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Word Works: Jess Walter


Word Works: Jess Walter

In his Word Works talk, entitled “On the Clock, Time, and the Fiction Writer,” former National Book Award finalist Jess Walter will discuss how time works in fiction as well as the way time works on the writer.

Anca Szilágyi, author of Daughters of the Air (forthcoming from Lanternfish Press in December 2017), will lead an onstage Q&A following the talk.

“As talented a natural storyteller as is working in American Fiction.” – Washington Post

“With a signature blend of wicked humor and heartbreaking tenderness, Walter’s intense stories speak directly to the contemporary American experience…” – Booklist

General: $15 | Hugo House member: $12 | Student (with ID): $6
Tickets at door dependent on availability.

Books will be for sale through Elliott Bay Book Company.

Jess Walter also teaches The Short Short Fiction Lab, a one-day workshop for fiction writers of all levels, on December 7. For more information and to register, visit the class page: hugohouse.org/store/class/short-short-fiction-lab-jess-walter/


Jess Walter is the award-winning author of six novels, one book of short stories, and one nonfiction book. The New York Times called his story collection, We Live in Water (2013), “Captivating… devastating… funny.” His novels include Beautiful Ruins (2012), The Financial Lives of the Poets (2009), and the breakout The Zero (2007), which was compared to the works of Franz Kafka and Joseph Heller.

His work has been translated into thirty languages and his essays, short fiction, criticism, and journalism have been widely published, in Best American Short Stories, Best American Nonrequired Reading, Harper’s, Esquire, McSweeney’s, Byliner, Details, and many others. He is also the co-host of the wildly popular podcast A Tiny Sense of Accomplishment with author Sherman Alexie.

This fall, Walter will receive a Humanities Washington Award for his various works promoting literature and the arts.

Walter lives with his wife Anne and children in his childhood home of Spokane, Washington.

Anca Szilágyi grew up in Brooklyn. Her writing has appeared in the Los Angeles Review of Books, Electric Literature, Gastronomica, and Fairy Tale Review, among other publications. She is the recipient of the inaugural Artist Trust / Gar LaSalle Storyteller Award, a Made at Hugo House fellowship, and awards from the Vermont Studio Center, 4Culture, the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, and the Jack Straw Cultural Center. The Stranger hailed Anca as one of the “fresh new faces in Seattle fiction.” She lives in Seattle with her husband.


For those who sit and stare in wonder at a sentence, a turn of phrase, or a particularly great execution of a literary device, marveling at how they could come about, Hugo House's Word Works talks show writers at their most revealing, with live close-readings demonstrating different facets of writing.

These talks by novelists, essayists, poets, and memoirists draw back the curtain on the process of writing. Each talk by a guest writer focuses on a specific element—such as dialogue, metaphor, voice, or structure—that should be in every writer’s toolbox. The talks are followed by an interview with a noted editor, writer, or critic.

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