The Loft, the renowned literary center in downtown Minneapolis, announced this morning that Britt Udesen will be its new executive director. Jocelyn Hale, the Loft’s current executive director, announced in January that she would be leaving the organization in August. Udesen is now set to take over the post on September 21.

With 18 employees, a $2 million budget, and 1,650 contributing individual members, the Loft serves thousands of writers and readers throughout the region with classes, workshops, readings, conferences, and other literary-themed events. It also dispenses awards and grants to writers at all stages of their careers, and manages for the State of Minnesota the NEA/Poetry Foundation-sponsored Poetry Out Loud competition for high school students.

A Minnesota native who graduated from Macalester College in 1998, Udesen is returning to the Twin Cities after spending the past decade in Boise, Idaho, most recently as the executive director of the Cabin, a literary center with five employees and a $500,000 budget. Before the Cabin, Udesen served as the director of education and humanities at the Sun Valley Center for the Arts in Idaho.

Udesen will be officially introduced to Minnesota’s literati in late August, when Hale and she will criss-cross the Twin Cities on August 21-22, during the Loft’s “40 for 40” series of celebrations. The event will involve 40 parties and readings hosted both by local authors and other Loft supporters taking place at a variety of venues from private homes to public performance spaces.

"I'm excited to start my tenure at the Loft in such a unique way," said Udesen. Noting that her hiring coincides with an anniversary for the organization, she added: "It's especially fun because I get to celebrate the Loft's 40th birthday the same year I'm celebrating my own. Hopefully, that means more cake and ice cream."