Traci Lester will step down as executive director of the Center for Fiction on January 1. Lester joined the Center in March 2021. In announcing her departure, the organization said Lester decided to leave at the end of the year to pursue other opportunities.

Arriving during the pandemic, Lester secured funding that allowed the Center to offer virtual programming and sustain its onsite bookstore, library, and writers studio. She also oversaw the full reopening of the Center in fall 2021, allowing it to return to in-person programming.

“Traci has brought tremendous expertise and dedication to her role at the Center, contributing a great deal to this important cultural organization,” board chair Erroll McDonald in a statement. “We thank her for these efforts and wish her well in her next endeavors.”

The Center will hire an interim executive director to oversee the institution while a search for a new executive director is underway.