Mentor Series

COVID-19 Announcement

Due to the pandemic and all the effects it has had on the economy, the Loft made the very difficult decision to temporarily suspend several of our programs, including the Mentor Series and Mirrors and Windows. This was not a decision that was made lightly—the Loft has curated and operated the Mentor Series for over 40 years, and our relatively new Mirrors and Windows filled an immediate need in our literary community. These are unprecedented times, and the Jerome Foundation very generously extended an invitation to its program partners to re-work our budgets in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and shelter-in-place in order to ensure our survival.

The Loft intends these suspensions to be temporary: there will be no Mentor Series nor Mirrors and Windows in 2021. We will be coming up with alternative ways to serve the various communities of writers normally served by these programs in alignment with any shelter-in-place protocols put forth by the state of Minnesota, and we will work toward these programs returning in 2022. 

We understand that this is disappointing. We hope that all can come together and work through these very difficult times as a community, especially when the circumstances seem so dire.

Please continue to visit us at to see what programs and classes we will continue to offer.

Mentor Series 2019–2020 Applications Now Closed

The Loft Literary Center invites poets, fiction, and nonfiction writers to apply to the 2019–2020 Mentor Series in Poetry and Creative Prose. This program offers advanced criticism and professional development opportunities to 12 writers: four each in the genres of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction.

Read more about this year's fellowship program, including instructions to apply, below. Applications for the 2019–2020 fellowship program were due July 8, 2019.

Congratulations 2019–2020 Fellows

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.

Congratulations to the 2019–2020 Mentor Series Fellows: in creative nonfiction Jennifer Hildebrant, Patti Kameya, Nicola Koh, and Heather Quinn; in poetry Rachel Castro, Halee Kirkwood, Tara McDaniel, and Claudette Webster; and in fiction Gen Del Raye, Michael Garberich, Misty Schwab, andChee Vang.

The mentors for the upcoming season will be poets Ross Gay and Gretchen Marquette, nonfiction writers Melissa Febos and Douglas Kearney, and fiction writers Jennine Capó Crucet and Junauda Petrus.

The Loft Mentor Series is supported by grants from the Jerome Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and by Loft members.

Upcoming Mentor Series Events
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About the 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 for one fellowship year. Offered since 1979, the Mentor Series is the Loft's oldest mentorship program. The Mentor Series is funded by the Jerome Foundation and the NEA.

An incomplete list of past program mentors include Danez Smith, Marlon James, Tracy K. Smith, Grace Paley, Lorrie Moore, Louise Erdrich, Lesley Nneka Arimah, Mark Doty, Diane Glancy, Toi Derricotte, Dani Shapiro, Allison Hedge Coke, Richard Blanco, Dinty Moore, Nick Flynn, Evelina Chao, Michael Ondaatje, Sharon Olds, June Jordan, Joy Harjo, Gerald Stern, Sandra Cisneros, Dorianne Laux, Yusef Komanyaaka, Alexs Pate, David Mura, Li-Young Lee, Martin Espada, Deborah Keenan, Jim Moore, Nikki Giovanni, Charles Baxter, Maxine Hong Kingston, Nuruddin Farah, Rita Dove, Jessica Hagedorn, Phillip Levine, Marge Piercy, Agha Shahid Ali, Lynda Barry, Ai, Amy Bloom, G.E. Patterson, Sigrid Nunez, Barrie Jean Borich, Heid Erdrich, Diego Vazquez, Jr., Kao Kalia Yang, Sun Yung Shin, Diane Wilson, Vu Tran, Sugi Ganeshananthan, and many, many more.