Climate change in lit panel featuring authors Kathryn Savage and Siddhartha Deb. Credit: The Loft Literary Center

What a great day! This year the Loft’s Wordplay organized itself around the theme of Narrative Power and transported lit enthusiasts on a day-long journey of thought-provoking conversations, engaging workshops, and surprise encounters. This year’s event celebrated the power of words to push toward meaningful social change and showcased the diverse talents of renowned authors, poets, and artists. 

Drag story hour featuring Sid Sity and Old Man Zimmer. Credit: The Loft Literary Center

The day featured more than 50 authors in conversation around their work and its relation to racial justice, climate change, healing and wellness, joy and inspiration, finding connection, and much more. After each session, attendees had the chance to meet their favorite authors during book signings, forging personal connections and gaining deeper insights into the inspirations behind their work.

In addition, throughout the weekend there were classes with visiting authors, fun evening events like the Wordle Cup Tournament, and the kickoff party and concert with some talented local musicians and hip-hop artists.  

Discussion on family histories and generational trauma featuring authors Tyriek White, Kyle Tran Myhre, Idra Novey, and Bethanne Patrick. Credit: The Loft Literary Center.

Some highlights from attendees included Jessica Clem who met one of her favorite authors Paul Tremblay and wrote afterwards, “Well, this was one of the best days of my whole damn life. Not only did I get to have coffee with Paul Tremblay, but I got to have beers with him afterwards. If I ever make it as a writer, I will strive to treat my constant readers this way.”

One of the Loft’s McKnight fellows added this about Wordplay, “It was so great to gather with other writers again. And the panels!—just to name one writer, Jamila Minnicks blew my socks off! She’s definitely making the revolution irresistible.”

Wordplay participant browsing the bookseller. Credit: The Loft Literary Center.

The participating writers had a lot to say as well, but we’ll recap their experience through the eyes of poet Lena Khalef Tuffaha, “Poets, poems, books, book art, art and more art, gardens, and lakes, Minneapolis has it all! Sun-washed weekend with beautiful souls at Wordplay. Gratitude to Mizna and the Loft for a great trip.” 

None of these experiences would have been possible without some of the key partners, sponsors, volunteers, and staff that helped pull off the big day. A special thank you to Loft strategic partners Green Card Voices and Mizna for contributing to the success of Wordplay, and a shout out to all of our festival partners, including media partners Star Tribune, Minnesota Public Radio, and of course, Sahan Journal!  

Youth activities at Wordplay. Credit: The Loft Literary Center.

As we close the curtains on Wordplay 2023, we invite you to explore future offerings with the Loft. We have a lot of exciting offerings up our sleeve, some of which are currently available on the Loft’s website and some which we have yet to announce. We can’t wait to next connect with you around the transformative power of literature. 


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