New York State Writers Institute

Lois Lowry and Joe Donahue at Page Hall
Sarah LaDuke

Lois Lowry is a leading voice of children’s literature and the author of more than 30 books. She is known for work that explores such complex issues as racism, terminal illness, murder, and the Holocaust. She received the Newbery Medal for both "The Giver" and "Number the Stars." In 2007 Lowry received the Margaret Edwards Award from the American Library Association for her lasting contribution to young adult literature.

This interview was recorded at Page Hall as part of the "The Creative Life Series" created and produced by the New York State Writers Institute, University Art Museum, and UAlbany Performing Arts Center in collaboration with WAMC Northeast Public Radio.

Bob Mankoff / The New Yorker

Bob Mankoff, cartoonist and influential cartoon editor for "The New Yorker," submitted more than 500 of his own cartoons to that publication before getting his first acceptance in 1977. He became cartoon editor in 1997, and is credited with nurturing a new generation of talent before retiring this past April.

He currently serves as the Humor and Cartoon Editor at "Esquire." He is the author of the memoir, "How About Never—Is Never Good for You?: My Life in Cartoons."

Mankoff will be in Albany later today with legendary New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast for a New York State Writers Institute seminar at 4:15 this afternoon in the Standish Room at the Science Library on the uptown University at Albany campus. There will be a reading at 8PM tonight in the Huxley Theatre at the New York State Museum in downtown Albany.

In his new book, Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire: A 500-Year History, NYT bestselling author and co-creator of the Peabody-Award winning public radio show Studio 360, Kurt Andersen, provides a new and comprehensive understanding of our post-truth world and the American instinct in make- believe.

This interview was recorded at UAlbany as part of the New York State Writers Institute symposium: Telling the Truth in a Post-Truth World.

The New York State Writers Institute’s Telling the Truth in a Post-Truth World is a multi-day forum which will explore timely topics critical to an open democratic society including the rise of "fake news" and "alternative facts;" pressures on the First Amendment and a free press; media literacy; information overload; hacking and cybersecurity; and issues of race and class, among others.

Featured appearances will include Kurt Andersen, journalist, editor, radio host, and author of the new book Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire: A 500-Year History; Bob Schieffer, former anchor of CBS Evening News and Face the Nation; Floyd Abrams, the nation's preeminent First Amendment lawyer; Lydia Polgreen, editor-in-chief of HUFFPOST and more than two dozen prominent journalists, editors, historians, and authors. 

Author and journalist Paul Grondahl is the Director of The New York State Writer’s Institute and he joins us along with Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist and founder and Executive Director of the Writers Institute, William Kennedy.

  

Eric Fair, an Army veteran, worked in Iraq as a contract interrogator in 2004. His 2012 Pushcart Prize-winning essay “Consequence,” which was published first in Ploughshares and then in Harper’s Magazine, detailed some of his experiences. Fair expanded the essay into his 2016 book, also titled Consequence. Award-winning journalist and bestselling author Sebastian Junger referred to the memoir as “both an agonized confession and a chilling expose of one of the darkest interludes of the War on Terror.”

Eric Fair will read from his memoir Consequence at 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, April 20 in the Clark Auditorium, New York State Museum, Cultural Education Center in downtown Albany. Earlier that same day, at 4:15 p.m. in Room 375 of the Campus Center on UAlbany’s Uptown Campus the author will hold an informal seminar with audience discussion.  Free and open to the public, the events are cosponsored by the New York State Writers Institute and the Friends of the New York State Library. 

Ruth Gilligan At NYSWI

Apr 13, 2017

Ruth Gilligan is an Irish novelist and journalist. With her literary fiction debut, Nine Folds Make a Paper Swan, she tells the story of Jewish immigrants in Ireland. The narrative gradually weaves together three main characters whose stories are set in 1901, 1958, and 2013 to reveal the unknown history of Ireland’s Jewish community. The three stories revolve around Lithuanian Jewish immigrants who accidentally arrive in Ireland, mistaking “Cork” for “New York;” a teenager who is sent to an asylum in 1950s Ireland because he hasn’t spoken since his bar mitzvah; and a contemporary Irish woman who has emigrated to London and must decide whether or not to convert to Judaism to marry her Jewish boyfriend. 

Gilligan will read from and discuss her novel at 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, April 13 (tonight) in the Huxley Theatre, New York State Museum, Cultural Education Center in downtown Albany. Free and open to the public, the events are sponsored by the New York State Writers Institute and cosponsored by the Friends of the New York State Library.

David Salle is an internationally renowned painter whose work is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, Guggenheim Museum, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Tate Museum and National Galarie of Berlin, among many others.   He also has a long-standing involvement with performance working extensively over the last 25 years with choreographer Karole Armitage, creating sets and costumes for many of her ballets and operas.  Salle is also a prolific writer on art. His new book is How To See.

On Wednesday, March 23, he will be featured in the New York Writers Institute The Creative Life Series in conversation with Joe Donahue, live in the Recital Hall at UAlbany at 7pm. 

Author Diane Ackerman will read from and discuss her 2007 bestseller The Zookeeper’s Wife, in anticipation of the soon-to-be-released major motion picture based on her book at 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday night at the New York State Museum in Albany.

Earlier that same day, at 4:15 p.m. Ackerman will hold a seminar in on the UAlbany Uptown Campus.  

The events are presented by The New York State Writers Institute.

Diane Ackerman is a naturalist and writer of both prose and poetry. The Zookeeper’s Wife has been adapted for film by Focus Features and is scheduled for release on March 31st. The book and film tell the little known true story of a Warsaw zookeeper’s family that saved 300 Jews during the Holocaust.

The Creative Life: A Conversation Series at UAlbany is an initiative of the New York State Writers Institute, UAlbany Performing Arts Center, and University Art Museum, all of which are housed and function on the main campus of the University at Albany. Guests in this inaugural year of the series have included author Joyce Carol Oates and dancer/choreographer Savion Glover who appeared in September and October 2016, respectively.

Regina Carter is a violinist of unbridled artistry and imagination who has brought her exquisite improvisational skills to a broad diversity of styles ranging from classical and soul to African and traditional music of the South. Recipient of a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship for “pioneering new possibilities for the violin and for jazz,” she is widely considered to be the foremost jazz violinist of her generation.

She will discuss her career and musical inspirations with Joe Donahue at UAlbany in a New York State Writers Institute event on February 11th at 4:30 p.m.

She will perform at The Egg that evening at 8 p.m. Her recent work involves adaptations of music by Ella Fitzgerald.

Helen Czerski, physicist and BBC television personality, is the author of the new book Storm in a Teacup: The Physics of Everyday Life, which explores the science of popcorn, coffee stains and other ordinary phenomena and links them to more complex issues including climate change, the energy crisis, and medical innovations.

She will be at UAlbany on February 9 in two events presented by The New York State Writer's Institute.

The New York State Writers Institute will present a 30th Anniversary Screening of the film, Ironweed, tomorrow night at UAlbany's Page Hall.

Adapted for the screen by William Kennedy from his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, Ironweed was filmed at several Albany locations and brought international attention to the Capital Region and earned Oscar nominations for both Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep.

The screening will begin at 7PM and will feature a 6:30 conversation between William Kennedy and Marion Roach.

  Garth Risk Hallberg's debut novel, City on Fire, was named one of the best books of 2015 by The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, The Wall Street Journal, NPR, and Vogue.

City on Fire is set in New York City and spans a seven month period between New Year’s Eve 1976 through the city’s blackouts in July of 1977. The story revolves around a varied web of characters—two estranged heirs to one of the city’s great fortunes; two suburban teenagers involved in Manhattan’s punk scene; a magazine reporter; and a detective—whose lives interconnect around a shooting in Central Park.

Hallberg will read from his bestselling debut novel today at Page Hall on the University at Albany’s downtown campus at 8 p.m. At 4:15 p.m. the author will hold an informal seminar in the Assembly Hall, on UAlbany’s uptown campus. Free and open to the public, the events are sponsored by the New York State Writers Institute

James Lasdun At NYSWI

Nov 15, 2016

It is summer, 2012. Charlie, a wealthy banker with an uneasy conscience, invites his troubled cousin Matthew to visit him and his wife in their idyllic mountaintop house. As the days grow hotter, the friendship between the three begins to reveal its fault lines, and with the arrival of a fourth character, the household finds itself suddenly in the grip of uncontrollable passions. As readers of James Lasdun’s acclaimed fiction can expect, The Fall Guy is a complex moral tale as well as a gripping suspense story, probing questions of guilt and betrayal with ruthless incisiveness.

James Lasdun and Charles Baxter will participate in two events presented by The New York State Writers Institute today.

The Creative Life: A Conversation Series at UAlbany is a new initiative of the New York State Writers Institute, UAlbany Performing Arts Center, and University Art Museum, along with WAMC to converse with artists of national and international prominence about their creative inspiration, their craft, their careers, and the demands of sustaining an artistic practice over time. 

Savion Glover is a Tony award-winning choreographer and considered “the greatest tap dancer to ever lace up a pair of tap shoes.” At the age of 10 he starred in the Broadway musical The Tap Dance Kid, which earned seven Tony Award nominations including Best Musical. At the age of 15, he received a Tony nomination for his role in Black and Blue and, three years later, a Drama Desk Award nomination for his role in Jelly’s Last Jam.

He both starred in and choreographed the musical Bring in ’da Noise, Bring in ’da Funk, for which he received the Tony for choreography. In 2016, he earned another Tony nomination for choreography for Shuffle Along. He also performed the live capture dance moves for “Mumble,” the penguin in the Disney film Happy Feet and its sequel. 

This interview was recorded at Page Hall at UAlbany on October 16th. .  Later that night, Glover premiered his latest work New Soundz, at The Egg in Albany. 

Savion Glover In Albany

Oct 14, 2016
Savion Glover
Lois Greenfield

Savion Glover is a Tony award-winning choreographer and “the greatest tap dancer to ever lace up a pair of tap shoes” (Gregory Hines). At the age of 10 he starred in the Broadway musical The Tap Dance Kid, which earned seven Tony Award nominations including Best Musical. At the age of 15, he received a Tony nomination for his role in Black and Blue and, three years later, a Drama Desk Award nomination for his role in Jelly’s Last Jam.  He both starred in and choreographed the musical Bring in ’da Noise, Bring in ’da Funk, for which he received the Tony for choreography. In 2016, he earned another Tony nomination for choreography for Shuffle Along, or, the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed.

Glover will premiere his latest work New Soundz, at The Egg on October 15 at 8:00 p.m. and earlier that day, he will be in conversation with Joe Donahue at Page Hall on UAlbany's Downtown Campus as a The Creative Life event -- an exciting new initiative presented by the New York State Writers Institute, UAlbany Performing Arts Center, and University Art Museum.

Imbolo Mbue, Cameroonian-American, will read from her highly anticipated first novel Behold the Dreamers, on Thursday, October 6 at 8:00 p.m. in the Recital Hall of the Performing Arts Center on UAlbany’s uptown campus.

Earlier that same day at 4:15 p.m. the author will hold an informal seminar in the Assembly Hall of the Campus Center on the UAlbany uptown campus.

Mbue’s appearance is the first event in a series “The New Americans: Recent Immigrant Experiences in Fiction, Nonfiction, and Film,” which examines the lives of recent immigrant groups in the United States, the challenges they face, and their contributions and achievements.

The events are sponsored by the New York State Writers Institute, University Auxiliary Services, and UAlbany’s College of Arts & Sciences and School of Public Health.

Stephen Burt
Alex Dakoulas

  Stephen Burt, “one of the most influential poetry critics of his generation” (The New York Times), will read from and discuss his new book, The Poem is You: 60 Contemporary American Poems and How to Read Them on Thursday, September 29 at 8 p.m. in the Huxley Theatre, New York State Museum, Cultural Education Center, Madison Avenue in downtown Albany.

Earlier that same day at 4:15 p.m., the author will hold an informal seminar in the Standish Room, Science Library on the UAlbany uptown campus. Free and open to the public, the events are sponsored by the New York State Writers Institute and the Friends of the New York State Library.

Joyce Carol Oates has won the highest honors in American fiction, ranging from the National Book Award to being awarded the National Humanities Medal from President Obama in 2010. She is also a 5-time finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. She has a pair of new books out – one a memoir, one a meditation on writing. 

We spoke to Joyce Carol Oates her as part of The Creative Life: A Conversation Series at The University at Albany. Our conversation was taped in September before a live audience in the University’s Performing Arts Center. 

Joseph LeDoux, world-renowned expert on the neurobiology of fear and anxiety, will discuss his new book, Anxious: Using the Brain to Understand and Treat Fear and Anxiety on Tuesday, September 27 at 8 p.m. in the Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center, on the University at Albany’s uptown campus. Earlier that same day at 4:15 p.m., the author will hold an informal seminar in the Standish Room, Science Library on the uptown campus.

The events are sponsored by the New York State Writers Institute and the Science Library of the University at Albany Libraries.

  Richard Russo is one of America’s most celebrated fiction writers, as well as an acclaimed screenwriter and memoirist. He is one of my favorite guests and favorite writers. The New York Times Book Review has called Russo, “one of the best novelists around.”

He is the author of eight novels, including Mohawk, That Old Cape Magic, and Empire Falls, for which he received the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. His new novel, Everybody’s Fool, is a sequel to his novel Nobody’s Fool, which was made into a 1994 film starring Paul Newman.

In Everybody’s Fool, Russo revisits the upstate New York setting and characters of the highly-praised Nobody’s Fool. He will be speaking at The Odyssey Bookshop in South Hadley, MA on Thursday at 7 p.m. and at the New York State Writer’s Institute on Friday Night at 8 p.m. at Page Hall.

  After two acclaimed story collections, Laura Van Den Berg presents Find Me, her debut novel - a gripping, darkly funny tale of a young woman struggling to find her place in the world.

Her first collection of stories, What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us, was a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection and a finalist for the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award. Her second collection of stories, The Isle of Youth, received the Rosenthal Family Foundation Award for Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Presented by the NYS Writers Institute - Laura will read from Find Me tomorrow at 8:00 p.m. at the Huxley Theatre at the NYS Museum in Albany. At 4:15 p.m., she will hold an informal seminar in the Standish Room in the Science Library on the UAlbany uptown campus.

  Pam MacKinnon is one of America’s most acclaimed theatre directors. In 2013, MacKinnon earned both the Tony Award for Best Direction and the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Director of a Play for the 50th Anniversary Broadway revival of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? In 2010, she won an Obie Award, and was nominated for Tony and Lortel Awards, as the director of Bruce Norris’s Clybourne Park, which received the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the 2012 Tony Award for Best Play.

She is an alumna of the Drama League, Women’s Project, and the Lincoln Center Directors’ Lab, as well as an Associate Artist of the Roundabout Theater Company, executive board member of Stage Directors and Choreographers, and board chair of Clubbed Thumb, a New York City downtown theatre company dedicated to new American plays.

She will deliver the 20th annual Burian Lecture at the University at Albany on Monday, April 18 at 8 p.m. in the Recital Hall of the Performing Arts Center on the University at Albany’s uptown campus. Earlier that same day, at 4:15 p.m., MacKinnon will hold an informal seminar, which will also be held in the Recital Hall of the Performing Arts Center on the UAlbany uptown campus.

Sheri Fink, award winning journalist and nonfiction author, is the keynote speaker for the Disasters, Ethics and Social Justice Conference taking place at the University at Albany on Friday, April 15. She will be speaking and giving the keynote address.

Sheri is a New York Times correspondent and author of bestselling book Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital, about choices made in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The book won the National Book Critic Circle Award and Los Angeles Times Book Prize.

  Darius Clark Monroe, award-winning film director, producer, and screenwriter, will provide commentary and answer questions immediately following the screening of his film, Evolution of a Criminal this Friday in Page Hall on the University at Albany’s downtown campus.

The film reexamines, in strikingly candid fashion, an event from Monroe’s own teenage years: his participation in a 1997 Texas bank robbery and his subsequent incarceration. The film includes a variety of interviews with Monroe’s family members, teachers, and law enforcement officials. Monroe also talks to the two men who robbed the bank with him and stages a reenactment of the crime.

The event is sponsored by the New York State Writers Institute in conjunction with the School of Criminal Justice’s Crime, Justice, and Social Structure film series.

  The New York Times has called our next guest - a “rock star” in the computer world.”

David Gelernter is an expert in the fields of parallel computing, “mirror worlds,” artificial intelligence, and cognitive thinking. His new book is The Tides of Mind, a revolutionary explanation of the phenomenon of human consciousness. In the book, he reminds us that no computer can ever replicate the Human Mind,

Gelernter will be in our region tomorrow for a pair of NYS Writer’s Institute events – a 4:15 Seminar and an 8PM reading – both at the Performing Arts Center on the Uptown Campus at the University at Albany in the Recital Hall.

He is the author of eight books including The Muse in the Machine, about teaching computers to experience emotion and write poetry and Mirror Worlds, a work that predicted the rise of the Internet. In1993 Gelernter was a victim of a mail bomb sent by the “Unabomber,” an experience he recounts in his book; Drawing Life: Surviving the Unabomber.

  Tina Packer is one of the world's leading authorities on Shakespeare's work and the Founding Artistic Director of Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, MA.

She'll be delivering the 19th Annual Burian Lecture on April 13th at SUNY Albany, sponsored by the Department of Theatre and co-sponsored by the NYS Writers Institute. In the lecture she'll discuss her new book, Women of Will: The Feminine in Shakespeare’s Plays

   Historian and biographer Richard Norton Smith is in our region talking about his new book, On His Own Terms: A Life of Nelson Rockefeller. Fourteen years in the writing, the book is being hailed as the definitive biography of the New York governor and U.S. vice president.

Historian Douglas Brinkley described the book as, “one of the greatest cradle-to-grave biographies written in the past fifty years.”

The New York State Writers Institute presents a conversation with Richard Norton Smith at 4:15 this afternoon in the Standish Room in the Science Library at SUNY Albany, and Smith will be speaking tonight at 7:30 about his biography at Page Hall on SUNY Albany’s Downtown Campus at 8PM.

  In 1981 Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Alison Lurie published The Language of Clothes, a meditation on costume and fashion as an expression of history, social status and individual psychology. Amusing, enlightening and full of literary allusion, the book was highly praised and widely anthologized.

Now Lurie has returned with a companion book, The Language of Houses, a lucid, provocative and entertaining look at how the architecture of buildings and the spaces within them both reflect and affect the people who inhabit them.