Thursday, August 20, 2015

New Fall Series!

       The Writers Institute Fall 2015 schedule of events offers a rich variety of genres, from poetry to science writing to fiction to history to memoir to filmmaking and theatre. The upcoming series will even include a food writer—New York Times columnist and bestselling cookbook author Mark Bittman, whose work has been described by PBS as a “bible of basic cooking for millions of Americans.”

       The series will showcase two extraordinary former students at UAlbany—journalist Tom Junod, who holds the all-time record for National Magazine Award nominations (eleven!), and Edward Burns, director, actor, and one of the most prolific and influential independent filmmakers currently at work. Burns will present his new memoir, Independent Ed (2015), about which Matt Lauer of Today said, “Every young, hungry, creative person should view this as a textbook.... It’s a how-to.”
       Other guests will include Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker Rachel Grady; young adult novelist Jason Reynolds, winner of the American Library Association's Coretta Scott King Award; major American short story writer Ann Beattie; Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Adam Johnson; bestselling horror novelist Peter Straub; National Book Award finalist Mary Gaitskill; "Best New Documentary Filmmaker" at the Tribeca Film Festival, Sean Dunne; trail-blazing neuroscience writer Casey Schwartz; Vonnegut biographer Ginger Strand; and major American dramatist Tina Howe.

For more on the Visiting Writers Series, visit:

For more on the Classic Film Series, visit:

      We hope to see you soon!

Read More......

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Kennedy Remembers Doctorow in the Times Union

In Wednesday's Times Union, William Kennedy remembers his friend, E. L. Doctorow, who passed away on July 21, 2015:

"I feel something has gone out of American life with Ed gone and the other great writers we've lost," Kennedy said, mentioning the death of James Salter last month, Peter Matthiessen last year and Norman Mailer and Joe Heller in years past.

"In a certain sense, those were the guys I was talking to when I was writing," he said. "We were having long conversations with each other and the world in our novels."

More in the TU (new subscribers may need to sign up for TU+):

Read More......

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

E. L. Doctorow (1931-2015)

The New York State Writers Institute mourns the loss of E. L. Doctorow, novelist and editor. As an editor at The Dial Press, Doctorow acquired William Kennedy's first novel, The Ink Truck, in 1968.

Doctorow served as New York State Author under the Institute's sponsorship from 1989 to 1991.

Kennedy's 50 year friendship with Doctorow is detailed in a 2014 Times Union article by E. L. Doctorow at the time of his last visit to Albany in March 2014:

The New York Times obituary is here:

Doctorow's State Author page:

YouTube footage from Doctorow's visit here in 2014:

Read More......

Monday, July 13, 2015

William Kennedy and Amy Hempel read at Skidmore

William Kennedy and Amy Hempel read tonight in the Davis Auditorium of Palamountain Hall at Skidmore College, 8PM, Monday, July 13th, as part of the 29th annual New York State Summer Writers Institute reading series.

The event is free and open to the public.

For directions:

For more about the reading series, which runs through July 24:

Upcoming authors include:

JULY 14: Ann Beattie and Tom Healy.
JULY 15: Rick Moody and Lloyd Schwartz.
JULY 16: Nick Flynn and Adam Braver.
JULY 17: Robert Pinsky and Peg Boyers
JULY 20: Cristina Garcia and Wayne Koestenbaum
JULY 21: Russell Banks and Chase Twichell.JULY 22: Laura Kipnis and Jim Miller.
JULY 23: Jamaica Kincaid and Henri Cole.
JULY 24: Paul Harding and Binnie Kirshenbaum.

Read More......

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Apply to the NYS Summer Writers Institute!

The New York State Summer Writers Institute will begin its 28th season at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs.  A few spaces remain for workshop participants.

To apply:

Students may enroll for two weeks (June 29 - July 10 or July 13-24) or for the entire four-week session (June 29-July 24).

Since its inaugural season in 1987, the New York State Summer Writers Institute has drawn students from across the United States as well as from Australia, Brazil, France, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Poland, South Korea and Singapore. Students have ranged from 20 to 99 years of age. The Institute is intended principally for students who have had at least one or two previous workshop experiences. It is definitely not for high school students or for freshman college students. The Institute offers courses for undergraduate and graduate credit, as well as noncredit courses. Approximately 50 percent of the program participants are undergraduate or graduate students.

For questions and concerns, please call, fax, mail, or email:

Program Coordinator, Office of the Dean of Special Programs
Christine R. Merrill
518-580-5593 phone

Read More......

2015 NYS Summer Writers Institute Reading Series

The Summer Writers Institute at Skidmore in Saratoga will run from July 29 through July 24.

All readings are at 8PM in Davis Auditorium, Palamountain Hall, Skidmore College, 815 N. Broadway, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866.

For more information:   518-580-5000,

Picture:  Claire Messud
JUNE 29: Non-fiction reading by Phillip Lopate and fiction reading by Linda Spalding.
JUNE 30: Fiction reading by Francine Prose and fiction reading by Caryl Phillips.
JULY 1: Fiction reading by Michael Ondaajte and poetry reading by Campbell McGrath.
JULY 2: Poetry reading by Charles Simic and fiction reading by Howard Norman.
JULY 3: Fiction reading by Claire Messud and fiction reading by Elizabeth Benedict.
JULY 6: Poetry reading by Carolyn Forche and fiction reading by Victoria Redel.
JULY 7: Poetry reading by Frank Bidart and fiction reading by Rivka Galchen.
JULY 8: Fiction reading by Mary Gaitskill and non-fiction reading by Honor Moore.
JULY 9: Fiction reading by Joseph O'Neill and fiction reading by Joanna Scott.
JULY 10: Fiction reading by Joyce Carol Oates.
JULY 13: Fiction reading by Amy Hempel and fiction reading by William Kennedy.
JULY 14: Fiction reading by Ann Beattie and poetry reading by Tom Healy.
JULY 15: Fiction reading by Rick Moody and poetry reading by Lloyd Schwartz.
JULY 16: Non-fiction reading by Nick Flynn and fiction reading by Adam Braver.
JULY 17: Poetry reading by Robert Pinsky poetry reading by Peg Boyers.
JULY 20: Fiction reading by Cristina Garcia and poetry reading by Wayne Koestenbaum.
JULY 21:Fiction reading by Russell Banks and poetry reading by Chase Twichell.
JULY 22: Non-fiction reading by Laura Kipnis and non-fiction reading by Jim Miller.
JULY 23: Fiction reading by Jamaica Kincaid and poetry reading by Henri Cole.
JULY 24: Fiction reading by Paul Harding and fiction reading by Binnie Kirshenbaum.

Read More......

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

UAlbany launched Pulitzer drama winner Stephen Adly Guirgis

Paul Grondahl interviews Stephen Adly Guirgis in the Times Union:

Guirgis, 50, and his unlikely career trajectory could be viewed as a kind of patron saint for late bloomers, slackers and second chances.

"I wasn't a great student, but it took me more than six years because I kept changing my major," Guirgis said Tuesday by phone from his apartment on Manhattan's Upper West Side. "In my last two years, I became a theater major and things really started to click. At the time, Albany was known as a business school and we were kind of like a weird group, but we were always doing something, creating shows, and we stuck together."

More in the Times Union:

More about Guirgis's 2010 visit to the Writers Institute:

Read More......