water whenever the weather permits. She’s won several awards for her scholarship, including a Fulbright Award for dissertation research and a SWEA literary scholar of the year award from the Global Swedish Women Association.

BoardPics_DonteFDonte Felder is fueled and inspired by the students he teaches at Orca K-8, an alternative school in South Seattle. Besides exploring the formation of the United States and the philosophy of story, Felder is energized by the many possibilities that are presented when writing a screenplay. Felder is a graduate of Goddard College where he received his MFA in Creative Writing with a focus on screenwriting. Felder is happily married and has three wonderful children.

Bruce Funkhouser enjoyed a broad career in media as a musician, disc jockey, broadcasting educator, recording engineer, record company owner and CEO, and an executive responsible for operations, programming, licensing, and legislative outreach. He retired in 2013 from his position as VP—International, Distributions, and License Administration for Copyright Clearance Center (CCC). During his tenure with CCC, he also served as a director and vice president on the Board of the International Federation of Reproductive Rights Organizations (IFRRO), representing the interests of .S publishers, authors, and creators of intellectual property.

He recently completed his final term as vice president of the Board of Artist Trust of Washington State and has been a member of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences for over 30 years.

Dottie Hall is an aspiring writer who has benefited from multiple Hugo House courses. With her husband JJ Leary, she has co-authored a cookbook, Cooking with Your Snooks, to share the joy and rewards of cooking with your loved one. She is a retired high-tech marketing executive with over thirty years’ experience. The quintessential startup junkie, she led marketing at companies including Symantec, Tesla Motors, and Microsoft. She holds an MS in management from the MIT Sloan School of Management and a BA in journalism from Georgia State University. She has served on other nonprofit boards including the Alliance for Gun Responsibility Foundation (current), New American Schools, and the Arizona Software Association as well as on various for-profit boards.

Lynn Heinisch has a career in global health and international development which has included assignments throughout Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, and four years living in Africa (Benin and South Africa). She served as executive communications director at CARE and PATH, where she also led public health communications, and has worked as a journalist, CEO speechwriter, media relations officer for Intel, and consultant to humanitarian agencies.

Her writing has appeared in Ladies Home Journal, the Journal of Modern African Studies, Seattle Times, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Kindred, Duke magazine, and the book So Far Away and Yet So Near. She was writer-in-residence at North Cascades National Park in Washington. Lynn earned her BA in English at Duke University and her MA in international relations at University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg.

Elise Holschuh built her career in general management and marketing, working in product management and marketing strategy for General Mills, US Communications, and Foote, Cone and Belding. Her nonprofit experience has focused on utilizing her professional training on behalf of organizations that matter to her. Most recently she served several years as Board Chair for Path with Art, an organization whose mission is to help transform lives of people in recovery by harnessing the power of creative engagement. Her personal passion in the arts takes the form of writing, a pursuit that brought her to Hugo House for the rich opportunities offered, and then, for the opportunity to serve on the board.

Georgia S. McDade, PhD, is a retired English professor who spent most of her career teaching at Tacoma Community College but also taught at Seattle Community College, University of Washington, Renton Vocational Technical School, and Lakeside School. She has volunteered at a number of elementary and high schools as both teacher and tutor and conducted writing classes for all ages. A prolific writer, McDade published Travel Tips for Dream Trips, questions and answers about her six-month solo trip around the world; Outside the Cave I, II, III, and IV, volumes of her poetry; and Observations and Revelations, a collection of stories and essays. Her writing can be found in Leschinews and South Seattle Emerald. Much of her time today is spent organizing events for twenty-eight-year-old African-American Writers’ Alliance (AAWA); McDade was a charter member.

maggieorthMaggie Orth is a writer, technology artist, and entrepreneur. She has experience both as a business person and artist. She ran her own technology art and design studio, International Fashion Machines, for ten years and was named a United States Artists USA Target Fellow in 2007. She has volunteered to develop technology curricula at numerous schools and served on panels at local arts organizations. She holds a PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab, a Masters of Science from MIT’s Center for Advanced Visual Studies, and a BFA from Rhode Island School of Design.

Shahina Piyarali is a book reviewer for the Seattle-based publication Shelf Awareness and serves on the National Council of Graywolf Press. She is qualified as a barrister in England & Wales, and earned her Juris Doctorate at the University Of Washington School of Law. Retired from the legal profession, Shahina still deploys her legal training to assist nonprofits. She is board president of Tasveer, a South Asian arts and social justice organization committed to showcasing thought provoking, intellectually stimulating South Asian cinema and literature in Seattle. Her interest in writing led her to attend classes at Hugo House. She lives in Seattle with her husband, Ali, and they have two grown sons.

Tim Shea was born and raised in Montana and graduated from Montana State University as an accidental chemical engineer. Accidental because after six years and three colleges, chemical engineering fit his accumulation of credits. Moving to Washington immediately after graduation, he had a 42-year career as an engineer and economist. Now retired, he has the opportunity to pursue personal rather than professional interests. At one time retirement plans included climbing mountains, rafting rivers, visiting the great cities of the world, reading thought provoking books, and hopefully writing. Two knee replacements later, coffee shops and brew-pubs have replaced the mountains and rivers, but the rest of the retirement plans remain intact.

Garth Stein is the author of four novels, including the international bestseller, The Art of Racing in the Rain, which spent more than three years on the New York Times bestseller list and will soon be released as a major motion picture by Fox 2000. He has also written four children’s picture books and a full-length play. Garth is the cofounder and co-executive director of Seattle7Writers, a nonprofit collective of ninety Northwest authors whose mission is to energize readers, writers, booksellers, and librarians. He is also a founding board member of Seattle City of Literature, which is part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network. Garth lives in Seattle with his wife and three sons, and is currently working on a new novel and a graphic novel, both to be released in 2019. His website is

Michael Trickey was born in Kansas but grew up on the Eastside of Lake Washington. He recently retired after twenty-two years as a trial and appellate court judge. He practiced law as a public defender and in a small North Seattle law firm before joining the bench. He now works for Judicial Arbitration and Mediation Services (JAMS) in Seattle. He has a JD from the University of Washington School of Law and an AB from the University of California, Berkeley. He also attended Claremont McKenna College. He is a lifelong reader with a particular interest in history and biography. He is excited to participate in the literary culture of Hugo House.

Tree Swenson, Hugo House executive director (see above), serves as an ex officio member of the Hugo House Board of Directors.