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The Loft Literary Center Presents a 2019-2020 Loft Mentor Series Reading with mentors Ross Gay and Douglas Kearney and fellows Chee Vang, Halee Kirkwood, Heather Quinn, and Misty Schwab. Book sales provided by Milkweed Books.
Chee Vang (fiction) lives in St. Paul, Minnesota and writes stories about women, relationships, culture and more. Her work celebrates intersection and its complexities. The Loft Mentor Fellowship is her first literary accolade.
Halee Kirkwood (poetry) is a descendant of the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe and earned their MFA from Hamline University. Their work has been published in Up The Staircase Quarterly, Muzzle Magazine, ctrl+v, Cream City Review, and others. Kirkwood is a writing mentor and bubblegum poetry wrangler for the Minnesota Prison Writing Workshop, and was an inaugural teaching fellow for the 2019 Desert Nights, Rising Stars writing conference at Arizona State University. Their mini-chapbook, Exorcising The Catalogue, was published in Fall 2018 with Rinky Dink Press.
Heather Quinn (nonfiction) is a graduate of Portland State University's MFA in creative nonfiction. They have been published in The Rumpus, Under the Gum Tree, The Riveter, Cutbank, Vela, and others. They're working on their memoir, This is How You Disappear, about the Imperial Valley and their father's suicide. They live in Saint Paul with their husband and two daughters.
Misty Schwab (fiction) reports for two small town newspapers in Southern Minnesota, specializing in the educational landscape as well as feature stories and previews for local entertainment performances. When she's not conducting interviews and snapping photos at local festivals, she enjoys Hula Hooping, reading fiction, drinking coffee and playing Dutch Blitz.
Douglas Kearney (nonfiction) has published six books, most recently, Buck Studies (Fence Books, 2016), winner of the Theodore Roethke Memorial Poetry Award and the CLMP Firecracker Award for Poetry. Kearney’s collection of hybrid essays on poetics and performativity, Mess and Mess and (Noemi Press, 2015), was a Small Press Distribution Handpicked Selection that Publisher’s Weekly called “an extraordinary book.” His work is widely anthologized, including Best American Poetry (2014, 2015), Best American Experimental Writing (2014), The Creative Critic: Writing As/About Practice, What I Say: Innovative Poetry by Black Writers in America, and The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop; has appeared in Poetry, Callaloo, Boston Review, Hyperallergic, Jacket2, and Lana Turner; and exhibited at the American Jazz Museum, Temple Contemporary, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, and The Visitor’s Welcome Center (Los Angeles). A librettist, Kearney has had three operas staged. He has received a Whiting Writer’s Award, a Foundation for Contemporary Arts Cy Twombly Award for Poetry, residencies/fellowships from Cave Canem, The Rauschenberg Foundation, and others. A Howard University and CalArts alum, Kearney teaches Creative Nonfiction and Poetry at the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities. Born in Brooklyn, raised in Altadena, CA, he lives with his family in St. Paul.
Ross Gay (poetry) is the author of three books of poetry, including Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude, winner of the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award and the 2016 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. Catalog was also a finalist for the 2015 National Book Award in Poetry and nominated for an NAACP Image Award. He is a founding editor, with Karissa Chen and Patrick Rosal, of the online sports magazine Some Call It Ballin’ and founding board member of the Bloomington Community Orchard, a nonprofit, free‑fruit‑for‑all food justice and joy project. Gay has received fellowships from the Cave Canem Foundation, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and the Guggenheim Foundation. He teaches at Indiana University. Algonquin will be publishing his next book, This Black Earth, in 2019.