The Twin Cities boasts two fine academic programs for writers who want to hone their craft and get an advanced writing degree: Hamline University and the University of Minnesota. But for the writing dilettante or toe-dipper; or for someone who simply doesn't have the time, money, or desire to pursue a degree; or even for the experienced writer who already has a degree in hand, the Twin Cities is lucky to have a place like the Loft. Incorporated in 1975, it's the nation's largest independent literary center, offering hundreds of classes for adults, teens, and children. The Loft covers all the standard genres — poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction — teaching classes in the creative process, children's lit, young adult lit, playwriting, screenwriting, graphic storytelling, travel writing, and even blogging. Want to take things to the next level? The Loft will train you in the business side of writing. Classes are taught by agents, editors, and working and sometimes award-winning writers. Classes are affordable and offered on a sliding-fee scale based on household income. A community like this is what keeps so many great writers in Minnesota.