John Gray
7 p.m. Tuesday, December 6
In conversation with Paul Grondahl

Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue
Downtown UAlbany Campus, Albany NY 12203
Books will be available for sale. A signing will follow the talk.

Free parking. Free and open to the public

John Gray, award-winning columnist, author, and news anchor discusses his novels, his dogs, and his life as a broadcast news anchor and writer in a conversation with NYS Writers Institute Director Paul Grondahl. His most recent novel, Chasing Rome, is the third book in his trilogy, following Chasing Manhattan (2021) and A Manchester Christmas (2020). His previous books include Sweet Polly Petals (2020), Keller's Heart (2019), God Needed a Puppy (2018). 

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"It started 35 years ago with an idea I had to bring the world's greatest writers to UAlbany. We began a remarkable literary conversation that continues today." -- William Kennedy, 2018

Since 1983, the NYS Writers Institute has welcomed more than 2,000 world-renowned and award-winng writers, poets, newsmakers, and filmmakers to the University at Albany. 

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Albany Film Festival’s short film contest.

Six categories, including Best Overall Student Short Film, with cash prizes. More info at www.albanyfilmfestival.org

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Albany Film Festival 2023



Call for submissions:  Albany Film Festival’s short film contest.

Six categories, including Best Overall Student Short Film, with cash prizes. More info at www.albanyfilmfestival.org

Selected Shorts logo
7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 29, 2023
Main Theatre, UAlbany Performing Arts Center
1400 Washington Avenue, Albany NY 12222

Tickets: $15 general public /  $10 seniors & UAlbany faculty-staff-students.
Day of show: $20 general public • $15 seniors & UAlbany faculty-staff-students.
For more information, contact Performing Arts Center: (518) 442-3995.

The hit public radio and podcast series returns to Albany with a program of dazzling and original short fiction performed by actors of stage and screen! In honor of their 35th anniversary, Selected Shorts commissioned 35 brand-new stories by literary luminaries, and they’re bringing a special selection to the University at Albany in celebration of this unique and delightful series. Our greatest actors transport us through the magic of fiction — one short story at a time.

Stay tuned to for updates on the featured stories and cast.


Presented in collaboration with the UAlbany Performing Arts Center with support from the University at Albany Foundation and University Auxiliary Services.

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A Tear in the Sky movie poster
7 p.m. Friday, August 26
Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue
Downtown UAlbany Campus, Albany NY 12203

Free parking. See map.

"A Tear in the Sky," directed by Caroline Cory, explores the field of Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (known formerly as UFOs)— a subject that is generating considerable mainstream interest since the release of previously classified U.S. government videos, and the creation by the Pentagon of a UAP Task Force in August 2020.

Starring William Shatner of Star Trek and celebrity physicist Michio Kaku, the film follows a team of military personnel and scientists— including two University at Albany physics professors, Kevin Knuth and Matthew Szydagis— as they attempt to re-capture, in real time, evidence of UFOs and other space anomalies, using state-of-the-art, military-grade equipment and technology.

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Tuesday, September 6
4:30 p.m. Craft Talk with Asha Lemmie, Multi-Purpose Room, Campus Center West Addition
7:30 p.m. Conversation with Asha Lemmie and Bohan Phoenix about cultural admiration, understanding, sharing and respect among Blacks and Asians, Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center
Both at University at Albany, 1400 Washington Avenue, Albany NY 12222

Asha Lemmie is an Afro-Latina fiction writer who is passionately interested in Japanese culture. Her novel, Fifty Words for Rain (2020), begins during World War II, and follows the life of a biracial woman, Noriko “Nori” Kamiza, the child of a married Japanese aristocrat and her African American GI lover. A New York Times bestseller and Editors’ Choice, the book was a selection of the Good Morning America Book Club. Elisabeth Egan said in a New York Times review, “Asha Lemmie’s sprawling, thought-provoking debut novel…. will give you 50 reasons to cancel the rest of your day.”

Bohan Phoenix 博涵, born in Hubei, China, is a New York rap artist who came to the U.S. at age 11. Inspired by rap music as a young immigrant, he began collaborating with the Chinese hip-hop group Higher Brothers in 2017.

During the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests, he led the call for Asian rap artists to become more active in the movement. This year, he was tapped to star in Van’s footwear brand campaign in China, and performed a half-time show for the Brooklyn Nets in March. His debut summer 2022 album, Cities Are for Fools, has been described as an “ode to New York.”

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Asha Lemmie Photo credit Lenka Drstakova and Fifty Words for Rain book cover
Bohan Phoenix Photo credit Joe-Kim
2022 Book Festival logo

We are encouraged by how many communities have embraced this annual event, which has taken root and grows each year.”

-- NYS Writers Institute Director Paul Grondahl

Tuesday, September 20
4:30 p.m. Craft talk
7:30 p.m. Reading and conversation

Both events in the Multi-Purpose Room, Campus Center West Addition
University at Albany, 1400 Washington Avenue, Albany NY 12222

AndreaBarrett, NaturalHistory book cover. Photo credit Barry Goldstein

Andrea Barrett, major American fiction writer, won the National Book Award for the short story collection, Ship Fever (1996), and was a Pulitzer finalist for Servants of the Map: Stories (2002).

One of Lit Hub’s “Most Anticipated Books of 2022,” her newest collection is Natural History (Sept. 2022), featuring six stories set in a small community in central New York, and spanning the decades between the Civil War to the present day. Writing in advance praise, author Karen Russell called Barrett “A genius-enchantress,” and Kirkus called the book, “More superb work from an American master.”

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Zaina Arafat, You Exist too Much book cover
Thursday, September 22
4:30 p.m. Craft talk
7:30 p.m. Reading and conversation

Both events in the Multi-Purpose Room, Campus Center West Addition
University at Albany, 1400 Washington Avenue, Albany NY 12222

Zaina Arafat, LGBTQ Palestinian-American journalist and fiction writer, is the author of the debut novel, You Exist Too Much (2020), which received the 2021 Lambda Literary Award. In her online newsletter, The Audacity, Roxane Gay named it her favorite book of 2020. The novel follows the life of a young Palestinian American woman caught between cultural, religious, and sexual identities as she endeavors to lead an authentic life. O, The Oprah Magazine called it, “A provocative and seductive debut,” and said, “Novels like these don’t exist enough.”

Cosponsored by the UAlbany Honors College.

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Dahlma Llanos-Figueroa and A Woman of Endurance book cover
Thursday, Sept. 29
4:30 p.m. Craft talk
7:30 p.m. Reading and conversation

Both events in the Multi-Purpose Room, Campus Center West Addition
University at Albany, 1400 Washington Avenue, Albany NY 12222

Dahlma Llanos-Figueroa’s new novel, A Woman of Endurance (2022), illuminates a little-discussed aspect of history — the Puerto Rican Atlantic Slave Trade. The story centers on the life of Pola, an African captive used as a breeder to bear more enslaved people. Author Cristina García hailed it as “a new classic of Caribbean literature.”

Born in Puerto Rico and raised in the South Bronx, Llanos-Figueroa employs fiction to explore the riches and sufferings of Afro-Latina women’s history. Her first novel, Daughters of the Stone (2009), a PEN/Bingham Prize finalist, followed the experiences of five generations of Afro-Puerto Rican women.

In association with the University at Albany’s Celebration of Latin American History Month.

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Kwame Alexander. Photo credit Portia Wiggins Photography
7 p.m. Thursday, October 6
Page Hall
University at Albany Downtown Campus 

135 Western Avenue, Albany NY 12203

Masks are strongly encouraged. Free parking. See map.

Kwame Alexander, a household name among readers of children’s and YA literature, is the New York Times bestselling author of 35 books, including The Undefeated, winner of the Caldecott Medal and Newbery Honor, and The Crossover, winner of the Newbery Medal.

His new novel is The Door of No Return (Sept. 2022), the story of Kofi, an 11-year-old boy who is taken from the normal childhood and vibrant life of his West African village into the brutality of the Translatlantic Slave Trade. Rick Riordan (Percy Jackson series) called it, “Absolutely spellbinding... An unforgettable journey to be treasured and shared across generations.” 

Major support and funding provided by the Carl E. Touhey Foundation.

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Michelle Alexander
7 p.m. Tuesday, October 11
The College of Saint Rose
Registration is closed.
Event will be livestreamed on The College of Saint Rose YouTube channel

A watch party will be held on the Saint Rose campus in the Interfaith Sanctuary, 959 Madison Avenue in Albany, for those that would like to view the talk in a group.

Michelle Alexander is the author of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness (2010), a book that spent nearly 250 weeks on the New York Times Bestseller List. It was named one of the most important books of the 21st century by Entertainment Weekly‚ Slate‚ The Chronicle of Higher Education‚ Literary Hub, Book Riot‚ and Zora.

The book portrays mass incarceration as a method of reinforcing a racial caste system. Ibram X. Kendi said, “This bestseller struck the spark that would eventually light the fire of Black Lives Matter.”

Presented in partnership with The College of Saint Rose and UAlbany's Office of Diversity & Inclusion.

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George Serafeim and Purpose + Profit book cover
1 - 6 p.m. Friday, October 14
Conversation with Massry Center for Business Building
University at Albany 
1400 Washington Avenue, Albany NY 12222

Registration required

Join UAlbany’s School of Business for The High Peaks Impact Awards, an award program to honor regional businesses for excellence in the embodiment of Environmental Social Governance (ESG) practices. This afternoon symposium will also include a keynote address from George Serafeim (author of Purpose and Profit: How Business Can Lift Up the World) and panel discussions to share best practices as to how ESG benefits businesses and their stakeholders in multiple ways. 

For more information on the schedule of events and to register, visit www.albany.edu/business/esg-symposium

LucySante and Low Life book cover
7 p.m. Tuesday, October 18
Conversation with WAMC’s Joe Donahue
Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center
University at Albany
1400 Washington Avenue
Albany NY 12222


Lucy Sante is a transgender, Belgian-born nonfiction writer, art critic, and cultural commentator of astonishingly wide interests, including the Beastie Boys, early photography, and the history of NYC reservoirs. She’s also “one of the handful of living masters of the American language, as well as a singular historian and philosopher of American experience” (Peter Schjeldahl of the New Yorker). As Luc Sante, she is best-known for Low Life (1991), about crime and entertainment in Old New York, 1840-1919, and her collected essays, Kill All Your Darlings: Pieces 1990-2005 (2007). A second collection, Maybe the People Would Be the Times, came out in 2020. She wrote about her recent gender transition in the February 2022 issue of Vanity Fair

Major support for The Creative Life is provided by the University at Albany Foundation and University Auxiliary Services.

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, this series features leading figures from a variety of artistic disciplines in conversation with WAMC’s “Roundtable” host Joe Donahue about creative inspiration, craft, and career.

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Gregory Maguire Author Photo (c) Andy Newman copy 2.jpg
7:30 p.m. Thursday, October 20
Page Hall
135 Western Avenue

Downtown UAlbany Campus, Albany NY 12203

Free parking. See map.

Read an interview with Gregory Maguire published in the Times Union on Sunday, Oct. 16
Wicked book cover

Gregory Maguire is the beloved author of Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West (the basis of the hit Broadway musical), a multimillion-copy bestselling writer, and a proud University at Albany alum (Class of 1976).

The talk will be moderated by Jo Page, writer and columnist for the Times Union.

He will discuss his writing and his new Wicked spinoff, The Oracle of Maracoor (Oct. 2022), the second installment in his new trilogy, Another Day, which follows the adventures of Elphaba’s green-skinned granddaughter, Rain, in the strange land of Maracoor, across the ocean from Oz. The first installment, The Brides of Maracoor, appeared in 2021. People magazine called it, “exquisitely crafted,” and Buzzfeed said, “this latest Oz tale is as satisfying a read as the Wicked Years quartet.”

In 2018, Gregory established The Maguire Family Endowment at the NYS Writers Institute to provide financial support to host authors throughout the year. The $500,000 endowment is in honor of his family and, in particular, his parents John Maguire, Helen Gregory Maguire, and Marie McAuliff Maguire.

Cosponsored by the UAlbany Honors College, Young Writers Project and World of Writing LLC.

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Caleb Gayle, credit Jeremy Castro and We Refuse to Forget book cover
Tuesday, October 25
Craft Talk — 4:30 p.m.
Multi-Purpose Room, Campus Center West Addition, University at Albany
Conversation — 7:30 p.m.
Huxley Theatre, NYS Museum, 222 Madison Avenue, Albany NY 12202


Caleb Gayle is the author of We Refuse to Forget: A True Story of Black Creeks, American Identity, and Power (2022), a landmark work that presents the extraordinary story of the Creek Nation in Oklahoma, a Native tribe that two centuries ago both owned slaves and accepted Black people as full citizens. In praise of Gayle’s writing, Kiese Laymon said the book, “reminds readers, on damn near every page, that we are collectively experiencing a brilliance we’ve seldom seen or imagined.” Jacqueline Woodson called it, “An important part of American history told with a clear-eyed and forceful brilliance.”

Gayle also wrote the much-discussed May 25, 2021 cover story for the New York Times Magazine on the 100th Anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre.

Co-sponsored by the New York State Education Department’s Office of Cultural Education.

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4:30 p.m. Thursday, October 27
Film screening
Recital Hall, UAlbany Performing Arts Center

1400 Washington Avenue, Albany NY 12222

Being Hmong Means Being Free-387-242.jpg

Documentary (57 minutes) highlights the history, culture and identity of the Hmong immigrants who have settled in the United States between 1975 and the early 1990s and explores how dramatically life has changed for Hmong in the space of a generation. The documentary looks at Hmong life in this country as seen through the eyes of the program host, 17 year-old Lia Vang. 

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Being Hmong Means Being Free documentary

Display of Paj ntaub (Hmong story cloths or flower cloths)
On display from October 24 – November 4, UAlbany Performing Arts Center Lobby
In cooperation with the Hmong Cultural Center in Minnesota, the PAC will display Paj ntaub, an integral part of Hmong culture for centuries, which depicts history, traditional life in Laos, Hmong New Year, folk tales and neighboring people. 

5:30 p.m. Friday, October 28, 2022
Page Hall
135 Western Avenue
Downtown UAlbany Campus, Albany NY 12203

Free and open to the public
See map with parking info

Join us for our our 4th edition of “Telling the Truth.”

This year’s conversations will address attacks on truth, free speech, a free press, and the First Amendment, as well as propaganda, misinformation, hacks, deep fakes, conspiracy theories, and other ongoing threats to our democracy that crystallized in the Jan. 6 insurrection.

Books will be for sale and panelists will do a signing following each panel discussion.

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Panel 1: TRUTH IN MEDIA -- 5:30 p.m.

Moderated by Paul Grondahl: the director of the New York State Writers Institute. An award-winning reporter for the Albany Times Union for more than 30 years, he is also the author of Mayor Corning: Albany Icon, Albany Enigma.


Brian Stelter is the former chief media correspondent for CNN Worldwide and anchor of "Reliable Sources," a weekly examination of the world’s top media stories, from 2013 until earlier this year.
He is the author of the New York Times bestseller, Hoax: Donald Trump, Fox News and the Dangerous Distortion of Truth (2020). Rachel Maddow called it, “A Rosetta Stone for stuff about this presidency that doesn’t otherwise make sense to normal humans.” His first book, Top of the Morning: Inside the Cutthroat World of Morning TV, inspired the Apple TV+ drama "The Morning Show." Stelter is also the executive producer of the 2020 HBO documentary "After Truth: Disinformation and the Cost of Fake News."


Nandini Jammi is a leading truth-in-broadcasting activist and co-founder of of the advertising watchdog agencies Check My Ads Institute and Sleeping Giants— advertising watchdog organizations that are committed to making hate and bigotry unprofitable in American media. She has been behind some of the most high-profile social media campaigns in the U.S. since 2016, including efforts to defund far-right website Breitbart News, and movements to persuade advertisers to abandon various Fox News programs such as The O’Reilly Factor and Tucker Carlson Tonight. Business Insider named her one of 23 industry leaders “fixing” digital advertising. Sleeping Giants received the Gold Lion at the 2019 Cannes International Festival of Creativity, and the People’s Voice Award at the 2019 Webby Awards.


Moderated by Rosemary Armao, a public affairs commenter on WAMC Northeast Public Radio in Albany, retired UAlbany Journalism Program Director, and an adjunct professor of journalism at Rensselaer. Armao teaches writing, reporting, investigative techniques, disinformation and the media, and ethics. 


Devlin Barrett, who grew up in Troy, NY, is a Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post reporter who covers the FBI and Department of Justice. His new book is October Surprise: How the FBI Tried to Save Itself and Crashed an Election (2020), a dark true-life thriller about the FBI’s investigation into the use of a private email server by Hillary Clinton’s staff during the 2016 election. Barrett was part of a Washington Post team that won a Pulitzer Prize in 2018 for National Reporting, for coverage of Russian interference in the US election. In 2017, he was a co-finalist, together with colleagues at the Wall Street Journal, for two different Pulitzers— Feature Writing and International Reporting.


Jonathan Lemire, is the host of MSNBC’s morning news show, "Way Too Early," and the White House bureau chief of Politico. His 2022 New York Times bestseller is The Big Lie: Election Chaos, Political Opportunism, and the State of American Politics After 2020. In a starred review, Publishers Weekly said, “A trenchant analysis… This dispatch on the state of American politics hits the bull’s-eye.”
Prior to joining Politico, Lemire served as White House reporter for The Associated Press during the Trump and Biden administrations. He also covered Donald Trump’s first presidential campaign, including the candidate’s June 2015 Trump Tower campaign kickoff, and nearly 100 rallies in 2016.

The many guests featured in previous editions of “Telling the Truth” included Norman Mailer,Maureen Dowd, Tracy Kidder, and Doris Kearns Goodwin in 1991; Amy Goodman, Bob Schieffer, Carol Anderson and Floyd Abrams in 2017; and Amy Chua, George Will, John Lithgow, and Elif Shafak in our virtual COVID-year edition in 2020.

Lonnie Bunch, A Fool's Errand book cover
7 p.m. Tuesday, November 1
Ceremony/Conversation with host, Lincoln scholar Harold Holzer
NYS Museum, Cultural Education Center, 222 Madison Avenue, Albany NY 12202

Registration required 
In-person and livestreaming options available

Lonnie G. Bunch III is the 14th Secretary of the Smithsonian, overseeing 21 museums, 21 libraries, the National Zoo, numerous research centers, and several education units and centers. A widely published author, Bunch has written on topics ranging from the Black military experience, the American presidency, African American history in California, diversity in museum management and the impact of funding and politics on American museums.

His most recent book, A Fool’s Errand: Creating the National Museum of African American History and Culture in the Age of Bush, Obama, and Trump, chronicles the making of the museum that would become one of the most popular destinations in Washington. 
Visit www.nysarchivestrust.org for more information.


7:30 p.m. Thursday, November 3
UAlbany Performing Arts Center 
Advance tickets: $15 general public / $10 students, seniors & UAlbany faculty-staff
Day of show tickets: $20 general public / $15 students, seniors & UAlbany faculty-staff
For tickets, visit www.albany.edu/pac and look for Prime Performances.

The Latehomecomer

This Literature to Life stage adaptation of Kao Kalia Yang’s memoir of the same name follows her journey from a quiet student struggling to speak English while facing racial discrimination to a self-empowered young woman claiming her voice to tell the untold story of her people, the Hmong. Gaosong Heu, an accomplished Hmong actress, performs this powerful tale that tells a universal story of immigration through the specific lens of this ancient culture inextricably bound to the history of the war in Vietnam.

“It’s a story about family and identity, trauma and struggle, dislocation and assimilation, and what it means to be American,” she said. “There’s a running theme throughout the book, which is the idea that you can choose your family, you can choose who you become and you can choose the people you take on this journey with you. Every time I come back to it, the lines, the words and the stories make so much more sense.”

Heu portrays 15 different characters throughout the course of the show. She draws from her background as a performance artist, musician, vocalist and educator, and also incorporates her 15 years of training in Western classical music as well  as her training in traditional styles of Hmong folk music." From the Albany Times Union, Sunday, Oct. 30, 2022.

Presented by the UAlbany Performing Arts Center in collaboration with the NYS Writers Institute and made possible, in part, by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature. Additional support provided by the University at Albany Foundation, Office of Intercultural Student Engagement, University Auxiliary Services, and the Alumni Association through the Grandma Moses Fund.

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Elisa Albert, Human Blues book cover
7:30 p.m. Wednesday, November 9
Multi-Purpose Room, Campus Center West Addition
University at Albany
1400 Washington Avenue, Albany NY 12222

Elisa Albert’s new novel is Human Blues (2022), the story of Aviva Rosner, a successful singer-songwriter who desperately wants a child, though she struggles with infertility and is extremely wary of assisted reproductive technology. The New York Times reviewer called it, “[An] explosively hip, funny and heartfelt book,” and said it, “takes off with magnificent speed and never lets up.” Writing in Gawker, Lily Meyer said, “Few contemporary authors embody feminine swagger like [Elisa Albert].”

Her previous books include the novels, After Birth (2015) and The Book of Dahlia (2008), and the story collection, How This Night Is Different (2006).

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Maira Kalman Wednesday, November 16-- EVENT CANCELED

Carolyn Forche, In the Lateness of the World book cover
Thursday, November 17
4:30 p.m. Craft talk
7:30 p.m. Reading and conversation

Both events in the Multi-Purpose Room, Campus Center West Addition
University at Albany, 1400 Washington Avenue, Albany NY 12222


Carolyn Forché, won the 2021 American Book Award and was a Pulitzer Prize finalist for her new collection, In The Lateness of the World, which NPR called, “An undisputed literary event.” The new collection furthers “a poetry of witness,” a tradition that Forché helped to define—a clear-eyed examination of war, imprisonment, torture and slavery. Hilton Als said in the New Yorker, “History—with its construction and its destruction—is at the heart of In the Lateness of the World. . . . one feels the poet cresting a wave—a new wave that will crash onto new lands and unexplored territories.”

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7 p.m. Wednesday, November 30
A conversation with WAMC's Joe Donahue
Campus Center West Auditorium
University at Albany, 1400 Washington Avenue, Albany NY 12222

First 100 attendees will receive a free copy of Back to the Prairie, courtesy of the NYS Writers Institute. 
No book sales at the event. A signing will take place following the conversation.
Melissa Gilbert, Back to the Prairie book cover
Little House on the Prairie

Melissa Gilbert endeared herself to America as Laura Ingalls on the classic TV show, "Little House on the Prairie" (1974-1983). She starred subsequently in numerous made-for-TV movies and served two terms as president of the Screen Actors Guild (2001-2005).


In 2018, she and her husband Timothy Busfield moved to a rustic cottage on 14 acres in the Catskills, where they grow their own food and raise chickens. With self-deprecating humor, she recounts her quest to lead a simpler life— with all of its unexpected mishaps and challenges— in the new book, Back to the Prairie: A Home Remade, A Life Rediscovered (2022). Publishers Weekly called the book, “utterly entertaining.”

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