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The Loft-sponsored open writing group, TGIFrybread, will be presenting Minwaajimo (She/He is Telling a Good Story), a public reading at The Loft Literary Center on May 21, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
An event over three years in the making, Minwaajimo will be the culmination of efforts by local Native writers to create an event that celebrates the creativity of Native poems, stories, and other works.
Ardie Medina (Lac du Flambeau Ojibwe) an Associate Development Director at The Loft, hosts the open writing group once a month. TGIFrybread, first formed in 2008, stemmed from an event at The Moonlit Bridge gala. The Loft was sponsoring a table for INROADS scholarship opportunities when a number of prominent writers from the area, including poet and essayist Heid Erdrich, met together at the table and began discussing ways in which writers could begin collaboration on their efforts.
"We thought, 'we have to start getting together on a more regular basis,'" Medina said. "Writers writing together. That is what eventually would become TGIFrybread."
TGIFrybread would grow over the years, bringing in talented Native artists and helping them to foster their writing skills, their presentation, and ultimately helping participants to take their own work seriously.
"I think our poetry circle has given some of our writers real confidence, and a comfort in referring to themselves as writers. We've even had three of our members apply for the Native American INROADS scholarship program, and two of them made it in," Medina said.
This last February marked the third year of TGIFrybread, and it was decided that to better represent the work of the writing circle members, a public reading event would be held to help spread the word about the emerging talent of Native writers in the area.
"When you're in a group that is a part of The Loft, you get the use of the performance hall once a year free of charge. The Loft pays for your use of the hall, so it made sense for us to read poetry from the group," Medina said.
"It's been three years in the making," Medina said. "Members of TGIFrybread have been trying to pull together a poetry reading. We've talked about it in previous years, but this year, I think our writers are feeling comfortable enough where they're saying, 'yes, let's do this!'"
Fifteen talented writers will be reading from their short stories, poems, and other collected works. In addition, a question and answer session will be held after the readings so that listeners can learn more about the readers and their writings.
Free admission for the event would not be possible without the resources of The Loft Literary Center. The Loft is the nation's largest independent literary center.
"At the Loft Literary Center, we have so many resources for writers. I want our Native poets and writers to be comfortable in such a place. I want them to be able to say they are going to The Loft and taking classes," Medina said.
Writers scheduled to read include: Colleen Casey, Ruth Denny, Klara Droessler, Mary Harrold, Richard Johnson, Nick Metcalf, Lois Mineau, Vince Moniz, Simone Reiss, Rebecca Roepke, Patricia VanErt, Sandy White Hawk, Diane Wilson, Marne Zafar, Ardie Medina, and others.
Medina urges the Native community to support Native writers. "Please, come if you can. There are always many events going on in the cities, but with the arts community, there are so many talented artists expressing themselves in so many ways. We need to be the audience that shows our writers, 'you can write! You can do it!'"
For more info, contact Ardie Medina at
The Loft is located at 1011 Washington Avenue, Suite 200, Minneapolis, MN.