Top Five Minnesota Literary Cities

Great literature creates a sense of place through words. Readers see the surroundings, smell the scents, and hear the noise of the setting through detailed descriptions and character speech. To create these vivid scenes, writers often draw from their surroundings when they sit down to hash out a book.

The following are locations with strong literary connections:

St. Paul

Writers including F. Scott Fitzgerald, Vince Flynn, Garrison Keillor, and Kate DiCamillo are some of the writers who have called St. Paul home. This capital city which sits on the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers provides ample locations for inspiration. The Victorian houses and Cobblestone streets along and near Summit Avenue offer a historical backdrop for novel-writing. The Mississippi River running through downtown inspires adventurous story lines. The neighborhood coffee shops and restaurants throughout the city offer comfortable corners for jotting down notes or catching up on reading.

Sauk Centre

Sauk Centre is the second Minnesota city on the list. Readers visit this city to explore the home of Sinclair Lewis, a writer and playwright who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1930. The Sinclair Lewis museum, located in Lewis’s childhood home, is located near the downtown of this friendly Midwest town. While Lewis wrote his novels after his time in Minnesota, his Sauk Centre haunts still draw literary fans to this day.


Across the river from St. Paul, is Minneapolis, home to writers such as Charles Baxter, Kevin Kling, and many more. Minneapolis also has a vibrant community of publishers and literary organizations such as The Loft Literary Center, where writers can grow in their craft. This cosmopolitan city of lakes has vibrant meeting spaces for young writers to share ideas and seasoned writers to pen their latest novels.

Little Falls

Novelist Louise Erdrich was born in Little Falls, Minnesota. Her books focus on Native American topics that were inspired by her own Native American ancestry. Little Falls, located in central Minnesota, is a city full of history. As one of the oldest cities in the state, its downtown area is lined with historic buildings. Murals throughout town depict the city in the past as well as in the present. The community sits along the Mississippi river and is close to nearby Charles A. Lindbergh state parks.


Mankato is a large community tucked into the rolling hills along the Minnesota and Blue Earth rivers. Writer Maud Hart Lovelace and journalist Marvel Cooke called Mankato home. Maud Hart Lovelace’s Betsy-Tacy series included stories about her childhood in Mankato. In 1980, the Maud Hart Lovelace Book Award was established and is awarded to books based on readers’ feedback.

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