Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Hell Before Breakfast in Publishers Weekly

"Acclaimed historian Patton (The Pattons) focuses on the war correspondent persona and the band of bold adventurers who earned their keep on the frontlines in this detailed salute. A first correspondent whose actions provided the template for all who followed, The Times of London's William H. Russell, respected battle, an appreciation that found him in the thick of the bloodiest clashes including the Battle of Bull Run, the Austro-Prussian War, the Franco-Prussian war, and the Russo-Turkish war. In a no-frills, straightforward narrative, Patton describes the backgrounds of the early pioneers, John Russell Young, George Smalley, Holt White, and Henry Villard, who embraced armed conflict and its horrors, while feeding their dramatic observations to The New York Herald and The New York Tribune. The American publications dueled with each other, such as when Smalley opposed sending untried reporters into the battlefield, instead preferring two experienced correspondents dispatched to each army's headquarters. Some excitement is generated with the sections of the wild and brilliant career of American painter-war correspondent Frank Millet, who bravely covered the 1877 war in the Ottoman Empire. Patton's tribute to these battlefield scribes revives an understanding of why these men mattered." --Publishers Weekly

Patton visits today:  http://www.albany.edu/writers-inst/webpages4/archives/patton_Robert14.html

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Monday, April 28, 2014

5 Writing Tips from Dinaw Mengestu in PW

Dinaw Mengestu, who visited us on March 13, offers five writing tips in the latest issue of Publishers Weekly:

1.     Be generous to your characters: kill them, save them, break their hearts and then heal them. Stuff them with life, emotions, histories, objects and people they love, and once you've done that, once they are bursting at the seams, strip them bare. Find out what they look like—how they stand, talk move, when they have nothing left. Now put them back together, fill them once more with life, except now leave enough room for the reader to squeeze their own heart and imagination inside.

More:  http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/tip-sheet/article/62003-5-writing-tips-dinaw-mengestu.html?utm_source=Publishers+Weekly&utm_campaign=25e089a2d2-UA-15906914-1&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_0bb2959cbb-25e089a2d2-304584381

More about Mengestu's visit:  http://www.albany.edu/writers-inst/webpages4/archives/mengestu_dinaw14.html

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NYC Haikus in the NY Times

Marie Howe, NY State Poet under the auspices of the NYS Writers Institute, selected haikus about New York City in a National Poetry Month contest in the  New York Times.

Here are two entries:

On the 6 to Spring
two cops help a tourist whose
map is upside down

Frances Richey, 63, Manhattan

Beware the puddle
of indeterminate depth
that swallows boots whole
Mary M. Suk, 44, Queens

More about Marie:  http://www.albany.edu/writers-inst/webpages4/archives/howe_marie12.html

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Bilingual Authors in the New York Times

Francesca Marciano, who visited us on April 11 is prominently featured in a New York Times article
on authors who choose to write in English instead of their native languages:

Some bilingual writers find it liberating to escape from their native language. “I think that I have fewer tools than if I were writing in Italian, but my voice is freer,” Ms. Marciano said.

More:  http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/26/books/writing-in-english-novelists-find-inventive-new-voices.html?_r=0

More on Francesca's visit:  http://www.albany.edu/writers-inst/webpages4/archives/marciano_francesca14.html

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Robert Patton Tuesday, Grandson of General George Patton

Robert Patton, grandson of the legendary WWII General George S. Patton will present his new nonfiction book, Hell Before Breakfast:  America's First War Correspondents Making History and Headlines, from the Battlefields of the Civil War to the Far Reaches of the Ottoman Empire (May 2014), tomorrow, Tuesday, April 29th.

More about the events:  http://www.albany.edu/writers-inst/webpages4/archives/patton_Robert14.html

Booklist said:  “A fascinating cast of characters…Patton details major conflagrations and social and technological changes amid the gore of war and the prose of reporters of another era.”

More about the book: http://www.randomhouse.com/book/128217/hell-before-breakfast-by-robert-h-patton#praise

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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Sweet Dreams in the L. A. Times


Kenneth Turan reviews Sweet Dreams (to be screened Friday, followed by Q&A with actress and ice cream entrepreneur Jennie Dundas) in the L. A. Times:

'Sweet Dreams' is the story of the first ice cream shop in Rwanda and the remarkable group of female drummers who overcame incredible suffering to make it happen.... The most memorable thing about "Sweet Dreams" is that it allows us to experience the resilience, the capacity for happiness these women retain in spite of all they've been through. There's a lesson there for all of us.

More in the L. A. Times:  http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/movies/moviesnow/la-et-mn-sweet-dreams-20131129,0,180521.story#ixzz2zoKZuLut

More about Friday's event:  http://www.albany.edu/writers-inst/webpages4/archives/dundas_jennifer14.html

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Jennifer Dundas, Stage and Screen Credits

Here's a bio and filmography from the International Movie Database and Wikipedia for Broadway and Hollywood actress Jennifer Dundas (who visits us tomorrow to provide commentary and answer questions about the documentary, Sweet Dreams).

More about Friday's event:  http://www.albany.edu/writers-inst/webpages4/archives/dundas_jennifer14.html

From Wikipedia:

Jennifer Dundas (born January 14, 1971 in Boston, Massachusetts) is an American actress best known for her role as Chris Paradis, Diane Keaton's lesbian daughter, in The First Wives Club. Other selected films include Puccini for Beginners, Legal Eagles, The Beniker Gang and The Hotel New Hampshire. Dundas has guest starred in TV shows such as Desperate Housewives and Law and Order: Criminal Intent. She has also performed in the New York Theatre, including the play Arcadia. She won an Obie (Off-Broadway) Award for her performance in Good as New by Peter Hedges.

From IMDB:

In addition to her film credits, Jennifer Dundas has had a long and distinguished career in the New York theatre. She starred in the American premieres of Tom Stoppard's "Arcadia" opposite Billy Crudup on Broadway, "Iron" and "Further Than The Furthest Thing" at Manhattan Theatre Club. She created the role of Edie in the world premiere of Jules Feiffer's "Grownups" on Broadway, and she originated Maggie in Peter Hedges' "Good As New" opposite John Spencer at Manhattan Class Company, for which she received an OBIE Award. Her acclaimed New York performances include "The Little Foxes" opposite Stockard Channing, "Ah, Wilderness!" with Colleen Dewhurst and Jason Robards, "As You Like It" (Shakespeare In The Park, directed by Mark Lamos), and "A Winter's Tale" with Christopher Reeve and Mandy Patinkin (Public Theatre, directed by James Lapine). Ms. Dundas' other notable performances include Laura in "The Glass Menagerie" opposite Sally Field at the Kennedy Center, Raina in "Arms and The Man" opposite Eric Stoltz at Williamstown, Hermia in Sir Peter Hall's production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" at the Ahmanson, and Dunyasha in "The Cherry Orchard" opposite Annette Bening and Alfred Molina at the Mark Taper Forum. She has played starring roles at Trinity Rep, Yale Rep, Seattle Rep, American Repertory Theatre, South Coast Rep, Long Wharf Theater and many others.

In 1995, Ms. Dundas was honored by American Theatre Magazine as one of six New Faces of The Year. Featured on the cover with her were fellow honorees Billy Crudup, Megan Mullally, Justin Kirk, Rufus Sewell, and Jude Law.

Originally from Newton, MA, Ms. Dundas made her Broadway debut at age ten, and appeared in her first film at age eleven.

In summer '06 she went "home" to Boston to play Kate in "The Taming of the Shrew" at the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company on Boston Common, which was estimated to have been viewed by over 75,000 people in a period of three weeks.
- IMDb Mini Biography By: A. Howard

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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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Gabriel García Márquez (1927 – 2014)

The New York Times obituary:

Gabriel García Márquez, the Colombian novelist whose “One Hundred Years of Solitude” established him as a giant of 20th-century literature, died on Thursday at his home in Mexico City. He was 87.

“One Hundred Years of Solitude” would sell tens of millions of copies. The Chilean poet Pablo Neruda called it “the greatest revelation in the Spanish language since ‘Don Quixote.’ ” The novelist William Kennedy hailed it as “the first piece of literature since the Book of Genesis that should be required reading for the entire human race.”

More in the New York Times:  http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/18/books/gabriel-garcia-marquez-literary-pioneer-dies-at-87.html?_r=0

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Friday, April 11, 2014

Lydia Davis Interviewed on NPR


Lydia Davis, Writers Institute Writing Fellow who will be the featured guest at RPI's 73rd Annual McKinney Writing Contest and Reading (Wed., April 16, free and open to the public) was interviewed last week by NPR's Rachel Martin.

More about Lydia's appearance at Rensselaer:  http://www.albany.edu/writers-inst/webpages4/archives/davis_lydia14.html

From Rachel Martin's interview:

On the moment when she realized that she didn't need to write long to write well
I can date that pretty precisely to the fall of 1973. So I was 26 years old and I had just been reading the short stories or the prose poems of Russell Edson. And for some reason, I was sparked by those. I thought, "These are fun to read, and provocative and interesting, and I'd like to try this." So I set myself the challenge of writing two very short stories every day just to see what would happen.

On how she knows when to end a story
I think I have a sense right in the beginning of how big an idea it is and how much room it needs, and, almost more importantly, how long it would sustain anybody's interest. And that's sometimes been a problem with a story when it's sort of offered me two ways that it could go, and I have to choose one or the other.

More on the NPR website:  http://www.npr.org/2014/04/06/299053017/lydia-davis-new-collection-has-stories-shorter-than-this-headline

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Lynne Tillman's New Book in the New Yorker

What Would Lynne Tillman Do? (April 2014) is a new collection of essays and criticism by UAlbany English Professor Lynne Tillman.

Here's a profile of Tillman from the introduction to the new book by Irish writer Colm Tóibín posted on the New Yorker blog:

"She was wearing black; she had a glass of whiskey on the rocks in her hand. Her delivery was dry, deadpan, deliberate. There was an ironic undertow in her voice, and a sense that she had it in for earnestness, easy emotion, realism. She exuded a tone which was considered, examined and then re-examined. She understood, it seemed to me, that everything she said would have to be able to survive the listeners’ intelligence and sense of irony; her own intelligence was high and refined, her sense of irony knowing and humorous. I had not come across anyone like her before...."

More: http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/books/2014/04/on-lynne-tillman.html

Here's a review from Bookforum:

I’ve long admired Lynne Tillman’s criticism. Her writing is founded on curiosity and deep feeling. It’s precise and imaginative, devoid of jargon or cliché. It’s the opposite of what I dislike in criticism, and I know I’m not alone in my appreciation of what she does. “What she does” is hard to pinpoint, though, and the title of her new collection is a good-natured fake-out for all of us who might look to her as a model for how to live—or just how to write.

More:  http://www.bookforum.com/inprint/021_01/13002

And here's some assorted praise:

"Lynne Tillman has always been a hero of mine — not because I 'admire' her writing, (although I do, very, very much), but because I feel it. Imagine driving alone at night. You turn on the radio and hear a song that seems to say it all. That's how I feel...:" — Jonathan Safran Foer

"Lynne Tillman's writing is bracing, absurd, argumentative, and luminous. She never fails to exhibit her unique capacities for watchfulness and astonishment." — Jonathan Lethem

"Like an acupuncturist, Lynne Tillman knows the precise points in which to sink her delicate probes. One of the biggest problems in composing fiction is understanding what to leave out; no one is more severe, more elegant, more shocking in her reticences than Tillman." — Edmund White

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Francesca Marciano in Lina Wertmuller's "Seven Beauties"


Friday's guest Francesca Marciano starred in a number of Italian films prior to achieving success as a fiction writer and screenwriter.

Her credits include the virgin Carolina [pictured here, billed as "Francesca Marciani"] in Lina Wertmüller's outrageous 1975 film Seven Beauties, which was nominated for four Oscars.

Other film roles include the second-billed "Francesca" in Pupi Avati's The House of the Laughing Windows (1976) and Tutti defunti... tranne i morti (1977); and the Italian TV miniseries, La riva di Charleston (1978).

More about Marciano:  http://www.albany.edu/writers-inst/webpages4/archives/marciano_francesca14.html

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Julia Glass on Francesca Marciano

Last week's guest, National Book Award winner Julia Glass [pictured here], contributes a praise blurb to this Friday's guest's new story collection, The Other Language:

“I loved every single one of these affecting, suspenseful, and sublimely crafted stories. It’s clear that Francesca Marciano is worldly as well as wise, yet what she’s surprisingly insightful about is the hazardous nature of worldliness itself. Because our modern lives are so mobile, our ways of communicating so refined, we risk coming to believe that the borders defining class, culture, and gender are somehow more permeable. Think again, she tells us in these nine cautionary tales—the best new collection I’ve read in years.” —Julia Glass

Francesca Marciano visits tomorrow:

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The Other Language in Oprah's O. magazine

Amy Fine Collins of O. magazine reviews the new story collection by Francesca Marciano who visits Albany tomorrow:

“Seductive, cosmopolitan . . . In The Other Language, romance is the cure for ennui. Marciano’s heroines take the kind of risks most of us have been conditioned to avoid: they reconnect with lost lovers, migrate to faraway lands, and forge liaisons beyond the bounds of their race, culture, and class. Marciano is an apt guide to these exotic lives, [and] she engages us intimately with them . . . Frustrated communication is a recurrent theme, as is the quest for the elusive person or place that allows one to feel at home. In Marciano’s nuanced emotional universe, a foreigner is likely to consider herself an outsider, no matter how long she’s lived elsewhere—especially if she still dreams in her mother tongue.”

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

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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Francesca Marciano on the Pantheon Blog

Francesca Marciano, Italian fiction author who writes in English (except for major award-nominated screenplays, which she writes in Italian), talks about her new story collection, The Other Language, on the Pantheon Books blog.

What is your experience with “other languages”? What, do you think, happens to you when you speak a language not your native one?
The book’s epigraph is from a Derek Walcott poem: “To change your language you must change your life.” Learning a new language is an act of transformation; it means delving into another logic, a new mental construct. We become different people when we speak another language, and that can be exciting, rejuvenating—but often frightening, a bit like walking in the dark. In some way by speaking a new language we commit an act of betrayal towards our mother tongue, our past identity. But we also sometimes can, in moving beyond our comfort zones, find a new kind of freedom, and I think a writer can find great freedom in a language that is not his or her own.
Marciano visits the Writers Institute on Friday, April 11th:  http://www.albany.edu/writers-inst/webpages4/archives/marciano_francesca14.html
If you enjoy reading our blog, please sign up for email updates about NYS Writers Institute events and literary news. It’s easy. Just type your email address in the little white box at the right.We appreciate your interest!
Happy Reading, The NYS Writers Institute Staff.

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"Honey" film reviewed in the LA Times

Sheri Linden of the Los Angeles Times reviews the new Italian film Honey [Miele], coscripted by Francesca Marciano, who visits the Writers Institute to talk about the film (an official selection at Cannes) this coming Friday:

Whether she's trysting with her married lover or helping other people die, the title character of Honey is a fascinating and complex figure, and Jasmine Trinca inhabits the role with a detached intensity that's thoroughly compelling.

The Italian film — the assured feature-directing debut by actress Valeria Golino, still best known to American audiences for Rain Man — achieves the rare feat of addressing euthanasia head-on without devolving into a dramatized treatise or a button-pushing issue movie.

More in the L. A. Times:  http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/movies/moviesnow/la-et-mn-honey-review-20140314,0,2797373.story#axzz2yPD5PNdZ

More about our events with Francesca Marciano:  http://www.albany.edu/writers-inst/webpages4/archives/marciano_francesca14.html

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Monday, April 7, 2014

Peter Matthiessen (1927 - 2014)

Peter Matthiessen, major American writer and former New York State Author under the auspices of
the New York State Writers Institute (1995-1997) has died at the age of 86.

Here's the New York Times obituary:   http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/06/books/peter-matthiessen-author-and-naturalist-is-dead-at-86.html?_r=0
More about Matthiessen as State Author appointed by then-Governor Mario Cuomo:

Picture:  Peter Matthiessen, Grace Paley, William Kennedy and UAlbany President Karen Hitchcock at the Writers Institute's 1995 New York State Author and Poet awards ceremony.

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Christopher Durang to Play Vanya

Broadway comedy king Christopher Durang, who visited us on March 10, will perform in a regional production of his 2013 Tony Award winning play.

From the New York Times:

The playwright Christopher Durang, who wrote “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike,” is set to star as Vanya in a coming production at the Bucks County Playhouse in New Hope, Pa., the producers announced. The comedy, which takes place in Bucks County and won a Tony last year for best play, is scheduled to run from July 17 to Aug. 10. Marilu Henner (“Taxi”) has been cast as Masha, a role played by Sigourney Weaver in the Off Broadway and Broadway productions. Vanya was originally played by David Hyde Pierce. The production is to be directed by Sheryl Kaller (“Mothers and Sons”).

More about Durang's Albany visit:  http://www.albany.edu/writers-inst/webpages4/archives/durang_chris14.html

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Francesca Marciano in the New York Times

Michiko Kakutani reviews the new story collection, The Other Language (2014), by acclaimed Italian author and Oscar-nominated screenwriter Francesca Marciano, who visits the Writers Institute this coming Friday.

"Francesca Marciano’s magical, fleet-footed stories leap around the globe, from Rome to New York to Mombasa, from a small Greek village to a remote island off the coast of Tanzania to a fortress on the banks of the Narmada River in India. She has an uncanny ability to conjure specific places...."

More in the New York Times:   http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/31/books/no-safe-harbor-for-travelers-in-the-other-language.html

More about Marciano's visit:  http://www.albany.edu/writers-inst/webpages4/archives/marciano_francesca14.html

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Friday, April 4, 2014

A Play About August Strindberg's Daughter

Karin Smirnoff (pictured here) and her relationship with her overbearing father, August Strindberg (1849-1912), Swedish playwright and towering figure of world literature, are the subjects of a new play by theatre historian Eszter Szalczer. The play will be performed as a staged reading by seven accomplished local actors. Free and open to the public.

Dramatic Reading of the new play How It Really Happened with playwright Eszter Szalczer, followed by Q&A with playwright, director and cast

April 8 (Tuesday)
Dramatic Reading – 7:00 p.m. [Note early start time], Science Library 340, Uptown Campus

Directed by W. Langdon Brown, with cast members Janet Hurley Kimlicko, Steve Madore, Gary Maggio, Patrick McKenna, Barbara Richards, Eileen Schuyler and Don Paul Shannon

Whose story is the true story? How can one grasp control of the narratives of one’s own life? Working on her new book, writer Karin Smirnoff (1880-1973) struggles to come to terms with her past in an attempt to challenge the notorious stories of her overbearing father, the world-renowned author and dramatist August Strindberg.

Eszter Szalczer is a dramaturg, theatre historian, and scholar of modern drama. Her recent book August Strindberg (2010) focuses on the Swedish playwright as one of the most radical innovators of the modern stage. It was when working on her previous book, Writing Daughters: August Strindberg's Other Voices (Norvik Press 2008) that Eszter became interested in exploring the creative processes of writing, the role of memory, the fine line between fiction and non-fiction, and how the same story could be told differently from several different perspectives.

For more information contact the Writers Institute at 442-5620, or visit us online at www.albany.edu/writers-inst, or on our blog at nyswiblog.blogspot.com.  

Also, please sign up for regular  updates from our blog: http://feedburner.google.com/fb/a/mailverify?uri=WritersInstituteBlog&loc=en_US

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Stephen Kinzer visits Monday to present "The Brothers"

From the Washington Post, November 14, 2013:

Stephen Kinzer’s “The Brothers”tells the story of two siblings who achieved remarkable influence, serving as secretary of state and director of the Central Intelligence Agency in the Eisenhower administration. It is a bracing and disturbing study of the exercise of American global power.

Kinzer, a former foreign correspondent for the New York Times, displays a commanding grasp of the vast documentary record, taking the reader deep inside the first decades of the Cold War. He brings a veteran journalist’s sense of character, moment and detail. And he writes with a cool and frequently elegant style. The most consequential aspect of Kinzer’s work is his devastating critique of John Foster Dulles and Allen Dulles, who are depicted as jointly responsible for acts of extreme geopolitical myopia, grave operational incompetence and misguided adherence to a creed of corporate globalism.

More in the WP:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/book-review-the-brothers-on-john-foster-dulles-and-allen-dulles-by-stephen-kinzer/2013/11/14/a1ddf9ba-3683-11e3-be86-6aeaa439845b_story.html

More about Kinzer's visit:  http://www.albany.edu/writers-inst/webpages4/archives/kinzer_stephen14.html

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Silent Film Tonight: The Docks of New York

This masterpiece by Josef von Sternberg belongs to the last years of silent cinema (1928), the period in which the form, facing extinction, achieved perfection. There's no waste, no excess, in Sternberg's production: the melodramatic plot (a ship's stoker rescues a girl from suicide, marries her, and takes the rap for a minor crime she is accused of) is so familiar and so desultorily presented that it's barely perceptible, and the acting is minimal, confined to ritual gestures endlessly repeated. Sternberg suppresses direct emotional appeal to concentrate on something infinitely fine: a series of minute, discrete moral discoveries and philosophical realignments among his characters. --Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader, 2013

April 4 (Friday)
Film screening — 7:30 p.m., Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue, Downtown Campus

Directed by Josef von Sternberg
(United States, 1928, 76 minutes, b/w, silent with live musical accompaniment by Mike Schiffer)
Starring George Bancroft, Betty Compson, Olga Baclanova

In this 1928 silent masterpiece directed by Josef von Sternberg, a steamboat stoker working on the New York City waterfront saves a suicidal woman who has jumped off a pier into the briny water below. The selfless act changes his life forever.

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Thursday, April 3, 2014

New Event-- Staged Reading of a New Play

A play by Eszter Szalczer

Followed by Q&A with playwright, director and cast
Directed by W. Langdon Brown
A staged reading with cast members Janet Hurley Kimlicko, Steve Madore, Gary Maggio, Patrick McKenna, Barbara Richards, Eileen Schuyler and Don Paul Shannon

April 8 (Tuesday)
Dramatic Reading – 7:00 p.m. [Note early start time], Science Library 340, Uptown Campus

Whose story is the true story? How can one grasp control of the narratives of one’s own life? Working on her new book, writer Karin Smirnoff (1880-1973) struggles to come to terms with her past in an attempt to challenge the notorious stories of her overbearing father, the world-renowned author and dramatist August Strindberg.

Eszter Szalczer is a dramaturg, theatre historian, and scholar of modern drama. Her recent book August Strindberg (Routledge Modern and Contemporary Dramatists, 2010) focuses on the Swedish playwright as one of the most radical innovators of the modern stage. It was when working on her previous book, Writing Daughters: August Strindberg's Other Voices (Norvik Press 2008) that Eszter became interested in exploring the creative processes of writing, the role of memory, the fine line between fiction and non-fiction, and how the same story could be told differently from several different perspectives.

Langdon Brown is a Fellow of the Writers Institute, UAlbany English professor and director of Authors Theatre. He has worked as a producer, arts administrator, director and dramaturge in the London Fringe, Off-Broadway, regional theatre, and on a variety of university campuses.


Janet Hurley Kimlicko. A member of Actor’s Equity, she has performed in Chicago, Dallas, Austin, Houston, and New York City. She was last seen in How Water Behaves (CapRep), The Little Foxes, Arms and the Man and Ah! Wilderness with Theater Voices, and Right You Are (Theater East).

Steve Madore received his MA in Theatre History and Dramatic Criticism from the State University of New York at Albany and has completed several years of coursework as a doctoral student in the Department of Theatre and Drama at Indiana University, Bloomington.

Gary Maggio, semi-retired, works part-time as a standardized patient at Albany Medical College. Recently he's acted in productions of Harvey, The Boys Next Door, and Our Son's Wedding (Curtain Call Theatre) Proof and Faith Healer (Albany Civic Theater), and The Vanek Plays (Theater Voices).

Patrick McKenna has performed on Capital Region stages for the past 30 years. Favorite roles include Tom in The Glass Menagerie; Valmont in Les Liaisons Dangereuses; Algernon in The Importance of Being Earnest; the Narrator in Dylan Thomas' Under Milkwood and Dylan Thomas in A Child's Christmas in Wales.

Barbara Richards is a graduate of the University at Albany's Theatre Department. She has had a career in theatre and arts administration in New York and Albany, and has worked extensively as an actress with Curtain Call Theatre in Latham for the past 15 years

Eileen Schuyler is delighted to return to UAlbany, where she taught acting for nine years. She has performed at Soho Rep, Studio Arena Theater, Fulton Opera House, Capital Rep, Stageworks/Hudson, Proctors Theater, HRS Showcase Theatre, Queens Theater in the Park, NYSTI, Hubbard Hall and the Kennedy Center. 

Don Paul Shannon began his acting career in Philadelphia doing Shakespeare, Chekhov, O'Neill, and DeGhelderode. At Lasalle Summer Theater he had starring roles in several musicals: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, My Fair Lady, Allegro, and more.

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