Much like how an art museum might present a special exhibit, the Loft is introducing seasonal thematic programming. Our themes will help connect you across many of the Loft program offerings. We believe that poems and stories can be an important lens through which to view the world, and can be part of important issues and conversations in civic life. Loft themes will compel us all to look at the words we write and authors we read in new ways.
The question “What if?” is the most powerful one you can ask at the start of any story. Through this theme the Loft aims to explore how speculative work, and the act of asking what if, helps us to imagine solutions and create connections.
Speculative work can act as a tool to interpret the world, to investigate topics that are too complex or too subtle to define with the limited tool of realistic writing. It gives us an incredible opportunity to imagine alternative structures and futures, to consider how to make or avoid certain changes, and to answer basic questions about our humanity.
We invite you to explore our theme of If in as many ways as interest you. See our list of classes and events below.
Oct 8—Members make everything possible at the Loft, so come make some bookish buddies! During this social hour for members, grab a drink, expand your network, and maybe even walk away with a new book club idea. Plus, sign up to share a short reading of your work or a piece you admire related to the Loft's fall theme: If.
Oct 22—As part of the Loft's fall theme 'If,' join us for a conversation between Autumn Brown and Chaun Webster celebrating one of the most influential speculative fiction writers of all time, Octavia Butler.
Nov 4—As part of the Loft's fall theme 'If,' the Loft presents Big Ideas with Madeline Miller. We'll explore the power of if to change an entire narrative.
Nov 22—Hugo-award-winning author Naomi Kritzer discusses her near-future novel, Catfishing on CatNet, about a cat-picture-loving artificial intelligence and its online human friends. Naomi is joined by World Fantasy Award winner and Newbery Medalist Kelly Barnhill in a discussion about coming of age in the 21st century, online friendships, and how much the Internet knows about you.
Dec 14—The Skywalker Saga of Star Wars ends this Winter. As part of the Loft's fall theme 'If," this cabaret features writers and thinkers who are also fans of the blockbuster series sharing creative work involving Star Wars. Celebrations, critiques, and creature features abound! Featuring Saymoukda Vongsay, Matthew Kessen, Luis Lopez, Shannon Gibney, and Jodi Byrd.
Starts Sept 18 | How can speculative elements break open possibilities, making our readers creatively engage with problems that are stagnating in current cultural consciousness? By problem posing and illuminating underrepresented aspects of our lives, we'll write in our genres of choice with the goal of creating speculative works with transformative potential.
Starts Oct 1 | We'll read speculative fiction stories from A People's Future of the United States and draft stories of our own. Toni Cade Bambara said, "The job of the writer is to make revolution irresistible." We're going to do just that. You'll complete a story draft and generate ideas for additional stories.
Starts Oct 9 | In this class, we'll explore the idea of the "uncanny" in fiction in its various expressions—hauntings, mistaken identity, AI—to name just a few. We'll trace the history of the concept to its current usages via readings and discussions, while also completing prompts and weekly workshops.
Starts Oct 9 | Literal floods of light; impossible TV shows that never feature the same cast twice; mysteries written on our bones. The strangest premises offer a brilliant glance at deep truth. Where does the emotional power of irreality come from. How can writers channel that to create something impossible yet undeniably real?
Starts Oct 9 | Speculative fiction is making waves as a form that uses alternate realities to critique contemporary life. Whether you’re well-versed in the particularly weird magic of spec fic or you’re new to the scene, this class will help you turn your what if? into a fully realized story.
Oct 19 | Whether you're just learning about fanfiction or you're a seasoned fic writer, join us to discuss your favorite Alternate Universes and learn how writing fanfiction is a great way to exercise your writing abilities.
Starts Oct 23 | What happens when we write about our own experiences through the lens of myth, fairy tale, dream, and fantasy? This class will explore speculative memoir, an emerging genre that employs fantastical elements in creative nonfiction. Through reading and writing exercises we'll determine what this genre means for our writing.
Starts Nov 5 | Personal essay and memoir are the cornerstones of creative nonfiction and are, by definition, concerned with telling the truth. But what if your story doesn't sound believable? This class will explore ways to tell your story while still adhering to the norms of creative nonfiction.
Nov 16 | Ever imagine what it's like to live in another world? In another time? With other creatures? Class led by a longtime Loft teaching artist and former Outstanding Girl Scout leader. Join us for a morning of building worlds and imaginations. We will start by asking about the Great Big WHAT IF?
Nov 23 | Students will learn how to think more critically about how they construct their science fiction worlds. They will learn about how to consider setting, character, and plot and how they interact with genre elements like space travel, genetic engineering, and advanced robotics. Finally, students will learn how to imbue their stories with a sense of history and momentum to better understand their worlds from genesis to apocalypse.
Winter 2020 (Jan–Apr 2020): Boundaries and Border Crossings
Fall 2017 (Sep–Nov 2017): Vigilance
Winter 2018 (Jan–Mar 2018): True North
Spring 2018 (Mar–May 2018): To Be Honest
Fall 2018 (Sep–Dec 2018): Fairy Tales
Winter 2019 (Jan-Apr 2019): Needs