Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Judaic Studies Annual Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) Lecture
Anne Frank: From Diary to Book
Monday, April 28, 7PM, Page Hall, UAlbany Downtown Campus

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Lessons Learned from Pain: Akhil Sharma

Susan Comninos interviews Akhil Sharma (who visits today) in the Times Union:

"Indeed, if Family Life is read as nonfiction ("Almost everything in the novel is true," Sharma's been quoted as saying), it might be considered a parenting guide on how not to cope. Viewed as a novel, however, it's both a tragicomic and ultimately accepting immigrant's tale."

More in the Times Union:  http://www.timesunion.com/living/article/Lessons-learned-from-pain-5410864.php

More about Sharma's visit:  http://www.albany.edu/writers-inst/webpages4/programpages/vws.html#sharma

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Monday, April 21, 2014

"I don't want to be called an immigrant novelist" -Akhil Sharma

Akhil Sharma (who visits tomorrow) in a Salon interview this past Sunday:

You’ve said that you want this book to be “useful.” Useful how?
Because the subject matter of this book is so important to me – illness, children in difficulty, the Indian immigrant community – I care a great deal about being able to provide comfort to people who are in a similar situation to the one that I and my family were in.

That seems like a very old-fashioned way to think about a novel.
It is, this idea that we can read books for guidance, or to not be alone. It is how I read books growing up and it is, to some extent, how I still read books. I think that books are fundamentally educational. For example, books teach us to practice loving. We read about imaginary characters and we learn to sympathize with strangers. This is an amazing thing.

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New Event: Richard Ravitch Wednesday

Former lieutenant Governor Richard Ravitch
April 23 (Wednesday)
Discussion — 1:00 p.m., Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government
411 State Street, Albany
Former New York State Lieutenant Governor Richard Ravitch will discuss his efforts to advance New York State Government through some of its most troubled times in a candid discussion with WCNY News & Public Affairs Director Susan Arbetter. The event is being held in connection with the upcoming release of Ravitch’s memoir, So Much To Do: A Full Life of Business, Politics, and Confronting Fiscal Crises.

More:  http://www.albany.edu/writers-inst/webpages4/archives/ravitch_richard14.html

Free and open to the public.

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New Event: Fossieck Lecture Wednesday


Department of History: Janice D. and Theodore H. Fossieck Lecture
April 23, 2014 12:30 PM
Science Library - Standish Room
Free and open to the public.

Featured speaker is Karolyn Smardz Frost who will discuss "Planting Slavery in Nova Scotia's Promised Land, 1759-1783." Frost's landmark biography of fugitive slaves Thornton and Luci Blackburn, I've Got a Home in Glory Land: A Lost Tale of the Underground Railroad (2007) has won wide recognition and numerous prizes including Canada's top literary prize. Professor Frost is an archaeologist, historian, educator and award-winning author who specializes in the study of African American/Canadian transnationalism.  She holds a BA in Archaeology, a Master’s in Classical Studies and a PhD in the History of Race, Slavery and Imperialism.  She is the Senior Research Fellow for York University’s Harriet Tubman Institute.  She was appointed the Canadian Bicentennial Visiting Professor at Yale University for the 2012-2013 academic year.

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Friday, April 18, 2014

Akhil Sharma in The Paris Review

"It’s been almost fifteen years since Akhil Sharma published his first novel, An Obedient Father.
This terrible, improbably funny book—about a single mother forced to share an apartment with the father who raped her as a child—won Sharma a PEN/Hemingway prize, a Whiting Award, and praise from the likes of Jonathan Franzen and Joyce Carol Oates. (I remember because it was the first novel I had the honor of editing.) Now Sharma is back with Family Life, the tale of an Indian American boy coming of age in the shadow of a family disaster. "

"It too is terrible and improbably funny, and is excerpted in this week’s New Yorker. With acid, deceptively artless prose and a faultless ear for dialogue, Sharma strips his characters bare from page one and dares us to love them in their nakedness. I cannot think of a more honest or unsparing novelist in our generation." —Lorin Stein, The Paris Review

More about Sharma's events in Albany:  http://www.albany.edu/writers-inst/webpages4/archives/sharma_akhil14.html

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Akhil Sharma in the NY Times Book Review

Here's a review of Akhil Sharma's new novel, Family Life from the front page of the New York Times Book Review.

“Where is Ajay? What was the point of having raised him?” an elderly woman grumbles to her husband about their adult son in the opening pages of Akhil Sharma’s semi-autobiographical new novel, “Family Life.” This book, deeply unnerving and gorgeously tender at its core, charts the young life of Ajay Mishra as he struggles to grow within a family shattered by loss and disoriented by a recent move from India to America. “Family Life” is equally the story of Ajay’s parents, whose response to grief renders them unable to find the space in which to cherish and raise him.

More in the Times:   http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/06/books/review/akhil-sharmas-family-life.html?_r=0

Sharma visits the Writers Institute this coming Tuesday, April 22nd:

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