- Can I apply in more than one genre?
You can apply in each of the three genres, but can only win in one genre.
- What work should I submit for the program?
You should submit what you believe to be your strongest work. The work you submit to the competition will not necessarily be the work you will discuss with the mentors during their residencies. You will have opportunities to send new work to the mentors in your genre, as well as share your work with the whole group.
Poets can submit 15-18 pages of poems. Prose writers can submit 15-20 pages. This can be one excerpt or several short pieces. Please use 12-point type.
- What are the time commitments for the program?
Most of the meetings will take place on evenings and weekends. During the long-term residencies, there are four sessions with the full group of 12 participants and four with just the four writers in the mentor’s genre. Participants will also have individual conferences with the mentor in their genre, which will be scheduled at mutually convenient times. Not all dates have been determined. Dates are subject to change.
Weekend residencies begin Thursday evenings with a potluck dinner, which allows participants and the mentor to get to know one another informally. Craft seminars are held on Friday and Saturday mornings, and individual conferences with the writers in the mentor’s genre are held in the afternoons. Friday evening there is a reading and reception. Optional social activities may be scheduled for Saturday evening.
There are other meetings with the full group and the program manager that take place throughout the year. These meetings are planned once the group is selected and takes everyone’s schedules into consideration.
Winners are required to prepare for and attend all program-related meetings, seminars, readings, workshops, manuscript conferences, and social activities.
- What should I put in my goal statement?
The intention of the goal statement is to give the mentors an idea of what you hope to achieve during the program year. What issues are you struggling with in your writing? What do you hope to learn? What will make you a stronger writer? Be specific. You can change your goal statement any time during the program.
- Do the mentors read my work?
There are preliminary judges who read all of the manuscripts submitted to the competition and they select 20 entries to go to the mentors for final decisions. If you are chosen, the mentors have indeed read your work and will read new work from you during the course of the year. You will have an opportunity to send new work to the mentors in your genre and to discuss this work in individual conferences with those mentors.
- Should the biography on the form be anonymous and what should it include?
Your biography statement is not considered with your application and does not need to be anonymous. It is simply for the Loft to use for publicity purposes. You should put in your biography statement anything you feel you want the public to know about you as a writer and as a person. Your biographical statement can be changed any time during the program.
- I am a Loft teaching artist/work-study/intern/volunteer. Does that make me ineligible to apply to the contest?
The only people who are not eligible to apply are members of the Loft’s staff or Board of Directors, or those writers selected for either the 2014-15 or the 2015-16 Mentor Series. Due to funder requirements, full-time students in a degree-granting program and non-Minnesota residents are not eligible for this program. Loft teaching artists, work-study assistants, students, interns, and volunteers who meet other eligibility requirements are most certainly eligible, and encouraged, to apply to this and other Loft competitions.
- Will I get published as a result of being in the Mentor Series?
Although many former participants of the Mentor Series have gone on to publish books, publication is not a guarantee of the program. What you will get is intensive and insightful criticism about your work. You will learn ways in which you can become a stronger writer. And you will make what can prove to be very deep, meaningful connections with the other writers in the group as well as with the mentors. Some participants from years ago still continue to meet as writers’ groups. Some participants are still in contact with some of their mentors. You will get out of the program as much as you want, and as much as you are willing to put in.
2017–2018 Loft Mentor Series
AWARD IS: OPEN
The Loft Mentor Series in Poetry and Creative Prose is now open. The deadline for entry is April 28, 2017 at 11:59 p.m. (CST).
2017–2018 Mentor Series
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 Jennifer Kwon Dobbs and Chris Abani, nonfiction writers Diane Wilson and Richard Blanco, and fiction writers Lesley Nneka Arimah and Vu Tran. Please read the full guidelines before beginning your application.
The Loft Mentor Series in Poetry and Creative Prose is funded by the Jerome Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and by the generous support of Loft members.
Frequently Asked Questions
2016–2017 Mentor Series Recipients
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 Sun Yung Shin and Abdul Ali, nonfiction writers Laura Flynn and Allison Hedge Coke, and fiction writers Julie Schumacher and Ayana Mathis.
Congratulations to the twelve writers selected this year: Angela Ajayi, Anthony Ceballos, Stephanie Chrismon, Trisha Collopy, Lorissa Gottschalk, Elizabeth Meyers, Cole Asong Nfonoyim-Hara, Erin Sharkey, Chavonn Shen, Elizabeth Tannen, Michael Torres, Michele Valenti.