The Mall’s Just Not for Shopping Anymore

The Mall attracts millions of visitors annually and is now looking to attract a writer-in-residence.

You go for the shopping, the food and now to write.

To celebrate its 25th anniversary, the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota, is looking for a writer-in-residence to spend five days in the mall, writing about the comings-and-goings of the many people who populate the mall on a daily basis, over 40 million visitors annually.

“In 2017, Mall of America celebrates its 25th birthday. As part of this special celebration, we think it’s crucial to capture how much we’ve evolved over the course of the last 25 years,” the mall said on the writer-in-residence information page. “Rather than do it ourselves, we’re giving that job to a gifted writer.”

The mall offers ample of creative space for anyone from journalists to poets to screenwriters.

Writers of all backgrounds and levels of expertise are welcome to apply. The first round of applications will be accepted until midnight, March 10. Applicants are required to write a short 150-word essay on what they would write if they won the prize.

25 semifinalists will be chosen from this original set of applicants. The second application will ask them to elaborate on their idea, in 500 to 800 words.

The winning prize is the following: the writer-in-residence will stay at the mall for five days, writing about the mall through their own unique perspective. The winner will receive a $400 mall gift card for food and drink, $2,500 as a stipend for their troubles and the mall will pay for their stay at a local hotel. If not local, writers will also be flown into Minnesota at the expense of the mall.

While it may seem unusual, MOA is not the first institution to implement a writer-in-residence program. Universities, libraries and even Amtrak has writers-in-residence. The purpose is to gain a new perspective of the mall, through the artistic outlook of a writer.

“Our goal is to come away from this project with an evocative story about Mall of America that represents the contemporary guest experience after 25 years of evolution as a leading retail and entertainment establishment,” MOA said in a press release.

To apply, visit the application page.

If that isn’t enough incentive for you to apply, consider these facts about MOA:

  1. 8,700+ weddings have been performed at the mall, most through their very own Chapel of Love.
  1. The mall used to house a high school. Mall of America Class of 2017, anyone?
  1. The mall stays a comfortable 70 degrees annually, without the use of air conditioning or central heat. This temperature is maintained through body heat, the skylights and lighting fixtures.
  1. The mall generates $2 billion in economic revenue annually
  1. Rather than use pesticides to protect the Mall’s 30,000+ plants, the Mall released 72,000 ladybugs.
  1. 170,000+ Legos have been lost at the LEGO play area.
  1. MOA set the record for most Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in one area, at 836.
  1. 4 out of 10 visitors who visit the Mall are tourists.

(Facts from Buzzfeed and the Mall of America website.)

For more information on the writer-in-residence program and the Mall itself, visit MOA’s website.

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