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Publish and Perish: Laments of a Rookie Author

Posted on Mon, May 4 2015 9:00 am by Jeffrey D. Willius

A funny thing starts happening to folks my age. We approach our mid-60s and concerns we'd barely have entertained twenty years ago start popping into our heads—and staying there. Questions like “Am I still doing anything of value?” and “When I die, will anyone really know who I was?”

It was with such thoughts in mind that I started, five or six years ago, writing essays.

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The Minnesota Northwoods Writers Conference, Featuring Mark Doty

Posted on Sun, May 3 2015 11:30 am by Sean Hill

The Minnesota Northwoods Writers Conference (June 20–26) has extended its registration deadline until Friday, May 15. This week-long writers’ conference offers participants intimate writing workshops and an evening reading series. The conference has always brought in well-published writers who are also excellent teachers to lead the intensive workshops, which are limited to 13 participants in order to create intimate learning communities for the writers. The faculty is there to share their knowledge and experience of the writing life with their workshops and with the whole conference in our craft talk series. We have openings in Matt de la Peña’s YA fiction workshop (see more about Matt at and David Gessner’s creative nonfiction workshop (see more about David at There may be a few spots in our fiction workshop as well. For more information, email Mathew Hawthorne, Conference Coordinator, at

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Script to Screen: Opportunity Knocks

Posted on Fri, May 1 2015 9:00 am by Tony Cammarata

Ten years ago, the cable network AMC was airing old movies, was selling books, and Netflix was mailing DVDs to your doorstep. Today, each one of those media companies has changed dramatically, and they share the same reason for their transformation. Original scripted programming.

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An Act of Justice: An Interview with Viet Thanh Nguyen

Posted on Thu, Apr 30 2015 9:00 am by Valerie Cabrera

On this day exactly 40 years ago, the Fall of Saigon unfolded before the eyes of the world. Even today, the surrounding events continue to divide public and political opinion. Alongside this year's anniversary, author Viet Thanh Nguyen's debut novel, The Sympathizer, is receiving plenty of attention, including an op-ed and rave review in The New York Times. In The Sympathizer, Nguyen confronts the history, politics, and anger embroiled in the events of the Vietnam War in a dark, funny, and distinctly Vietnamese way. In anticipation of his Loft class “Politics, History, and Anger in Writing,” we asked him to tell us a bit about his writing journey. 


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Loosely Literal: Game of Workshop

Posted on Wed, Apr 29 2015 9:00 am by Sally Franson

Quotes Taken from HBO’s original series, based on the bestselling books by George R. R. Martin

Week 1: Introductions

OBERYN MARTELL: These meetings aren’t always going to be this early, are they?

TYWIN LANNISTER: This is a plot.

CERSEI LANNISTER: Always so clever with your schemes and plots.

TYRION: Schemes and plots are the same thing.

DAENERYS TARGARYEN: I didn’t come here to argue grammar.

HODOR: Hodor.

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Literary Roundup: Pulitzer Poet, Remembering Past Writers, Fighting Self-Doubt, and the Loft-BUST Reading

Posted on Tue, Apr 28 2015 9:34 am by Chris Jones

Today's roundup learns how Gregory Pardlo has dealt with sudden Pulitzer fame, urges not to forget the contributions of past writers, fights through self-doubt, and looks back at the Loft-BUST reading. 

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The Mud Nest

Posted on Mon, Apr 27 2015 9:00 am by Allison Adelle Hedge Coke

Yesterday I witnessed something I wish I had not. My porch has an old mud nest, swallow-like, that many birds have taken advantage of in the time I have enjoyed living there. The pair this spring clearly had a clutch being warmed by their constant care and at times I heard peeps, as well. Stepping onto the porch, midday, I was heartbroken to find a not-ready-to-be-fledgling on the concrete below, neck broken, gone. The parents were clearly upset and yet, eventually, settled back in. A while later, when they went to feed nearby, I watched a pair of English sparrows, male and female, enter the nest and peck at the clutch, to wit I intervened chasing them off with my voice and hands waving. The parents soon returned and seemed to be fine and I went back inside to deal with my own dismay and to research killer sparrows, something I had not considered at all previously. Nature.

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Find the Image that Makes Your Writing Come Alive

Posted on Fri, Apr 24 2015 9:00 am by Stephen Wilbers

Vanessa Bell was falling in love with art critic Roger Fry when she learned he was having an affair with someone else. Her response was visceral. It was like getting hit in the stomach.

Except that’s not how Vanessa described her reaction in Priya Parmar’s historical novel, Vanessa and her Sister. Imagining Fry making love with another woman, Vanessa wrote in her journal, “A textured warmth roiled up my spine.”

Can you hear the difference?

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Memory Lane: Childhood Literature

Posted on Thu, Apr 23 2015 9:00 am by Valerie Cabrera

In light of the Loft’s Children's and Young Adult Literature Conference coming up, it seems a good time to reflect on some of the many happenings going on in the world of children’s literature: the tragic death of Anne of Green Gables actor Jonathan Crombie, a recent Wrinkle In Time never-before-seen passage reveal, and the touching trailer release of the beloved children’s book, The Little Prince all come to mind.

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Why Writers Should Read Their Work in Public

Posted on Wed, Apr 22 2015 9:00 am by Mary Ringstad

You’re in the spotlight. A dark gulf looms before you. All eyes are upon you. What does it really feel like to read your work in public? And why should writers go through the stress of reading to an audience? What makes the magic happen?

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