Last night (Oct. 6) was a big night for Boise’s literature community.
The Cabin board announced that Kurt Zwolfer, education specialist at the Idaho State Historical Museum, will be the literary organization’s next executive director. The Cabin board announced his appointment at a swanky fundraising dinner on the Morrison Center’s stage prior to the opening of its Readings & Conversations lecture series.
The sold out-evening featured a lively conversation between Boise’s Tony Doerr and Spokane-based novelist Jess Walter, whose book “The Zero” earned him a National Book Award finalist slot.
This was in Doerr’s first public appearance since winning the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for his novel “All the Light We Cannot See.” Mayor Dave Bieter introduced the writers, and awarded Doerr the Key to the City to honor his achievement.
Doerrr and Walter each wrote a short story using prompts from The Cabin’s youth summer writing camps. Each of the young writers came on stage to read an excerpt from their work before Doerr and Walter read their hysterical and far ranging pieces.
It was such a joy to watch and listen to these two world-class literary minds share a bit of their process and their friendship. It was one of those moments when you appreciate the level of access we often get by living in Boise.
Zwolfer, an avid reader, will start at The Cabin on Oct. 19, and will work with The Cabin’s new board president Marshall Garrett. Zwolfer replaces Britt Udesen who departed The Cabin in September to head The Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis.
Originally from Chicago, Zwolfer is not from the literary world, but brings a background in history and nature, and a reputation for building collaboration and consensus.
Most recently he has been at the Idaho Historical Society where he ran its education programs and helped curate exhibits, such as the Dia de los Muertos at the Historical Museum. He also has worked as an interpretive specialist at Bruneau Dunes State Park.
In 2013, Zwolfer received the Mayor’s Award for Excellence in History Education.