Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Special Event: Old Albany Through the Eyes of William Kennedy

All members of the general public are invited to the following special event:

225th ANNIVERSARY PROGRAM Old Albany through the Eyes of William Kennedy's Fictional Characters

Sunday, March 6 • 2:00pm - 3:30pm

William Kennedy, Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist
Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist William Kennedy, who uses his hometown of Albany, New York, as the inspiration for his work, will present a slide show of historic Albany scenes that are featured prominently in the novels. He will discuss the ways in which his characters inhabit Albany's buildings and streets.
Free with museum admission
Sponsored by the Albany Institute of History & Art in conjunction with its 225th Anniversary and the New York State Writers Institute

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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

NYS Writers Institute Announces Spring 2016 Schedule

The NYS Writers Institute announces a spectacular calendar of free events for the Spring of 2016.

Headliners will include bestselling author and mountaineer Jon Krakauer (Into the Wild, Into Thin Air); Pulitzer-winning playwright and UAlbany alum Stephen Adly Guirgis (Between Riverside and Crazy); pioneering Black female Hollywood director Darnell Martin (Their Eyes Were Watching God); Pulitzer-winning New York Times business reporter Charles Duhigg whose previous book The Power of Habit spent 120 weeks on the Times bestseller list; visionary computer scientist who foresaw the Internet and who teaches computers to write poetry, David Gelernter; New York Times health reporter Sheri Fink, author of the major bestseller about Hurricane Katrina, Five Days at Memorial; 2013 Tony Winner for Best Director, Pam MacKinnon (the revival of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?); major Irish fiction writer Colm Toibin, author of Brooklyn, the basis of the Oscar-nominated film; local son and Pulitzer winner Richard Russo with the new novel, Everybody’s Fool, the sequel to his beloved classic Upstate New York novel, Nobody’s Fool; and much, much more. Visit the links below for more details.

Mark your calendars for the State Author and Poet inauguration ceremony on February 11th at 8PM at Page Hall. The new State Author will be Edmund White, one of America’s finest prose writers, and its leading chronicler of Gay experience. The new State Poet will be Yusef Komunyakaa, Pulitzer winner and one of America’s most influential and most anthologized poets.

In honor of the Pulitzer Centennial (1916-2016), the series will feature seven Pulitzer winners— if you include William Kennedy who will present a special program on Old Albany in March.

For more on the Visiting Writers Series, visit:

For more on the Classic Film Series, visit:

      We hope to see you soon!

For more information, visit us online at or call us at 518-442-5620.

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Friday, September 25, 2015

Her All-Time Favorite Short Stories-- Ann Beattie

Ann Beattie, who visits this coming Tuesday, shares some of her all-time favorite short stories in a New York Times "By the Book" interview:

Among them: “Twilight of the Superheroes” and “Your Duck Is My Duck,” by Deborah Eisenberg; “Way Down Deep in the Jungle,” by Thom Jones; “Oxygen,” by Ron Carlson; “Nettles” and “The Albanian Virgin,” by Alice Munro; “The Fat Girl,” by Andre Dubus; “We Didn’t,” by Stuart Dybek; “Tits-Up in a Ditch,” by Annie Proulx; “Bruns,” by Norman Rush; “Escapes,” by Joy Williams; “Yours,” by Mary Robison; “The Dog of the Marriage,” by Amy Hempel; “The Fireman’s Wife,” by Richard Bausch; “The Womanizer,” by Richard Ford; “Helping,” by Robert Stone; “No Place for You, My Love,” by Eudora Welty; “Are These Actual Miles,” by Raymond Carver; “People Like That Are The Only People Here,” by Lorrie Moore; “Last Night,” by James Salter; “Sarah Cole: A Type of Love Story,” by Russell Banks; “Hunters in the Snow,” by Tobias Wolff; Rebecca Lee’s collection, “Bobcat.”

More in the New York Times:

More about Ann Beattie's 2 events with Peg Boyers this Tuesday, 9/29:

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David Denby's Superlative Review of Detropia in the New Yorker

David Denby reviews Detropia, which will be screened on Friday, 9/25, followed by commentary
and Q&A with director Rachel Grady.

"Detropia, a lyrical film about the destruction of a great American city, is the most moving documentary I’ve seen in years. The city is Detroit, and the film, made by Rachel Grady and Heidi Ewing (who is a native), is both an ardent love letter to past vitality and a grateful salute to those who remain in place—the survivors, utterly without illusions, who refuse to leave. “Detropia” has its share of forlorn images: office buildings with empty eye sockets for windows; idle, rotting factories, with fantastic networks of chutes, pipes, and stacks; a lone lit tavern on a dark block. Yet the filmmakers are so attuned to color and to shape that I was amazed by the handsomeness of what I was seeing. I’m not being perverse: this is a beautiful film."

More in The New Yorker:

More about the event:

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Monday, September 21, 2015

Detroit's Spectacular Decline on Film, Director Q&A

Film director Rachel Grady to speak following screening of her award-winning film DETROPIA, September 25, 2015

Documentary about Detroit was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance

ALBANY, NY (09/10/2015)(readMedia)-- Rachel Grady, codirector of the award-winning film, DETROPIA (2012), a visually-stunning exploration of the disintegration of the city of Detroit that David Denby of the New Yorker called, "the most moving documentary I've seen in years," will speak following a screening of the film on Friday, September 25, 2015 at 7:00 p.m. [note early start time] in Page Hall on the University at Albany downtown campus, 135 Western Avenue, Albany. Free and open to the public, the event is sponsored by the New York State Writers Institute in conjunction with UAlbany's School of Criminal Justice's Crime, Justice, and Social Structure Film Series.


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What is it like to collaborate with Stephen King?

Bestselling horror novelist Peter Straub will interact with audiences via Skype this coming Thursday, September 20th.

Straub will share the stage (on a large screen) with two of his friends at the literary magazine  Conjunctions -- editor and murder mystery author Bradford Morrow, and MacArthur Fellowship-winning poet Ann Lauterbach (who will appear live).

Elizabeth Floyd Mair of the Times Union profiled Straub this past Sunday:

Q: You have written two novels with Stephen King. How does that work? How do you actually write them together? Write alternating chapters? And how does it compare to writing novels on your own?

A: If you must have a collaborator in writing fiction, Stephen King is pretty much your ideal partner. I recommend him, like, highly. The dude is fast, strong, smart and, you know, sort of powerful and sort of humane at the same time, which cannot be said of many. And besides that, he's really funny. Flat-out funny, also grossout funny, a lot of the time.

More in the Times Union:

More about the upcoming event:

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Poetry Prize Named for UAlbany Professor Len Slade

In the Times Union:  Leonard A. Slade Jr., a professor of Africana Studies at the University at Albany, has been honored with a national poetry prize named for him.

The Southern Conference on African American Studies has named its annual poetry prize the Leonard A. Slade Jr. Poetry Prize. It recognizes his literary contributions to The Griot, a journal published by the Houston-based organization since 1979.

The prize will be awarded to the person whom judges decide has published the best poem or poems in the journal that year.

"I'm very humbled," said Slade, who has contributed poetry to The Griot for more than 25 years. He came to UAlbany in 1988 after 22 years on the faculty of Kentucky State University.

More in Paul Grondahl's interview in the Times Union:

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