OVERVIEW: The Minneapolis based Loft Literary Center is one of the country's most respected literary arts centers. It offers a few grants and awards for writers at various stages of their artistic development. It also provides 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 support is fairly substantial for the field of writing. Its additional resources can also provide great funding for writers who delve deep enough.
PROFILE: The Loft Literary Center seeks to advance “the artistic development of writers,” foster “a thriving literary community,” and inspire “a passion for literature.” It funds a handful of major literary grants and awards that "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 four 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.
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, grantseekers should become a member, or keep up with its blog, "The Writers' Block". The Loft also offers other tools of the trade, like its Community Postings, which lists calls for submissions, other contests and grants, book clubs, and additional services for writers.
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