Friday, June 13, 2014

Ruby Dee (1922-2014)

The Writers Institute mourns the passing of Ruby Dee, pioneering stage and screen actress, and civil rights activist.

Ruby Dee visited the Writers Institute in March 2005 where she delivered the 9th Annual Burian Lecture, funded by the Jarka and Grayce Susan Burian Endowment, and cosponsored by the Department of Theatre.

From the New York Times:

"Ruby Dee, one of the most enduring actresses of theater and film, whose public profile and activist passions made her, along with her husband, Ossie Davis, a leading advocate for civil rights both in show business and in the wider world, died on Wednesday at her home in New Rochelle, N.Y. She was 91."

More about her visit:

Some obituaries:

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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Eleanor Taylor Bland Crime Fiction Writers of Color Award

A call for applications....
The Eleanor Taylor Bland Crime Fiction Writers of Color Award is a one-time grant of $1,500 for an emerging writer of color.

An unpublished writer is preferred, although publication of one work of short fiction or academic work will not disqualify an applicant. This grant is intended to support the recipient in activities related to writing and career development. These activities include workshops, seminars, conferences, and retreats; online courses; and research activities required for completion of the work.

The grant is administered by Sisters in Crime, a 3,600-member organization of mystery authors, readers, publishers, agents, booksellers and librarians. Sisters in Crime was founded by Sara Paretsky and a group of women at the 1986 Bouchercon in Baltimore. In 2014 the group invites members to: “SinC Up With Great Crime Writing! Our mission is to promote the ongoing advancement, recognition and professional development of women crime writers.”
Picture: Mystery writer Eleanor Taylor Bland (1944-2010).

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Thursday, June 5, 2014

"Roscoe" Opera at Skidmore this Sunday

From today's Times Union:
Opera troupe workshops adaptation of William Kennedy's 'Roscoe'

Amy Biancoll, Times Union
The souls peopling William Kennedy novels have always had an operatic streak about them: tragically flawed, larger than life, haunted by death (or dead already). And they have issues If, as W.H. Auden observed, opera is "an imitation of human willfulness," then the classic Kennedy protagonist is prime meat for operatic adaptation.

Consider Roscoe Conway, the complex and fleshy political insider at the heart of "Roscoe," a new opera scheduled for an Opera Saratoga workshop performance at 2 p.m. Sunday at Skidmore College. Adapted from the Kennedy novel by Albany composer Evan Mack and Tennessee-based librettist Joshua McGuire, the opera is about half-written: Only the 80-minute Act I will be performed in Sunday's unstaged concert rendering, sung by members of the company's Young Artist Program. "It's quite wonderful. It's thrilling to listen to it, and to hear these voices when they start taking off," Kennedy said. Opera struck him as a "very good form for Roscoe himself. As an individual, he has kind of an operatic life, and he is a creature of extreme habits and proclivities. And he reaches great heights as a politician and as a human being, and he has a great rise and fall of his emotions."

More in the Times Union:

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Monday, June 2, 2014

Hollis Seamon wins "Ippy" Gold Medal

Hollis Seamon, this year's featured guest author at the New York State Summer Young Writers Institute for high school-aged writers, tied for the 2014 Independent Publisher Book Award ("Ippy") Gold Medal for Short Fiction for her story collection, Corporeality.

More 2014 "Ippy" results here:

Students at the Young Writers Institute will read Seamon's 2013 young adult novel, Somebody Up There Hates You, about a 17-year-old battling cancer.

Booklist said, "Seamon’s first young-adult novel is a tender, insightful, and unsentimental look at teens in extremis. It brings light to a very dark place, and in so doing, does its readers a generous service."

More about Hollis Seamon:

More about the New York State Summer Young Writers Institute:

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Friday, May 30, 2014

Josh Bartlett wins Garber Prize

Congratulations to Writers Institute Grad Assistant Josh Bartlett for winning the Spring 2014 Eugene K. Garber Prize for Short Fiction for his story, "French Twist."

Photo:  Josh with Alex Trebek during his appearance on Jeopardy! in 2012 (the show aired on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 22nd).

The prize is endowed by Professor Emeritus Gene Garber of the UAlbany English Department:

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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Passing of Maya Angelou (1928-2014)

From UAlbany's Facebook page:

UAlbany is saddened by the passing of Maya Angelou. She captivated audiences through the vigor and sheer beauty of her words and lyrics.

We were fortunate to have her on the UAlbany campus in April 1998 where she spoke about her extraordinary life and read from her numerous works.

Share your favorite Maya Angelou quote in the comments. #RIP #MayaAngelou

More at:

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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Free Events in Saratoga This Summer

Jamaica Kincaid

Jamaica Kincaid! Joyce Carol Oates!  William Kennedy! Robert Pinsky!  Marilynne Robinson! Russell Banks! And many more….

You are invited to attend the NYS Summer Writers Institute’s free public readings at Skidmore in Saratoga this summer, every weekday from June 30th to July 25th, cosponsored by Skidmore College and the New York State Writers Institute.

All Readings are at 8:00 p.m. in Davis Auditorium, Palamountain Hall
815 North Broadway, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
Free and open to the public

Fiction reading by Elizabeth Benedict and poetry reading by Campbell McGrath.

Fiction reading by Francine Prose and non-fiction reading by Nicholas Delbanco.

Poetry reading by Frank Bidart and fiction reading by Jim Shepard.

Fiction reading by Russell Banks and poetry reading by Chase Twichell.

Fiction reading by Howard Norman and poetry reading by Jane Shore.

Poetry reading by Rosanna Warren and fiction reading by Cristina Garcia.

Non-Fiction reading by Phillip Lopate and fiction reading by Victoria Redel.

Poetry reading by James Longenbach and fiction reading by Joanna Scott.

Poetry reading by Louise Gluck and fiction reading by Caryl Phillips.

Fiction reading by Joyce Carol Oates.

Poetry reading by Carolyn Forche and fiction reading by Amy Hempel.

Fiction reading by Marilynne Robinson and poetry reading by Peg Boyers.

Fiction reading by Danzy Senna and nonfiction reading by Honor Moore.

Fiction reading by William Kennedy.

Poetry reading by Robert Pinsky.

Poetry reading by Mark Strand and fiction reading by Binnie Kirshenbaum.

Poetry reading by Charles Simic and fiction reading by Adam Braver.

Fiction reading by Rick Moody and poetry reading by Tom Healy.

Fiction reading by Jamaica Kincaid and poetry reading by Henri Cole.

Fiction reading by Paul Harding and poetry reading by Carl Dennis.

For more information:
NYS Summer Writers Institute
Office of the Dean of Special Programs


NYS Summer Writers Institute
Office of the Dean of Special Programs
Skidmore College
815 North Broadway
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866

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