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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Harry Rosenfeld's Memoir Wins Award

Times Union editor-at-large Harry Rosenfeld has won a 2014 Independent Publisher Book Award, or IPPY, for his book, "From Kristallnacht to Watergate: Memoirs of a Newspaperman."

It is the latest in a recent string of honors for Rosenfeld, 84, of Albany, the son of a Polish-born Jewish furrier. Rosenfeld grew up in Berlin and escaped Nazi Germany as a young boy along with his parents and older sister, and emigrated to America in 1939.

The book details Rosenfeld's formative years in the Bronx as a German refugee, his drive to learn English and landing his first job in newspapers as a teenaged shipping clerk at the New York Herald Tribune, where he eventually rose up the editing ranks.

Rosenfeld also describes in depth his role as Metro Editor of the Washington Post during its Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage of the Watergate scandal led by the dogged work of Rosenfeld's reporters, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein.

More from Paul Grondahl in the Times Union:

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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

On Being a Patton

Robert Patton was 12 years old in 1970 as he sat beside his father in a Times Square theater and watched the newly released film "Patton," starring George C. Scott.

"I couldn't understand why my dad was sobbing during the movie," he recalled. "I guess that's the first time I realized I was the grandson of the famous general I was watching depicted on the big screen."

Before seeing "Patton," the adolescent boy only vaguely grasped the historical importance of the famous World World II commander and knew him as a long-dead grandfather seen in faded photographs and heard about in stories at family gatherings.

More from Paul Grondahl in yesterday's Times Union:

Robert Patton visited the Writers Institute on April 29th:

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Friday, May 2, 2014

NY State "Favorite Poem" Essay Winners Announced

Winners of the First New York State “Poetry Unites – My Favorite Poem” Contest Announced

Marie Howe, State Poet of the State of New York under the auspices of the NYS Writers Institute and Corinne Evens, a philanthropist, in coordination with the Academy of American Poets, the New York State Writers Institute, and the New York State Office of Cultural Education, are pleased to announce the winners of the 2014 Poetry Unites contest for the best short essay about a favorite poem.  The winners of the contest, which was open to all New York State residents, are in alphabetical order:
Marita Boulos, literacy program coordinator from Rouse's Point, Clinton County, NY, for her straightforward and eloquent prose that candidly brings John Donne’s “Song” into her village.

Rosanna Oh, from Jericho, Long Island, a student, for her deeply personal response to the humility and precision in Robert Hayden’s “Those Winter Sundays.”

Matthew Powers, a teacher from Syracuse, NY, for the way he realistically invokes the incantatory and communal nature of poetry in Mark Strand’s “Lines for Winter.”

Paul White a healthcare provider from Cheektowaga, NY, for recognizing the talismanic power and healing capacity of poetry in David Ignatow’s “Sunday at the State Hospital.”

The winners will each be featured in short film profiles directed by Ewa Zadrzynska, which will be posted on as well as the State Library, and NYS Writers Institute’s websites, and may be broadcast by public television across the United States. They will be awarded a Certificate of Merit and invited to a celebratory film screening on October 18, 2014 in NYC.
The Jury selection members included:
Marie Howe, State Poet of the State of New York, 2012-2014;
Jeffrey Cannel, Deputy Commissioner, New York State Office of Cultural Education;
Nina Darnton, Author;
Donald Faulkner, Director, New York State Writers Institute;
Edward Hirsch, Poet and Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets;
Robert Pinsky, Poet, former US Poet Laureate and the Founder of Favorite Poem Project;
Ewa Zadrzynska, Writer and Filmmaker.

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Thursday, May 1, 2014

Kill Your Darlings in the New York Times

A. O. Scott reviews the 2013 film Kill Your Darlings, co-written by Austin Bunn, who visits Albany

More about the visit:

From the NY Times:    Long before Allen Ginsberg became the benevolent, bearded Buddha of the counterculture — and one of the most beloved American poets — he was a skinny, anxious Columbia freshman who fell in with a group of literary rebels. John Krokidas’s debut feature, “Kill Your Darlings,” is intent on studying these not-yet-Beats in their fledgling state, as they write the first drafts of their own legends.

More in the Times:

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Austin Bunn, Screenwriter of Kill Your Darlings, Friday

Austin Bunn, screenwriter of the 2013 hit film Kill Your Darlings starring Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter) as Allen Ginsberg, visits the Writers Institute this Friday.


Here's an interview with Bunn, who teaches screenwriting at Cornell, in the Cornell Daily Sun:

The Sun: Tell me a little bit about your movie.

Prof. Austin Bunn: So, Kill Your Darlings is the story of the origins of the beat generation, so it’s about Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac and Bill Boroughs when they were young men, long before they became the people that you know them to be. So if most biopics are about like great men at the peak of their lives, this is about them at point zero of their lives when they’re just kids and they’re still figuring out who they are and trying to become artists.  One critics who reviewed the movie called it Beat Generation: First Class — these are these major American literary figures when they’re just punks, bad students, you know, dorm roommates, when they’re kids.

More in The Sun:

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