April 5, 2023

MINNEAPOLIS (Nov. 29, 2016) — Big Ideas: Words for Change, Into: Minneapolis Launch, Second Story, and other Dec 2016 – Jan 2017 Events:

12/1: Winners of the MN State Arts Board Artist Initiative Award Reading
12/4: Second Story Reading Series with Kelly Barnhill & Abby Cooper
12/6: Big Ideas: Words for Change
12/8: Memorial Reading for Philip Dacey
12/9: Into Quarterly: Minneapolis Launch
1/12: Member Happy Hour: Prophecies of the Future
1/14: VONA Faculty Reading
1/20: Mentor Series Reading with Julie Schumacher
Unless otherwise noted, all events have a $5–10 suggested admission, are open to the public, and take place at
The Loft Literary Center at Open Book
1011 Washington Avenue South, Minneapolis

Thursday, December 1, 7-9 p.m.
The Loft Literary Center Presents 2016 Winners of the Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative Award in Creative Prose, December 1st at 7:00 p.m. in Target Performance Hall/ Open Book.

Sheila O’Connor is the author of four novels: Tokens of Grace, Where No Gods Came, Sparrow Road, and Keeping Safe the Stars. Awards for her novels include the Michigan Prize for Literary Fiction, Minnesota Book Award, International Reading Award, Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers selection, and Midwest Booksellers Award among others. She teaches in the MFA program at Hamline University where she serves as Fiction Editor for Water~Stone Review.

Juliet Patterson’s The Truant Lover was winner of the first Nightboat Books Prize. Her most recent collection of poems, Threnody is forthcoming from Nightboat (October 2016). Her poems and essays have appeared widely in numerous magazines. Her recent awards include the Arts & Letters Susan Atefat Prize in Non-fiction, the Lynda Hull Memorial Poetry Prize, and a Jerome Foundation fellowship. Two long sequences—one poetry and one prose—are available as chapbooks, Epilogue (Spout Press) and Dirge (Albion Books). Her most recent writing project, a memoir in progress, entitled Sinkhole, has been supported through a Minnesota State Arts Board grant and a Minnesota Emerging Writers grant. She lives in Minneapolis on the west bank of the Mississippi near the Great River Road.

Glenda Reed is a writer, artist, and adventurer. Her writing has received funding from the Jerome Foundation, the McKnight Foundation, and the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund among others. Her work has been published in Creative Nonfiction and The Best Travel Writing. Reed is also a winner of The Moth StorySlam. She is currently working on a memoir about hitchhiking around the world on sailboats.

Kathryn Savage’s writing has appeared in American Short Fiction, The Guardian, Poets & Writers, Ploughshares, and The Best Small Fictions of 2015, among others. Her work has been supported by fellowships and scholarships from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, Napa Valley Writers’ Conference, Minnesota State Arts Board, Millay Colony, Ucross Foundation, and Vermont Studio Center. She studied creative writing at The New School and holds an MFA from Bennington College. Formerly an editor at The University of Minnesota’s Institute on Crime and Public Policy, she’s currently the community partnership manager at The Loft Literary Center. She’s at work on a collection of short stories and a novel.
Sunday, December 4, 2-4 p.m.
The Loft Literary Center Presents Second Story with Kelly Barnhill and Abby Cooper. Second Story is the Loft’s reading series for young adult and middle-grade authors. Perfect for families and readers of all ages, Second Story pairs a first-time author with a more established voice in children’s literature.Abby Cooper was born and raised in the suburbs of Minneapolis. After studying education at Indiana University and living in Chicago and Wisconsin, she is now happily back home in Minnesota. A former teacher and school librarian, Abby is passionate about connecting books with readers. STICKS & STONES is her first novel. Her second, BUBBLES, will be released in July 2017. Visit Abby online at www.AbbyCooperAuthor.com.

Kelly Barnhill is the author of two middle grade novels, The Mostly True Story of Jackand Iron Hearted Violet, as well as several nonfiction books for children, and many more short stories for grown-ups. Her short fiction can be found in The Sun, Postscripts, Fantasy, Wei rd Tales, The Rake, and other publications. She lives in Minneapolis with her three aspiring-evil-genius kids, her very tolerant husband, and her emotionally unstable dog. You can follow her various antics and adventures on her blog at www.kellybarnhill.com.
Tuesday, December 6, 7-9 p.m.
$10 Regular; $5 Loft member
Can words really change the world?

We often say that actions speak louder than words. If we believe that’s true, maybe words can’t do all that much to make the world a better place. Maybe only action leads to change.

But don’t we also often say that words matter? That they’re something uniquely human, and at their best, aren’t they also powerful actions in themselves? Aren’t words, poems, and stories capable of effecting change in a family, community, country, or world?

In the Loft’s first Big Ideas conversation we’re going to get to the heart of hearts and minds. We’ll explore how and when words provoke someone to act, change their mind, or find common understanding. Join us for a conversation with writers and community leaders who use language and storytelling to build bridges of understanding and effect change in the world. Sun Yung Shinwill facilitate the conversation, joined by Alexs D. Pate and Tea Rozman Clark.

Sun Yung Shin
Sun Yung Shin 2012, (photo by Dan Markworth)

신선영 Sun Yung Shin is the author, editor, or co-editor of six books and one chapbook: Unbearable Splendor (poetry/essay); Rough , and Savage (poetry); Skirt Full of Black (poetry); A Good Time for the Truth: Race in Minnesota (essays); Outsiders Within: Writing on Transracial Adoption (essays); 쿠퍼의 롐슨 Cooper’s Lesson (bilingual book for children); and My Singularity (poetry). She is cofounder of a native women artists & women of color artist collective and is a contributing editor at Aster(ix) and Society Editions. She has received artist grants from the Bush Foundation, the Minnesota State Arts Board, the McKnight Foundation, and the Jerome Foundation.

Alexs D. Pate has had a diverse career bringing his innovative eye and heart to the areas of education, literature, business and race. He is an award winning author of five novels, including Amistad. He is a passionate proponent for the renovation of the American public education system through by infusing our schools with a focus on the innocence and goodness of its marginalized students, especially students of color. This theme, above all others is interwoven in all of his literary works as well as his consultative efforts with public and private organizations.

Given an opportunity—few writers, scholars and intellectuals are given—to bring an idea that emanated from his theoretical work into actual practice, Alexs has created the Innocent Classroom. It brings together common sense, empathy, redemptive energy and honesty in the classroom.

Twenty years ago, while working in refugee camps in the war-torn former Yugoslavia, Tea Rozman Clark made a commitment to serve those whose lives had been unjustly disrupted by conflict. Years later, as she visited Srebrenica residents as part of her postgraduate studies at New York University and later University of Nova Gorica, Tea realized the impact of first-person digital story sharing. She co-founded Green Card Voices, an organization that combats stereotypes by empowering immigrants to tell their stories.

Big Ideas is a series from the Loft that puts literature at the center of dynamic conversations and brings together readers and writers to explore ideas relevant to our society today.

Pay-what-you-can tickets are available 30 minutes prior to the event on a first-come, first-served basis. No turned away for lack of funds. To guarantee admission, you can purchase tickets ($10 general/$5 Loft members) in advance through the Loft’s website. Doors open 30 minutes before the event. Seating is general admission (not assigned).
Thursday, December 8, 7-9 p.m.
Elizabeth Blair was a friend and English department colleague of Phil Dacey’s for two decades. She was awarded a Minnesota State Arts Board Individual Artist’s Grant in Photography in 2015 for her photographs of northern bogs. Blair is currently working on a book of essays about Minnesota’s wild orchids.  Michael Dennis Browne’s most recent collection of poems is The Voices (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2015). He is a professor emeritus at the University of Minnesota, where he taught for thirty-nine years.

Don Ezra Cruz met Fay Dacey in 2002 while the were both pursuing MFAs from the writing program at UNC Greensboro. They married in 2006 and Ezra has been, subsequently, a poet, editor of the Backwards City Review, U.S. Army Medic, educator and instructional technologist. They now live in Northfield, MN, where they raise their own daughters, Sorcha and Ingrid.

Jeff Kolnick teaches history at Southwest Minnesota State University where he is President of the Faculty Association and Chair of the Department of Social Sciences. His scholarship ranges from farmer-labor politics in Minnesota to the modern civil rights movement. During that trip, Kolnick and Phil Dacey were roommates when the led SMSU students on a trip to Vietnam in 1995.

Pianist and conductor Daniel Rieppel holds degrees from the Cleveland Institute of Music and Indiana University, and earned his Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Minnesota. He has lectured and performed Schubert’s works in New York City, Vienna, and at Oxford University.

Thomas R. Smith is a writer, editor and teacher living in River Falls, Wisconsin. His seven books of poems include The Foot of the Rainbow and The Glory, both from Red Dragonfly Press. In 2018 New Rivers will publish his new and selected prose poems. He has also edited three books on Robert Bly.
Friday, December 9, 7 p.m.
Copresented by Into Quarterly and the Loft, this event will feature readings from contributors and a panel discussion.

Into: Minneapolis is a a collection of original writing and art inspired by Minneapolis. Forty local writers, designers, photographers, and fine artists share their creative tributes to the city, exploring such themes as cold, kindness, identity, and Prince. Through their combined voices and mediums, we get an unconventional portrait of Minneapolis, and a time capsule of the art coming out of it today.

The panel discussion will focus on sense of place, and how that influences home, community, and social action/reaction through words and visual art. Featured panelists are TBD.

Book sales and reception to follow.
Thursday, January 12, 5:30 p.m.
Members make the Loft possible. As such, we want you to be the first people to see the Loft’s refreshed logo and look. Executive Director Britt Udesen will present her vision for the future, and how you’ll be instrumental in making it happen. All that, plus drinks, nosh, and mixing and mingling with the coolest readers and writers in town.

This event is free for Loft members. To become a Loft member and attend member events like this, please make a membership contribution here or become a member at the door. The Loft relies on member support to keep this thriving community of readers and writers going strong. Thank you!
Saturday, January 14, 7 p.m.

Staceyann Chin (Facebook photo)

Staceyann Chin is the playwright and performer of MotherStruck. She is also the recipient of the Power of the Voice Award from The Human Rights Campaign, the Safe Haven Award from Immigration Equality, the Honors from the Lesbian AIDS Project, the New York State Senate Award, and the American Heritage Award from American Immigration Council. She identifies as Caribbean and Black, Asian and lesbian, woman, resident of New York City, and a proud Jamaican National. Widely known as cowriter and original performer in Russell Simmons’ Tony Award-winning Def Poetry Jam on Broadway. She is also the author of her memoir The Other Side of Paradise.

Chris Abani is an acclaimed novelist, poet, essayist, screenwriter, and playwright. Born in Nigeria to an Igbo father and English mother, he grew up in Afikpo, Nigeria. He has resided in the United States since 2001. Abani’s fiction includes The Secret History of Las Vegas (Penguin 2014), nominated for the Hurston/Wright 2015 Legacy Award, Song For Night (2007), The Virgin of Flames (2007), Becoming Abigail (2006), GraceLand (2004), and Masters of the Board (1985). His poetry collections are Sanctificum (2010), There Are No Names for Red (2010), Feed Me The Sun – Collected Long Poems (2010), Hands Washing Water (2006), Dog Woman (2004), Daphne’s Lot (2003), and Kalakuta Republic(2001).

Natalie Diaz was born and raised in the Fort Mojave Indian Village in Needles, California, on the banks of the Colorado River. She is Mojave and an enrolled member of the Gila River Indian Tribe. Her first poetry collection, When My Brother Was an Aztec, was published by Copper Canyon Press in 2012. Her poetry has garnered the Nimrod/Hardman Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry, the Louis Untermeyer Scholarship in Poetry from Bread Loaf, the Narrative Poetry Prize, the Holmes National Poetry Prize from Princeton University, a US Artists Ford Fellowship, a Native Arts Council Foundation Artist Fellowship, and a Lannan Literary Fellowship.

Elmaz Abinader is a poet, memoirist, playwright and novelist. Her first memoir, Children of the Roojme, a Family’s Journey from Lebanon, chronicles three generations of immigrants battling dislocation and tradition. Her new poetry collection, This House, My Bones was the editors’ selection from Willow Press/Aquarius press. Elmaz won the 2000 PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Poetry award for the poetry collection, In the Country of My Dreams. She was also awarded a Goldies Award for Literature, as well as two Drammies (Oregon’s Drama award) for her three-act one-woman show, Country of Origin. Elmaz is one of the founders of the Voices of Our Nations Arts Foundation, (VONA/Voices), now in its 18th year providing workshops for writers of color. She is also a creative writing professor at Mills College.
Friday, January 20, 7-9 p.m.
The Loft Literary Center Proudly Presents A 2016-2017 Loft Mentor Series Reading with Julie Schumacher, and winners Erin Sharkey (nonfiction) and Elizabeth Tannen (poetry).

Julie Schumacher grew up in Wilmington, Delaware and graduated from Oberlin College and Cornell University. Her first published story, “Reunion,” written to fulfill an undergraduate writing assignment, was reprinted in The Best American Short Stories 1983. Subsequent stories and essays have been published in The Atlantic, The New York Times, Ms., and Prize Stories 1990 and 1996: The O.Henry Awards. Her first novel, The Body Is Water, was an ALA Notable Book of the Year and a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award. She has also published a short story collection, An Explanation for Chaos, and five novels for younger readers, including The Book of One Hundred Truths, winner of a Minnesota Book Award. Her most recent book is the nationally best-selling Dear Committee Members, winner of the Thurber Prize for American Humor. Schumacher is a professor of English and the director of the Creative Writing program at the University of Minnesota.

Erin Sharkey is a writer, producer, educator and graphic designer based in Minneapolis. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Hamline University and is the co-founder of an artist collective called Free Black Dirt. She recently served as production manager for the Heart of the Beast Theatre’s Mayday Parade and Ceremony. Erin is the co-host of Black Market Reads, a weekly podcast about literature and black cultural production and has appeared in publications such as Walker Art Center’s Untitled and Paper Darts. Erin is a 2016 VONA/Voices Travel Writing fellow, a 2015 Givens Foundation for African American Literature Emerging Writers fellow, a Givens Foundation cultural producer-in-residence as well as a Coffee House Press in the Stacks artist-in-residence at the Archie Givens Sr. Archive at the University of MN.

Elizabeth Tannen is a Brooklyn-born, Minneapolis-based writer with essays, stories and poems published or forthcoming in places like Salon, The Rumpus, Front Porch, Southern Humanities Review, BODY, and others; one of her poems was recently selected as a finalist for Southeast Review’s Gearhart Poetry Prize. Elizabeth is a former producer for NPR’s All Things Considered, and holds an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from the University of New Mexico. Currently, she teaches writing at Anoka Ramsey Community College, with the Minnesota Prison Writing Workshop, and at The Loft Literary Center. She founded and curates the monthly reading series, Five Writers, Five Minutes, Five Watt (555 Reads), at Five Watt Coffee in South Minneapolis.

Incorporated in 1975, The Loft Literary Center is one of the nation’s leading independent literary centers. The Loft advances the artistic development of writers, fosters a thriving literary community, and inspires a passion for literature.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *