Novel Writing Project Specifics

2023 Novel Writing Project Specifics

Cohort Meetings

Participants will meet weekly as a cohort during the winter/spring term (12 weeks; February–April), biweekly with additional Saturday meetings during the summer months (June–August); and weekly again during the fall term (12 weeks; September–December).

The plan is that the in-person cohort will meet at Open Book, in a Loft classroom, beginning in February; if issues arise beyond the Loft’s control that makes this impossible (as they did in 2020, 2021, and 2022, with the global pandemic), meetings will take place online, via Zoom.

The online cohort will meet via live weekly video meetings over Zoom.

One-on-one meetings with Peter Geye will also be held over the course of the year. These include one introductory meeting before the program kicks off in February and one manuscript consultation session with Peter after the program concludes (and you submit your final manuscript) in December/January, to be completed no later than February 28, 2023.


In-person Cohort Meeting Dates

at the Loft at Open Book (or via Zoom)

Year-Long Writing Project Orientation

Thursday, January 26, 2023 | 6–7:30 p.m.

In the Performance Hall at Open Book (or online/Zoom)

Winter/Spring Term Meetings

Thursdays | 6–9 p.m

February 2–April 20, 2023

Summer Term Meetings

Thu., June 8 | Thu., June 22 | Sat., June 24

Thu., July 13 | Thu., July 27 | Sat., July 29

Thu., Aug. 17 | Sat., Aug 19

All summer Thursday sessions meet 6–9 p.m.

All summer Saturday sessions meet 10 a.m.–noon

Fall Term Meetings

September 21–December 14, 2023

Thursdays | 6–9 p.m.

No class November 23

Final Public Reading

Thu., January 11, 2024 | 7 p.m.


Online Cohort Meeting Dates

via Zoom | all times listed in US Central Time

Year-Long Writing Project Orientation

Wednesday, January 25, 2023| 6–7:30 p.m. (changed from January 24, 2023)

Winter/Spring Term Meetings

January 31 – April 18, 2023

Tuesdays | 6–9 p.m.

Summer Term Meetings

Tue., June 13 | Tue., June 27 | Sat., June 24

Tue., July 11 | Tue., July 25 | Sat., July 29

Tue., Aug. 15 | Sat., Aug 19

All summer Tuesday sessions meet 6–9 p.m.

All summer Saturday sessions meet 2–4 p.m.

Fall Term Meetings

September 19 – December 12, 2023

Tuesdays | 6–9 p.m.

No class November 21, 2023

Final Public Reading

Tue., January 9, 2024 | 7 p.m.

Online, via Zoom


Novel Writing Project Books

Participants will be assigned four novels to read and learn from throughout the year. Examples of past cohort novel assignments include:

  • That Kind of Mother by Rumaan Alam
  • The Wildlands by Abby Geni
  • The Rending and the Nest by Kaethe Schwehn 
  • Peace Like a River by Leif Enger
  • The Story of My Teeth by Valeria Luiselli
  • Once in a Blue Moon Lodge by Lorna Landvik
  • Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger
  • A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James
  • Dear Committee Member by Julie Schumacher
  • The Dead Lands by Benjamin Percy
  • Vacationland by Sarah Stonich
  • Three Day Road by Joseph Boyden
  • Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel
  • Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf
  • The Turner House by Angela Flournoy

Novel Writing Project Visiting Guests

Throughout the year, four to six visiting writers and publishing professionals will meet with your cohort as special guests. Examples of past guests include:

  • Laila Lalami
  • Rumaan Alam
  • Mira Jacob
  • Courtney Maum
  • Benjamin Percy
  • Sarah Stonich
  • Emily St. John Mandel
  • Joseph Boyden
  • Chris Cander
  • Shannon Gibney
  • Linda LeGarde Grover
  • Leif Enger
  • Julie Schumacher
  • Kaethe Schwehn
  • Lorna Landvik
  • Richard Blanco
  • In addition to many other visiting writers and publishing professionals from local and national publishing houses, publications, and literary agencies.


Peter Geye received his MFA from the University of New Orleans and his PhD from Western Michigan University, where he was editor of Third Coast. Geye is the author of the award-winning novels Safe from the SeaThe Lighthouse RoadWintering, winner of the Minnesota Book Award; and Northernmost. He currently teaches the Year-Long Novel Writing Project at the Loft Literary Center. Born and raised in Minneapolis, he continues to live there with his family.