Loft Literary Center: Grants for Writing

OVERVIEW: The Minneapolis based Loft Literary Center is one of the country's most respected literary arts centers. It offers a few broadly ranging grants and awards for writers at various stages of their artistic development. In addition, it also offers a supportive community and a number of other resources to help writers further their career.

IP TAKE: Though Loft only offers a few grants and awards, its assistance is fairly substantial for the field of writing. Its additional resources can also be a great prize for you as a writer if you delve deep enough.

PROFILE: The Loft Literary Center offers a handful of major grants and awards. They are all given in order to "allow participants to focus on their craft over the course of a year; to hone their skills working with nationally acclaimed authors; and to embark on projects of their own design to further their artistic careers."  Though they are few, these programs are among the top tier in the field.

The main categories of grants, awards, and fellowships for creative writing fall into five areas:

  • The McKnight Artist Fellowships - These fellowships of $25,000 each are given to five Minnesota writers per year. Four of the five awards alternate each year between fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry/spoken word. The fifth award is granted to children’s literature authors and alternates annually between writers for children under the age of eight and writers for older readers.
  • The Minnesota Emerging Writers Grant - This grant is awarded annually to emerging writers in all disciplines of the literary arts. Up to five winners receive a $8,000 grant each to underwrite projects of their own design. Deadlines are early in the year at the end of March.
  • Spoken Word Immersion Grant - This grant of up to $7,500 is given to spoken word artists of color and indigenous artists for "financial support and professional assistance to develop and implement self-selecting community learning and enrichment plans." Four recipients are selected each year and deadlines are in the fall.
  • The Loft Mentor Series – This mentor series offers prose and poetry writers from Minnesota the opportunity to work with six nationally acclaimed writers. Twelve emerging writers are selected annually for participation in this mentor program. Deadlines are at the end of April.
  • The Excellence in Teaching Fellowship - Fellows receive one week at the Madeline Island School of the Arts - one of the nation's top arts and craft school - to work on a writing project of their choice.

In addition to these grants and awards, other one-time programs are frequently announced for specific communities of writers. To take advantage of these additional opportunities, you can become a member, or keep up with its blog, "The Writers' Block". The Loft also offers other tools of the trade, like their Community Postings, which lists calls for submissions, other contests and grants, book clubs, and additional services for writers.


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