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Grants and Awards

The Loft offers a broad range of award opportunities for writers at various stages of their artistic development. Grants and awards 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. Major programs are listed below, but unique, one-time programs are frequently announced for specific communities of writers.

All Loft awards now require use of the online submission portal Submittable. If this is your first time using Submittable, download and read the handy PDF guide below.

Submittable Guide

Loft Mentor Series in Poetry and Creative Prose


The Loft Mentor Series in Poetry and Creative Prose is now open. The deadline for entry is April 28, 2014 at 11:59 p.m. (CST).

The Loft Mentor Series in Poetry and Creative Prose offers twelve emerging Minnesota writers the opportunity to work intensively with six nationally acclaimed writers of prose and poetry. Selected participants work throughout the year with the six mentors, and all participants and mentors give public readings at the Loft. The mentors for the upcoming season will be poets Matt Rasmussen and Patricia Smith, nonfiction writers Dani Shapiro and Kao Kalia Yang, and fiction writers Ru Freeman and Diego Vázquez, Jr.

Before applying for the Mentor Series, please be sure to read the full 2014–2015 Loft Mentor Series Guidelines (PDF). Learn more about previous winners, judges, and frequently asked questions.


The Loft Mentor Series in Poetry and Creative Prose is made possible through the support of the Jerome Foundation, Park Construction Company, and by contributions of Loft members.

Minnesota Emerging Writers' Grant


The Minnesota Emerging Writers' Grant provides Minnesota writers with financial support and professional assistance to develop and implement multifaceted plans to further their artistic careers. Learn more about winners, judges, and guidelines. The Emerging Writers' Grant is funded by Jerome Foundation.

Please be sure to read the full guidelines before submitting. 2014 Minnesota Emerging Writers' Grant Guidelines (PDF). The deadline to apply was March 28, 2014 at 11:59 p.m.

Spoken Word Immersion Grant

2014 Award

The Loft Spoken Word Immersion Fellowship for artists of color and Indigenous artists provides writers financial support and professional assistance to develop and implement self-selecting community learning and enrichment plans. Winners will be selected to receive grants of up to $7,000 to underwrite projects of their own design. At least one winner will be a Minnesota resident. The total number of winners will be dependent on the requests.

The Immersion Grant is funded by the Surdna Foundation.

McKnight Artist Fellowships


The McKnight Artist Fellowships for Writers awards $25,000 annually to five accomplished Minnesota writers. Learn more about winners, judges, and guidelines. These fellowships are funded by the McKnight Foundation.

The Loft administers the McKnight Artist Fellowships for Writers, which provide Minnesota writers of demonstrated ability with an opportunity to work on their writing for a concentrated period of time. Five $25,000 fellowships are awarded. One Award in Children’s Literature alternates annually between writers for children under the age of eight and writers for older readers. Four fellowships alternate annually between writers of poetry/spoken word poetry and writers of creative prose. The awards this year are in Poetry/Spoken Word and Children Under the Age of Eight.

This program is made possible by the generous support of the McKnight Foundation.

Shabo Award for Children's Picture Book Writers


Deadline to apply was August 10, 2013. The contest is open to writers with a ‘nearly there’ manuscript who have not yet published a picture book. Learn more about winners, judges, and guidelines. Established by former Loft student Bridget Levin in gratitude for the role the Loft played in the development of her first picture book, the name is inspired by her childhood imaginary playmate.

Loft Inroads Mentoring Award: Immigrants and Refugees


The Loft Literary Center’s Inroads programs provides opportunities for emerging writers from marginalized communities to work with established writing mentors from their own communities. Learn more about the judge, guidelines, and eligibility. The Loft’s Inroads Mentorship for Immigrants and Refugees is supported by the Laura Jane Musser Fund, Traveler’s Employee Diversity Committee, United Arts, and the contributions of Loft members.