Anoka-Ramsey Community College faculty member wins 2012 Loft Minnesota Emerging Writers’ Grant

2012 Loft Minnesota Emerging Writers’ Grant recipient to use Minneapolis middle school students as editors

Anoka-Ramsey Community College Cambridge Campus English faculty member William Breen was recently awarded a 2012 Loft Minnesota Emerging Writers’ Grant for $8,500.

The grant will allow Breen to take the summer of 2013 off from teaching to focus on his middle-grade novel, The Legend of Sebastian & Jane, and obtain professional editorial feedback on the manuscript.

“This is a fantastic opportunity,” said Breen. “It’s also a huge affirmation of my work on this book, especially as a poet who’s made the leap to a new genre. I’m incredibly grateful.”

The novel centers around two tween-age neighbors who create a portal to The Legend, a rich and unforgiving wilderness that provides fertile ground for the imagination. At the heart of The Legend is The Mall on the Mountain, a massive entertainment complex enticing children with X-treme rides, lavish buffets, and an irresistible but vicious virtual reality game that harvests the imaginations of those who play. The two neighbors go through profound experiences alone and together as they seek to discover their purpose in The Legend and find their way home again.

Students in Erica Bentley’s class at Cedar-Riverside Community School will be some of the first to read the work in progress. As part of their 2012-2013 curriculum, students will read Breen’s draft and provide insights for Breen’s consideration as he revises the novel.

Breen, a writing and literature instructor at Anoka-Ramsey Community College, has had his poetry appear in AQR: Alaska Quarterly Review and Measure. His poem “Cookie Monster Blue” was a Pushcart Prize XXXIII nominee.


About the Minnesota Emerging Writers’ Grant

The Minnesota Emerging Writers’ Grant provides writers with financial support and professional assistance to develop and implement multifaceted plans for their artistic endeavors.

The 2012 Minnesota Emerging Writers’ Grant competition received 200 qualified entries. This year, the Loft coordinated with Grub Street, an independent center for creative writing in Boston, to form a panel of five teaching artists to review the applications. They narrowed the field down to 20 finalists. From those 20, they selected five writers for the awards.

Winners receive grants of up to $10,000 to underwrite projects of their own design. The total number of winners are dependent on the requests. Typically, four writers are awarded grants.

Joining Breen to receive the 2012 grant are: essayist Katie Hae Leo of Rochester; nonfiction writer Juliet Patterson of Minneapolis; poet Yuko Taniguchi of Rochester; and fiction writer Donna Trump of Minneapolis.

For details about The Loft Literary Center contest and awards, visit