Did someone say party?!
Everyone knows book clubs are really just an excuse to get together with your friends over a common interest (and perhaps a glass of wine). Well, let’s take that model and blow it out of the water by gathering 10,000 of your closest friends in downtown Minneapolis for the biggest book party the Midwest has ever seen.
Let’s bring in all the hottest authors, the up-and-coming marvels, and we’ll even throw in your favorite basketball player who just wrote the memoir of the century. We’ll supply the tents, the music and activities, the beverages, the snacks and endless supplies of books. All you have to do is show up and geek out about the best thing ever (in our humble opinion): words! Oh yeah, and bring all your friends!
That’s the atmosphere you will help create at the first-ever Wordplay, a book party in the heart of Minneapolis. May 11-12, 2019, the Loft will undertake its biggest project to date, and we want—NEED—you to show up in a variety of ways.
Today, we’ve got a special request: join us by making a financial gift and instantly become a Wordplay Founder. Not too shabby!
Close your eyes and dream with us...
Minnesota has one of the most celebrated literary communities in the country. We are rich with presses, locally owned bookstores, author events, writing classes, and great writers. We are perennially ranked one of the most literate communities in the country. A community like ours deserves an enormous party like Wordplay for books.
While the Minnesota literary community has lots of ways you can engage with great work, like Rain Taxi’s beloved Twin Cities Book Festival in the fall, we’d like to put something on your spring calendar. Something that hasn’t been done before in the Midwest. Something where literary lovers and, say, taco lovers alike can find something they will, well, love. Whether it be the year’s best poetry or the year’s best microbrew, or even the year’s best toddlers-in-book-character-costumes dance off, we say: come for the revelry, stay for the books!
Imagine a weekend full of famous authors and celebrated books; a weekend of readings, conversations, workshops, kids’ activities, demonstrations, and one-of-a-kind happenings with outdoor stages, cooking stages, book signings, quiet reading corners, boisterous parties, food trucks, beer tents, and books, books, books.
Why the Loft?
Here at the Loft, we’ve staked our claim as a hallmark of the Twin Cities arts landscape since 1974, when we were just a tiny gathering of poets and writers meeting in the loft of Marly Rusoff's bookstore in Dinkytown.
Today in our Downtown East home at Open Book, the Loft is one of the country’s largest centers for cheering on writers and readers and fostering community that puts words, stories, and literature at the center of civic life. Each year we host dozens of readings and bookish events, offer 250+ classes for readers and writers, and have a little something for everyone from kids summer camp to adult novel writing boot camp. In all things, we seek to be playful, challenging, genuine, equitable, and innovative.
If anyone is ready to throw this kind of next-level party in the name of books, it’s us!
Because it’s always a good time for a party! And because stories bring people together to listen, learn, investigate, and laugh. Wordplay will be a game-changer for the Loft and our community. The festival will prove that books still have power in this digital, screen-centered world. Let’s gather broad and diverse populations in an array of activities for readers, writers, and people who may not consider themselves big readers but who have an interest in a specific activity, topic, or presenter.
At Wordplay, there will be something for everyone—bookish or not! Most events will be free. Whether your book club reads literary fiction or paranormal zombie romance, whether you get your books at your library or on your e-reader, or even if the last book you read was a movie, this festival will be for you.
Wordplay’s celebrates the ways in which people connect to and through words and welcomes anyone who shares a belief in the connective power of story. That most definitely includes you!
Your gift today helps us plan confidently for our very first year of Wordplay. From securing the top authors for our panels to making sure there are enough trash bins and water stations, your investment ensures that Wordplay is a success from start to finish. Wordplay will be an annual event, which means a strong start will build a foundation of strength for years to come. Giving today makes you a founder of this one-of-a-kind community event.
Show our partners, sponsors, and the world that you’re ready to celebrate! Give your gift now help prove that stories matter.
Let’s get the party started!
And now . . . . THE REWARDS!
PLEDGE $10 or more Curated Reading List: Get your book club set for the next season, with a downloadable curated reading list from some of Minnesota's best book sellers. Plus, our undying love and gratitude, and your name on a new page of our website devoted to singing the praises of our supporters.
PLEDGE $25 or more Wordplay Stamp (er, Sticker) of Approval: Thank you for supporting Wordplay! You will receive a wordplay sticker in the mail and/or a digital download of the Wordplay background. Plus, a curated reading list from some of Minnesota's best book sellers.
PLEDGE $50 or more Actual Wordplay, a Punny Print: Have you seen Mary Laura Philpott and Kristen Arnett’s adorable literary animal puns on McSweeney’s and their @WeNamePets Instagram? With this exclusive Loft Literary Center offer receive a charming and pithy animal pun and illustration on a 5x7 print. Perfect for those times you want to prove you read, but don’t take yourself too seriously.
Pledge $75 or more Fanny Pack Party: Call it what you may, the “belt bag,” “hip pack,” “the mini bag that only comes with a strap to be tied around the waist”, or “fanny pack” is unequivocally hip and fashionable. The Wordplay Fanny Pack is no exception. The perfect accessory for the literary lover, this simultaneously utilitarian and chic bag allows you to scurry around the festival grounds hands free. This is not your mother’s fanny pack.
Pledge $100 or more The Shirt Off Our Back: Don't just wear the band's shirt to their concert *BE* the band. With this Wordplay Founder T-shirt, you can walk the streets of the first annual festival and say, yeah, I helped make this.
Pledge $100 Mira Jacob Will Make You a Comic Star: Author and illustrator Mira Jacob (featured on Shondaland and in forthcoming memoir Good Talk) will immortalize your name in a digital comic form. Print it, frame it, send it to your Mom when you need to remind her you are brilliant and beloved.
Pledge $125 or more Need a Pep Talk? Going through a bad breakup? Stuck in a creative rut? Need some reassurance that your new haircut is as “fresh” as you think it is? Having serious doubts about whether or not you should eat the family-size tub of hummus in your fridge? Get a ten-minute pep talk on the subject of your choosing from one of our many professional-ish life advice givers. Perfect for when you just need that go ahead.
$125 Goldblatt Winners Prize Pack: Announcing the Goldblatt Prize winners! Duchess Goldblatt has finally revealed the winners of the Goldblatt Prize, and Her Grace will mail them to you along with a bonus book on writing. The winners are: Thunderstruck by Elizabeth McCracken; Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng; The Queen of the Night by Alexander Chee; and Sunburn by Laura Lippman. Plus, bonus book: Jane Hirschfield’s Nine Gates: Entering the Mind of Poetry.
Pledge $150 or more Banana Bread and a Book (both) by Rumaan Alam Author of Rich and Pretty and That Kind of Mother will make you some banana bread and ship it to you along with a signed copy of That Kind of Mother. And it’s not just any banana bread, it’s the banana bread from what he describes as the most autobiographical scene in That Kind of Mother. A book and bread, what more nourishment do you need!
Pledge $150 or more Monthly Writing Prompt Calendar: Created and designed especially for writers, the Wordplay Writer’s monthly calendar will feature a writing prompt from 12 unique authors for every month of the year, with bonus book recommendations. From New York Times best selling author Sloane Crosley, the very real fictional star Duchess Goldblatt, National Book Award finalist Ada Limón, Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Gregory Pardlo, and more. Need to work through writer's block? Need motivation or inspiration for your next piece? The Wordplay Writer’s calendar is filled with ideas that will make you want to read and write.
Pledge $300 or more Cal Morgan Will Critique Your Manuscript: Want to give your manuscript its best shot and get it ready for publication? Cal Morgan, renowned executive editor of Riverhead Books, and champion of the voices of writers like Roxane Gay, Lidia Yuknavitch, Jess Walter, Amelia Gray, etc. etc. etc. will provide an in-depth critique of 3-5 pages of your work. This priceless opportunity will have your short story or manuscript excerpt in tip-top shape in no time.
Pledge $300 or more Sarah Bowlin Will Critique Your Manuscript:Do you want an agent to look over your manuscript? Or someone who has edited award-winning and NYT Notable books? Why not both? Agent at Aevitas, former editor at Penguin and Henry Holt & Co., literary all-star Sarah Bowlin will critique up to 20 pages of your work. See how your short story or novel excerpt can take shape under the pen of a dual maestro.
Pledge $300 or more Pro Copyedit from Copy Chief: Benjamin Dreyer, Copy Chief of Random House, is going to give fifteen hundred words of your prose—a complete short story or an excerpt from a larger manuscript—the same expert copyeditorial attention he’s provided for authors these past twenty-five years, showing you—right there on the page—how your text can be the best possible version of itself imaginable.
Pledge $500 or more Name a Character: Have you ever thought about a secret collaboration with one of your favorite authors? We have several award winning authors read to name a character in their next work of fiction at your discretion.
Pledge $750 or more Rock Star Seating and Parking TAKE A LOAD OFF-Receive two reserved front-row seats and a priority parking space at all Loft signature events held at Open Book from August 2018-August 2019. Events include all Big Ideas events, Mentor Series Readings, McKnight Readings, book launches, More Than a Single Story, Poetry Out Loud, and other events (final schedule TBD). *this does not include Wordplay Events.
Pledge $1,000 or more Wordplay Champion Get the Wordplay Champion treatment you know you deserve with perks for the entire year, including... INCLUDES: Name on individual partners web page and program Complimentary admission to 1 workshop Complimentary event fanny pack or t-shirt 2 days early registration for Wordplay workshops and keynotes Your name on our website (let us know if you prefer anonymity)
Pledge $1,200 or more Loft Leadership Circle Love being a part of the literary community? Want to be a literary leader? Get to know the Minneapolis literary scene from an insiders perspective with exclusive perks like, invitations to exclusive events, behind-the-scenes updates, like early access to author announcements for Wordplay from Loft directors, monthly reading recommendations from Loft staff and teaching artists, special recognition on the Loft’s website and in our offices at Open Book, and more.
Pledge $2,500 or more Wordplay Visionary Partner You are a visionary. No really, you are inspired, imaginative, creative, intelligent, witty, resourceful, generous, glowing, and my my did you get your hair done recently because wow… We hope all this flattery works. If it doesn’t refer to the perks sidebar and read through what ya gonna get.
Pledge $5,000 or more Wordplay Authors Circle VIP Have you secretly always known you were a celebrity? Confused that no one else thinks the same? Get ready for the red carpet and a meet and greet with your fellow VIP’s.
Risks and challenges
Wordplay is the largest event the Loft has ever undertaken. Never have we beckoned 10,000 friends forth to come celebrate our love of words and stories. It’s a bold move, but that’s what we’re all about here. We have a nimble and strategic board as well as a team of experienced staff who know the ins and outs of event planning, recruiting top authors, and making sure that participants of all interest levels feel engaged and amped!
The event will require the collaboration of local businesses and neighborhood residents, the partnership of our major corporate community, and elbow grease from volunteers, friends in the Minnesota arts ecosystem, and more. But at the end of the day, it’s our mission to create a thriving literary community, and we’ve been doing it for 40+ years. If Downtown East can host the Superbowl, it’s definitely ready to support a party for words!
Wordplay will cost $350,000. That budget will enable us to bring in top authors for fans of all ages, to provide inspiring and comfortable venues, and to ensure the safety of our guests as they roam the events multi-block footprint, all while making sure the lights stay on in the process. The $35,000 raised through our Kickstarter will be the seeds to help us plant those Wordplay roots so that the event can grow with strength and purpose for years to come.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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