Great Books Seminar

“The mind is not an empty vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled.”

Target Grades: High School Students & Gifted 8th Graders

2020-2021 Academic Year Schedule

  • 60-min weekly seminar (2-4 students per group)

Current Instructor Availability​ (Pacific Time)

  • All slots are booked 

Contact us to arrange a class or to be notified of open slots.

Program Overview

The inquiry-based weekly Great Books Seminar uses both classical and modern texts, such as William Shakespeare’s plays and Virginia Woolf’s novels, to help students build intimate connections with the great minds in human history. In line with the student-centered philosophy, the selection of texts varies based on students’ individual interests. 

In lively seminar-style conversations, the instructor will ask probing questions that inspire students to develop new perspectives and insights into themselves and the world they live in. In a community of learning, students will form a humanistic mindset and embark on a life-long intellectual expedition. 

The skills and habits honed by the program — careful observation, close analysis, effective argument, imaginative comparison, openness to ideas, and global vision — provide a solid foundation for students to succeed in the complex and changing world. 

Instructor: Dr. Kemick

Dr. Kemick is an award-winning poet, journalist, and fiction writer. His new nonfiction book, I Am Herod, takes readers backstage and undercover at one of the world’s largest religious events. He is also the author of Caribou Run, a collection of poetry.


Having published widely in all three genres, Dr. Kemick's work has been included in anthologies in Canada and the United Kingdom. He is the recipient of multiple awards including two National Magazine Awards.

PhD. in English/Creative Writing

A glimpse of Dr. Kemick's charisma.

Sample Readings

William Shakespeare:

  • The Tempest 

  • Measure for Measure

  • Richard II

  • Antony and Cleopatra

  • As You Like It

  • Othello

Virginia Woolf: Mrs. Dalloway
Mikhail Bulgakov: The Master and Margarita 
Jean D'Ormesson: The Glory of the Empire 
Alice Munro: The View from Castle Rock
John Williams: Augustus 
Jo Shapcott: Of Mutability

Homework & Feedback

Classes will be structured around a close-reading of texts and a discussion of the complex questions they raise. Students will be urged to bring to each class a piece of writing related to the text under examination for the instructor to edit and provide feedback. Upon completion of the program, each student will receive overall feedback from the instructor.


"I enjoyed the much more in-depth and challenging discussion about the subjects. It was unbelievably helpful and really opened my eyes to what I could write. As for the instructor, I have never had an instructor or English teacher as compassionate, patient, knowledgeable, and articulate as Dr. Richard Kemick. He has definitely played a big role in my writing journey, and has brought forth so many new ideas and thought processes to the table."


“I enjoyed the discussions and the questions that he asked us to answer and because I was doing it with my friends it made it more fun to talk and collaborate. The assignments that were assigned were very different than what I'm used to, but I really enjoyed them because they were creative writing. Our instructor Mr. Kemick is really nice and honestly makes you feel welcome to talk and he was fun to listen to. He makes us answer questions so we can teach each other.”


"​I did enjoy the course; I really liked how flexible it was and how the instructor would adjust the syllabus based on our personal needs and always asked for our opinions on homework assignments and reading material. The instructor’s greatest strengths were the questions he asked us during class to lead us into further understanding and interpreting a certain story or article, since it really forced us to think deeper and process what we were reading, and it also taught us that in the future, we can ask those questions to ourselves to help digest a piece of writing. I also particularly liked how he would give us very straight-to-the-point feedback, both good and bad, to help us realize our shortcomings and help us improve for next time."​

"I really enjoyed the course in general. The teacher made me look forward to the classes each week, and on top of that, I learned a ton of new information. I think the course was pretty much perfect, and I do not have any suggestions for how to improve it."


"I enjoyed this course. Dr. Kemick was very straightforward in letting me know what he wanted. His methods are clear, concise, and easy to understand. In my opinion, his lack of sugarcoating is one of his strengths. His lessons were beneficial for letting me write more descriptive essays"

"Mr. Kenwick is a very experienced instructor. He is good at engaging his students to participate in class discussion and delivering the lecture in a way which won’t make his audience feel bored. My daughter enjoyed attending his class."

"I enjoyed the part where the instructor would go over our homework in class and give feedback. The instructor was very clear which made it easy to understand."


"Richard was approachable, friendly, and enthusiastic, which made me want to come to class. I learned a lot from him." 

"I enjoyed the readings he chose to share with us and the helpful tips he gave. I think the strength of the instructor is asking questions about the text that allow us to interpret the text better."


"Richard was very approachable and very helpful. He explained everything with great detail, and he made the class very fun and entertaining."


"Richard’s enthusiasm and humor approach to the course made it entertaining while also making it easy to learn."


"Richard has a very unique way of explaining things which have proved to be very helpful." 



Phone: +1(425) 898-3340


Address: 8153 161st Avenue Northeast, Redmond, WA 98052

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