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 Fall Schedule

  • 60-min weekly seminar

2020-2021 Winter Schedule: Stay Tuned!

Contact us to arrange a private class

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 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"

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


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