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McKnight Artist Fellowships for Writers, $25,000 Loft Awards in Poetry, Spoken Word, and in Children’s Literature/Younger Children

DEADLINE: 11:59 p.m. CT Friday, November 19, 2021. Entries must be submitted through our online portal Submittable by 11:59 p.m. CT. The Loft offices—including virtual office hours— are closed at 5 p.m. CT that day, so please plan accordingly.

The Loft Literary Center is pleased to announce the 2022 McKnight Artist Fellowships for Writers, made possible by the generous support of the McKnight Foundation. McKnight also funds artist fellowship programs in ceramic arts, choreography and dance, music composition, music performance, playwriting and theater arts, screenwriting, and visual arts.

ABOUT THE FELLOWSHIP PROGRAM

The McKnight Artist Fellowships for Writers provide Minnesota writers of demonstrated ability with an opportunity to work on their craft for a concentrated period of time.

One $25,000 fellowship is awarded each year in children’s literature, including poetry, fiction, or creative nonfiction. This year’s award is offered to a writer for children eight8 years of age or younger.

Four $25,000 fellowships are offered in alternating years to writers of creative prose and poetry. The 2022 year cycle is in poetry and spoken word.  

There will be three awards for poetry and one for spoken word. The spoken word fellowship will be judged by its own separate accomplished, nationally recognized spoken word artist.

In addition to the award money, McKnight Fellows are also entitled to up to $3,000 in reimbursement to attend a writing conference or retreat during their fellowship year. These fellowships do not support the work of playwriting, journalism, or nonfiction that is written primarily for educational or technical use. The Spoken Word Fellow will have the opportunity to work with our partners at IFP to create a short spoken word video.

JUDGING FOR THE MCKNIGHT ARTIST FELLOWSHIPS FOR WRITERS

Prominent writers and editors living outside of Minnesota serve as the judges. There are no screening judges. All manuscripts are judged anonymously.

Due to the number of entries received, it is not possible for the judges to make individual comments on the manuscripts.

ELIGIBILITY

General Requirements

Applicants must have been legal residents of Minnesota for the 12 months prior to the application deadline and must currently reside in Minnesota.

Applicants may apply for only one McKnight Artist Fellowship per year. You may not apply for the Award in Poetry and also apply for any other McKnight Fellowship, including the Award in Children’s Literature and the Award for Spoken Word.

Recipients of 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, or 2021 McKnight Fellowships in any discipline are not eligible to apply. Honorable mentions are eligible.

Loft and McKnight Foundation staff and board members are not eligible.

If you have questions about your eligibility for the McKnight Artist Fellowships for Writers, please email Bao Phi, Director of Events and Awards, at bphi@loft.org.

Additional Requirements for the Awards in Poetry

In addition to the general eligibility requirements, applicants must have either:

Published at least 12 original poems in no fewer than three3 literary journals or magazines that regularly feature poetry as part of their format. (Work published in an online journal that has an editorial process is eligible.)

or
Published at least one book-length collection of poetry.

Work that is scheduled for publication/production between the contest deadline and April 2022 may be included. In those cases, a letter from the press, editor, producer, community organizer, or curator stating the date of publication, release, or performance is required.

Additional Requirements for the Award in Spoken Word

In addition to the general eligibility requirements, applicants must have:

Published at least 12 original poems in no fewer than three3 literary journals or magazines that regularly feature poetry as part of their format. (Work published in an online journal that has an editorial process is eligible.)

or

Published at least one book-length collection of poetry

or

Produced a full-length spoken word CD

or

Produced a one person show with a presenting organization—the show must have been written by the applicant.

or

Written and performed spoken word/performance work, in contracted arrangements, for a minimum of three years, and with a minimum of eight performances with a minimum time slot of 15 minutes per performance. The three years do not have to be consecutive.

Work that is scheduled for publication/production between the contest deadline and April 2022 may be included. In those cases, a letter from the press, editor, producer, community organizer, or curator stating the date of publication, release, or performance is required.

Additional Requirements for the Award in Children’s Literature: Younger Children

In addition to the general eligibility requirements, applicants must have:

Published a book for children under the age of eight, in any genre other than educational textbook material

or
Published at least three pieces of original work in one or more publications that regularly feature creative work for children under the age of eight as part of their format. Work published in an online journal that has an editorial process is eligible. Work published in an anthology is eligible. The same piece printed in a journal and in an anthology may only be counted once; applicants may not use multiple publications of the same work to meet the three required pieces.

Work that is pending publication and will be published before April 1, 2022 is eligible. Please provide a letter from the editor or publisher with proof of publication.

Ineligible work in all three awards:

  • Student-only publications and self-published books.
  • Work published on personal home pages or online sites that do not have an editorial process.
  • Work in a genre outside the category in which you are applying. (e.g., creative prose may not be used to meet the publication requirements for the Award in Poetry).
  • A feature performance at a venue where the lineup is curated by the applicant.
  • Work that has previously won a McKnight Artist Fellowships for Writers. If you are a previous winner, you must submit a manuscript different from the one for which you received the earlier award.
  • Translations.

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES

Please prepare your writing/performance sample. All work samples must be anonymous. If your name appears as part of the manuscript text, omit it, use a pseudonym, or black it out so it is illegible. Do not include your name as part of the writing sample file name. Identifying information should only be included in the Submittable application form, which is blind to the judge. Identifying information anywhere in the submitted files will disqualify your submission.

You must apply through Submittable, and you will need to create a Submittable account if you do not already have one. If you have technical submission questions, please contact Submittable technical support at http://help.submittable.com/.

WORK SAMPLE

Loft Awards in Poetry: Applicants must submit at least 15 but no more than 18 pages of a poetry manuscript (12-point font). Do not put more than one poem or one column of poetry per page. If you are submitting an audio recording of spoken word poetry, you must ALSO include a written transcript in a document.

PROOF OF PUBLICATION
Applicants will need to provide proof of each publication necessary to meet eligibility. For books, we will need a photocopy or scanned image of the title and copyright pages. For journals, we will need photocopies or scanned documents of either the cover or title page of the journal as well as the table of contents page and the pages on which your work appears.

PROOF OF RESIDENCY
In your eligibility documentation document, please also include a photocopy or scan of your MN state ID or a copy of a utilities bill with your name and address. Failure to provide any of this eligibility proof will disqualify your application.

Work samples may be submitted as PDF, DOC, or DOCX. Audio files may be submitted as MP3 or WAV files.

Loft Awards in Spoken Word: Applicants must submit at least 15 but no more than 18 pages of a poetry manuscript (12-point font). Do not put more than one poem or one column of poetry per page. Applicants may also submit 8–10 minutes of audio recorded poetry. If you are submitting an audio recording of spoken word poetry, you must ALSO include a written transcript in a document.

PROOF OF PUBLICATION
Applicants will need to provide proof of each publication necessary to meet eligibility. For books, we will need a photocopy or scanned image of the title and copyright pages. For journals, we will need photocopies or scanned documents of either the cover or title page of the journal as well as the table of contents page and the pages on which your work appears. For audio publications, a scan of the album cover. For proof of a one person show, please provide a scan of the program for the event or a short letter from the producer or presenting organization. For proof of being a feature performer, please provide a simple list stating the performance venue and name, and month/date/time of the feature performances— - you need only provide enough proof of performances to meet the eligibility requirement. Please collect all of these files into a single document for upload (PDF, DOC, or DOCX).

PROOF OF RESIDENCY
In your eligibility documentation document, please also include a photocopy or scan of your MN state ID or a copy of a utilities bill with your name and address. Failure to provide any of this eligibility proof will disqualify your application.

Loft Award in Children’s Literature: Applicants must submit a manuscript that is at least five5 but no more than 20 pages in length and that is written for children under the age of eight8. Picture book applicants may submit more than one manuscript to reach five pages.

Manuscripts may be in prose or poetry, or a combination of the two. Prose manuscripts should be double-spaced. Poetry may be single- or double-spaced.

All manuscripts must be typed in a 12-point font.

PROOF OF PUBLICATION
Applicants will need to provide proof of each publication necessary to meet eligibility. For books, we will need a photocopy or scanned image of the title and copyright pages. For journals, we will need photocopies or scanned documents of either the cover or title page of the journal as well as the table of contents page and the pages on which your work appears. Please collect all of these files into a single document for upload (PDF, DOC, or DOCX).

PROOF OF RESIDENCY
In your eligibility documentation document, please also include a photocopy or scan of your MN state ID or a copy of a utilities bill with your name and address. Failure to provide any of this eligibility proof will disqualify your application.

Work samples may be submitted as PDF, DOC, or DOCX files.

Deadline: All applications must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. CT on November 19, 2021. No exceptions. The Loft offices—including virtual office hours— close at 5 p.m. CT. Plan ahead and give yourself extra time. We cannot accommodate late entries due to internet difficulty. If you have questions, please contact Director of Events and Awards Bao Phi at bphi@loft.org and book an appointment or conversation at least one week in advance. Anyone waiting until the last week of the deadline may not be accommodated depending on scheduling.

Notification: Entrants will be notified of their status by the end of April, 2022. Winners will begin receiving payments in May, 2022.

We use Submittable to accept and review our submissions.