The Loft Literary Center to delay Wordplay

Annual writers festival will take 2022 off, reconvene in 2023.

The Rock Bottom Remainders — including literary giants Stephen King, Amy Tan, Dave Barry and other writers — kicked off the Wordplay Festival Friday, May 10, 2019, at First Avenue in Minneapolis. Here Stephen King jams with Greg Iles.

Wordplay, the popular writers festival begun by the Loft Literary Center in 2019 and then forced online for the next two years due to the pandemic, will go on hiatus for 2022.

The one and only in-person Wordplay festival took place over two days in May 2019, attracting about 10,000 people to see Stephen King, Amy Tan and nearly 100 other authors give talks and sign books. But the COVID-19 pandemic pushed the festival to a Zoom-only event the next two years.

With the pandemic not yet in check, the Loft announced today that the festival will not be held this year. It will reconvene in 2023.

Steph Opitz, the founding director of Wordplay, left the Loft in 2021 as did Britt Udesen, the Loft executive director. The new executive director, Arleta Little,will take the helm in March.

Acting director Beth Schoeppler said in a press release, “Given the uncertainty caused by the continuing pandemic, we recognized that the in-person festival we could produce this year would face many compromises — in scale, in reach, and as a result, in spirit. . . . Rather than ask an already exhausted staff to spread themselves thinner, we decided to take a break and then focus with renewed energy to bring the community together for an exciting celebration of books, writers, and readers in Wordplay 2023.”

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