Thank you for considering The New York State Writers Institute—one of America’s premiere sites for celebrating the art of the written word—as a venue for your literary event.
We promise our guests grand treatment and enthusiastic promotion of their work. We are renowned for our hospitality, good literary conversation, fine dining and a relaxed atmosphere.
Our Visiting Writers Series has featured both newly published and Nobel and Pulitzer-Prize winning authors. More than 2,000 artists have visited the Institute since Saul Bellow’s inaugural reading in the Spring of 1984. (See our index of authors and events). All of our events are free and open to the public.
New York State Author Colson Whitehead signs for his fans at the NYS Writers Institute's Albany Book Festival in September 2018. (Patrick Dodson / UAlbany)
A typical author visit includes an informal seminar from 4:15 p.m. to 5:15 p.m. This is usually tied to an academic class offered in conjunction with our Visiting Writer Series (with required book orders of 30-80) and is a very informal question-and-answer session with students and faculty, moderated by Institute Director Paul Grondahl, Assistant Director Mark Koplik, and others.
After the seminar we take our guests out for a relaxing dinner with a few members of the Institute staff at 6:00 p.m., which is followed by a public presentation/reading at 8:00 p.m. (dinner can also be after the reading). Most of our visiting writers read from and/or talk about their work for 40-45 minutes, take questions from the audience for 10-15 minutes and then sign books.
Books are available for sale at both the afternoon seminar and evening reading. We request permission to audio and video tape the events for our archive. In addition we normally videotape a 10-15 minute one-on-one interview prior to the afternoon seminar, also for our archive.
We are happy to alter this schedule based on our visitors’ preferences.
The NYS Writers Institute is housed at the University at Albany in Albany, NY, located 150 miles from New York City, and 165 miles from Boston. We are serviced by the Albany/Rensselaer AMTRAK rail station and Albany International Airport. We have been successful working with authors on an appearance date just before or just after a Chicago, Washington, D.C., Boston, or New York City event.
Most of our visiting writers coming from New York City find the two-hour-and-fifteen minute AMTRAK train ride along the Hudson River to be very scenic and relaxing and much less of a hassle than flying.
For any of our visitors on book tour, the Institute can cover transportation in the Northeast, lodging, and meals. We also provide all local transportation including pick-up from and to the train station or airport and between the hotel and the various event venues.
The University at Albany has a number of spaces suitable for a variety of events and presentations. Venues and their seating capacity include: Assembly Hall – 175
Campus Center Room 375 – 100
Ballroom – 750
Recital Hall – 240
Main Theatre – 500
Page Hall – 830
SEFCU Center – 2,500,
as well as a number of more intimate spaces with seating capacities ranging from 40 – 100.
Most of the spaces are equipped to accommodate a variety of audio/visual needs for presentations—DVD, and PowerPoint. Page Hall also boasts a 16 mm and state-of-the-art 35 mm film projection and sound system.
The Writers Institute works with two reporting booksellers:
Our campus Barnes & Noble covers the afternoon seminars, and Albany's major independent, The Book House ( a recent PW Bookseller of the Year) covers the evening events. We can assure that a current book will be the only featured book sold, or we can assure that an entire backlist by an author can be represented.
The Institute is considered one of the great cultural assets of the region, and therefore receives strong media attention through local TV stations and newspapers (Times Union, Gazette, The Saratogian, Troy Record, Spotlight Newspapers, and others).
We also have an extensive publicity network of libraries, colleges and schools, and arts and civic organizations, which extends south to Poughkeepsie, north to Lake Placid, west to Syracuse, and east to Northampton and Springfield, Massachusetts.
Our publicity includes press releases, poster mailings, a printed brochure, and an extensive website which receives upwards of 5,000 visitors a week.
We look forward to working with you to showcase your literary events. If you have any questions or particular requests, please feel free to give us a call. We would be pleased to work with you on scheduling an author visit.
In advance of your visit
Once we have scheduled your venue, please send us:
3 copies of current works
2 copies of back list works
Photo (color preferably—jpg file and/or hard copy)
Bio and press materials
NYS Writers Institute
Science Library 320
University at Albany
1400 Washington Avenue
Albany NY 12222
Email contact: Jennifer Kowalski at email@example.com