Thursday, November 29, 2012

New York Times 100 Notable Books

Numerous Writers Institute visitors are featured in this year's edition of the New York Times 100 Notable Books.

Recent visitors (who have discussed the new books featured on the list) include Lauren Groff (Arcadia), Shalom Auslander (Hope: A Tragedy), Junot Diaz (This is How You Lose Her), David Quammen (Spillover), and Robert Caro (Passage of Power).

Other past visitors with new books on the list include Colm Toibin, Nathan Englander, Sherman Alexie, Steve Stern, Richard Ford, Barbara Kingsolver, Dave Eggers, Toni Morrison, John Irving, Louise Erdrich, T. Coraghessan Boyle, Kevin Young and David Nasaw.

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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Writers Institute on Jeopardy! and C-SPAN

Two notable television events for the New York State Writers Institute are coming up that may be of interest:

Our graduate assistant Josh Bartlett will appear on Jeopardy! with Alex Trebek on Thanksgiving Day, 7:30 p.m. on News10.

“The waiting, which began with the tryout in January, extended through the taping in August and then through all the months Joshua Bartlett had to smile and say nothing, is over: The University at Albany graduate student will finally appear Thursday on Jeopardy!”

A special program on the City of Albany, in which the Writers Institute, William Kennedy, Donald Faulkner and The Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza are prominently featured, will air on C-SPAN2's Book TV and C-SPAN3's American History TV on the weekend of Dec. 8 and 9. The program is part of C-SPAN’s LCV (Local Content Vehicle) 2012 Cities Tour of all of America’s state capitals.

"The idea is to look at a city's rich history and unique literary life," said producer Debbie Lamb, whose three-member crew will fan out across the city all week. "We wanted to get outside Washington and highlight medium-sized cities that a national audience normally wouldn't get to see."

Here’s a link to the C-SPAN Local Content page:

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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Lincoln Fans are "Just Nutty"

The TU's Paul Grondahl writes about David W. Blight's current project, a new biography of Frederick Douglass based on newly discovered sources, as well as Blight's opinion of people who are obsessed with Abraham Lincoln. Blight visit Albany tomorrow, 7:30 p.m. at the State Museum.

[Blight] is currently immersed in writing a biography of Frederick Douglass, scheduled to be published by Simon & Schuster in 2013, a subject he has been researching since his doctoral dissertation 23 years ago.

"You have to make a subject an obsession to write seriously about it, although I have moments I'd like to get Frederick Douglass out of my life," Blight said. What spurred him to sign a book contract for a biography of the abolitionist, orator and writer was his discovery three years ago of nine personal scrapbooks kept by Douglass' sons, mostly newspaper clippings that documented the final 35 years of the life of their father, who died in 1895. The scrapbooks are owned by a collector in Savannah, Ga., who made them available to Blight.

"I figured if there can be more than 11,000 books on Lincoln, I can write the fifth or sixth biography of Douglass," Blight said.

He added, "I've only written essays on Lincoln, but I've encountered a lot of Lincoln people and their obsession is crazy. They need a shrink. They're just nutty."

More in the Times Union:

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Civil War Historian David Blight in the Times Union

Civil War historian David W. Blight will visit tomorrow to speak about the Civil War in the American imagination at the New York State Museum, 7:30 p.m., Clark Auditorium.

Paul Grondahl wrote an article about Blight this past Sunday in the Times Union:

"Even after 150 years, the Civil War exerts a powerful and conflicting hold on the collective American imagination unlike any other event in the nation's history."

"David Blight, a professor of American history at Yale University and author of two books on the Civil War that have been called 'memory studies,' will present a lecture titled 'America Divided, Then and Now: The Civil War in our National and Local Imagination.'"


More on the event:

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Thursday, November 1, 2012

Crazy Brave Review

Elizabeth Wilkinson reviews Joy Harjo's new memoir, Crazy Brave, in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. Joy Harjo, Native American performance poet and musician visits Albany today.

"Readers familiar with Joy Harjo's poetry, or, better, who have experienced her live performances, will recognize a familiar cadence and overarching mythic quality in the voice she creates for her newest work, Crazy Brave. In a memoir steeped in her Mvskoke (also known as Muscogee) worldview, Harjo relates narratives of abuse, persistence and reclamation that tap into universal human emotions. Harjo's text resonates for and with readers, whether longtime fans or not; as she asserts, 'A story matrix connects all of us.'"

Read more:

More about the Writers Institute events:

You are invited to attend a free catered reception with Harjo, sponsored by SUNY Press, after the evening event at approximately 9:30 p.m.

Joy Harjo, Native American poet and musician
November 1 (Thursday)
Seminar — 4:15 p.m., Campus Center Room 375, Uptown Campus
Reading — 8:00 p.m., Campus Center Room 375, Uptown Campus

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Taiwanese Film Friday

"This is one of the most gorgeous and maturely composed movies you'll see this year. I've rarely held my breath in anticipation of a director's next shot, each being a small movie unto itself. Working with the cinematographer Liao Ben-bong, Tsai finds a dozen amazing ways to experience a movie, like the scene where we find our intrepid ticket-taker watching ''Dragon Inn" so close that its projected image pours through the perforations in the screen and dots her face. There are so many textures that are exposed in a mere decision about how near to or far from a person to place a camera. You're reminded, in a way that only a great movie can, that such decisions produce an inexplicable magic, and that Tsai Ming-Liang, in addition to being a sterling director, is a superior magician."

Wesley Morris in the Boston Globe reviews Goodbye, Dragon Inn, which will be screened this Friday....

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More on the film series:

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Sandy's Impact on NYC Publishing

From Publishers Weekly:

"The wind and rain may have died down in New York City, but the metropolis is far from recovered. In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, which has left thousands throughout the tri-state without power, many publishers are struggling to get their systems back online, and some are reporting issues at their warehouses, as well."


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