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The Loft Literary Center invites poets, fiction, and nonfiction writers to apply to the 2021–2022 Mentor Series in Poetry and Creative Prose. This program offers advanced criticism and professional development opportunities to twelve writers: four each in the genres of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. 

Twelve early career writers are selected through a competitive judging process to work intensively with six nationally acclaimed writers of prose and poetry. Three of the mentors spend an extended period of time working with the entire group and conducting genre-specific workshops with the four writers in their genres. The other three mentors come in for intensive weekends of craft seminars with the full group and individual manuscript conferences with the writers in their genre. All participants are featured in a public reading—four fellows with two mentors—throughout the course of the year.


  • Work must be in the genres of fiction, nonfiction, or poetry. Nonfiction may include memoir, personal essay, literary journalism, and biography. It does not include reportage, blogs, or opinion pieces.
  • You may apply in more than one genre, but can only win in one. If you are applying in both fiction and nonfiction, you must submit different work samples.
  • You must be a resident of Minnesota for a minimum of 12 months on the date of your application.
  • You must not have published (traditional or self-published) more than one book in any genre.
  • You may submit work previously published in magazines, journals, or anthologies.
  • You must not be an enrolled student in a degree-granting program (including K-12, college, graduate or post-graduate studies) at the time of application and/or during the Mentor Series fellowship period.
  • You are eligible to reapply to the Mentor Series as an alumni after ten years have passed. 
  • Board and staff members of the Loft and the Jerome Foundation are ineligible.

Fellows are selected on the basis of the strength of their manuscripts and project plans and will receive an award of $1,000 to defray the costs of program participation (book purchases, child care, etc.). Fellows are required to prepare for and attend all program-related meetings, seminars, readings, workshops, manuscript conferences, and social activities. These activities may be virtual or in-person depending on mentors' and fellows' comfort level and public health guidelines.

All program dates are tentative and subject to change. Orientation for fellows is currently scheduled for September 11, 2021.

If you have questions about eligibility, please call program specialist Marion Gomez at 612-215-2578 or email her at mgomez@loft.org. More information, including answers to frequently asked questions, is available on our website: www.loft.org.

The Loft is unable to answer questions during the week of the deadline, so please contact us in advance of July 2nd. The deadline to apply is Friday, July 9th, at 11:59 p.m.

Judging Process

A panel of preliminary readers composed of recent Mentor Series fellows who are ineligible to apply for the program will review the initial manuscripts received to the competition. From these, they will select 20 finalists in each genre which will be forwarded to the respective mentors for final decisions. The two mentors in each genre will confer and select four winners and two honorable mentions. 


  • All entries must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. on July 9, 2021. 
  • Winners will be notified by September 3, 2021 by phone. All other applicants will receive an email. Please be certain to include your contact information for summer if it is different from your current address. 

The Loft Mentor Series in Poetry and Creative Prose is made possible through the support of the Jerome Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and Loft Members.

We use Submittable to accept and review our submissions.