12 Stories of Homecoming: Trent Hudley


Editor’s Note: This year, Lighthouse will move into our exciting new home. The 12 Stories of Homecoming is a series of stories written about creatives from all walks of Lighthouse that have made us who we are today. We are endlessly grateful for the support from our community and eager to welcome you home so we can open the doors even further, together. 

Years ago, Trent Hudley described himself as a “young, arrogant, very bad writer” who was pretty uninterested in a creative writing place called Lighthouse. 

“Then I got talked into taking a class one day in Mike and Andrea’s apartment, and I had a big change of heart,” Hudley said. “I felt immediately comfortable. Everyone was interested in learning how to develop their craft, but it wasn’t pretentious like other academic settings I’d been a part of. It just felt homey.” 

A successful author, Hudley has now been writing for over 35 years and has taught at several colleges in the area. And in 2020, he also started teaching a memoir class and intro to fiction class for Lighthouse.  

“I also started facilitating Hard Times in 2021,” shared Hudley. A partnership with local libraries, Hard Times workshops provide community and a creative outlet for people who have recently experienced or are currently experiencing poverty, addiction, homelessness, and other hard situations. Even with the group meeting online, he was impressed by the intimacy between participants. “People were really going through hard times, and they would share these emotional pieces with other members of the group. We all left with a sense of belonging and connection after each session.” 

Hudley has also facilitated Lighthouse’s workshops at History Colorado, where he moves the group through writing exercises inspired by Colorado history. “Last week after class, a woman came up to me and gave me a huge hug and thanked me for giving her the courage to write about what she needed to,” said Hudley. “That made my whole week.” 

In the 25 years Hudley has been a part of Lighthouse, he said, “I’ve never had a bad experience. I always look forward to my classes, to reading my peer’s stories, to the discussions in class.” He continued, “Mike and Andrea are just so dang cool, and I love their instruction. And they’ve always made sure Lighthouse was accessible too. I’ve been lucky to get several Lighthouse scholarships.” 

When we talked about the new building, Hudley shared, “I think the new building will mean we can grow and get bigger, in a good way. We’re just increasing access to Lighthouse in our community. The physical structure will draw people in.” 

When he thought back to the house on Race Street, he laughed, “I was so glad I never had to teach at that house. The thought of closing it up at night by myself after teaching… there were ghosts there!”

Hudley’s sincere gratitude for Lighthouse was palpable during our conversation. “I wouldn’t be where I am in my writing career if I hadn’t found Lighthouse,” said Hudley. “I’ve gone through different academic programs, but Lighthouse just outweighs it. It has this draw and energy and sense of connection.” 

In fact, Hudley was recently awarded the Peden Prize for his short story “The Cadence of Waves” by the Missouri Review. 

Another hope of Hudley’s in the new building is to keep building more partnerships with organizations in the area. To keep expanding the curriculum and expanding our outreach. In short, remaining open to that idea of growth. 

In closing, Hudley shared, “You know, something I’ve been writing about a lot is the word authentic. What it means to be authentic and what authenticity feels like. And that really sums up the Lighthouse community.”

Trent Hudley is the author of the short story collection One of These Days, published by Veliz Books. He currently teaches creative writing courses at the Lighthouse Writer's Workshop in Denver, CO. He has recently been published in The New Feathers Anthology, The Pandemic Press, The Welkin: A Magazine of the Fantastic, and The Missouri Review. He is also the recipient of the Peden Award from The Missouri Review.