The Literary Arts Institute of the College of St. Benedict

The Literary Arts Institute (LAI) of the College of St. Benedict, serving the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University, was founded in 1997 to foster creative writing, publishing, and interaction between students and writers. The LAI brings nationally recognized authors to CSB/SJU for the year-long Minnesota Street Visiting Writers Series and for the Minnesota Street Creative Writing Workshops, in which three visiting writers extensively mentor undergraduate Manitou Fellows over the course of the residency. 

The LAI also fosters the mentoring of CSB/SJU undergraduates by sponsoring the McNeely Creative Writer in Residence, who provides constructive feedback and advice for undergraduate creative writers.  Additionally, the LAI supports publications and authors via the Sister Mariella Gable Prize which is given each year by the College of St. Benedict for an important work of literature published by Graywolf Press, and encourages the artistry of fine letterpress through its partnership with the Welle Book Arts Studio and independent presses such as Bruno Press.

Please join us for our award-winning authors coming to campus during the  2020-2021 school year!

Maria Dahvana Headley SPRING 2021

Join the Literary Arts Institute and CSB/SJU in welcoming Maria Dahvana Headley, for a virtual Public Reading February 10 at 7 p.m. as well as a Craft Talk scheduled for Tuesday, March 2 at 7 p.m. (online links to be announced closer to the date). 

Maria Dahvana Headley is the New York Times-bestselling and World Fantasy Award-winning author of eight books, including Beowulf: A New Translation (FSG, 2020), which has recently been named by Kirkus, NPR, and The New Statesman as a Book of the Year, and The Mere Wife (MCD x FSG, 2018), named by the Washington Post as one of its Notable Works of Fiction. In addition to her books for adults, she's written two YA novels (Magonia and Aerie, HarperCollins, 2015 and 2016), and an internationally bestselling memoir about dating, The Year of Yes. Headley’s genre-bending short fiction has been shortlisted for the Nebula, Shirley Jackson, and Tiptree Awards, as well as for the 2020 Joyce Carol Oates Prize, and has been anthologized in many year’s bests including Best American Fantasy & Science Fiction, Best American Experimental Writing, and Best American Erotica. A collection will be published in 2021 by FSG. Her essays on gender, chronic illness, politics, propaganda, and mythology have been published and covered in The New York Times, The Daily Beast, Harvard’s Nieman Storyboard, and elsewhere. Her work has been supported by The MacDowell Colony, Arte Studio Ginestrelle, and the Sundance Institute’s Theatre Lab, among other organizations. She's taught writing in the master's program at Sarah Lawrence, and has delivered or will soon deliver masterclasses and lectures at Oxford, Harvard, Stanford, Dartmouth, Northwestern, UCSD, and the University of Pennsylvania, among others. She grew up in the high desert of Idaho on a survivalist sled dog ranch, where she spent summers plucking the winter coat from her father’s wolf. 

See our Upcoming Events page for further information. 

Marie Matsuki Mockett FALL 2020 (view event below)

Student News

The CSB/SJU Literary Arts Institute is excited to share news from two of our first year Manitou Fellows! Zoe Huot-Link and Lindsey Schaffer have had their writing accepted for publication. 

Zoe Huot-Link


Lindsey Schaffer

Zoe Huot-Link, 2020 Minnesota Street Summer Creative Writing Fellow, has been busy publishing her poetry, including one of the poems she read at the Manitou fellowship this summer, Temptress. This poem as well as her essay Words From No-Man's Land is also being published along with another of her poems written in 2019, called Reflection. Both poems have been published in  For Women Who Roar

Zoe also has artwork, Justice for George Floyd which was published in a book called,  Resistance, by Writing for Peace. 

Lindsey Schaffer, 2020 Minnesota Street Summer Creative Writing Fellow, shares her work with CSB/SJU. She notes, As fellows, we took part in many exciting opportunities including virtual visits with editors from Grey Wolf and Coffee House Press. The experience culminated in a portfolio of 30 pages showcasing writing from each genre and a reading presented by The Literary Arts Institute. As a result of this opportunity and my Writing Essays course with Matt Callahan, my essay was accepted for publication through the online magazine Chronically Lit. I am grateful for these opportunities as they have allowed me to develop my practice and find success when submitting to a variety of publications. 

Mary Dana Hinton, Past CSB President

"The written word has come under tremendous pressure in this digital era. Our students now must move deftly between virtual and physical texts, between brief, fleeting messages and powerful, enduring literature. Writing has been at the center of the liberal arts tradition at the College of Saint Benedict since our founding and we remain committed to educating students in the twin arts of reading and writing...The Literary Arts Institute stands as a vital expression of our century-long history of promoting the very finest in scholarship and the arts."