The New York State Writers Institute at the University at Albany is postponing its inaugural Albany Film Festival, scheduled for March 28, as an appropriate precaution related to COVID-19 and coronavirus containment protocol with guidance from UAlbany, county and state health experts, and government officials.


We also are postponing the outdoor projection mapping show, scheduled to kick off the Albany Film Festival on the night of March 27 and to run for four consecutive nights.

Our highest priority is the safety and security of our students, faculty and staff, audience members, volunteers, and visiting filmmakers.

We are disappointed that we have to postpone the Albany Film Festival because we had organized an extraordinary event. We plan to reschedule the Albany Film Festival for the spring of 2021, retaining the selected short films and other elements, while refocusing our energies to make it an even stronger community event next year.

The spring Albany Film Festival will complement our annual fall book festival. The 3rd annual Albany Book Festival is scheduled for September 12.

Paul Grondahl, Director NYS Writers Institute

The State University of New York, which includes UAlbany, has suspended classes and shifted to a distance-learning model until further notice. This will affect not only the Albany Film Festival, but also possibly the remaining 16 events on our spring schedule. We are closely monitoring this evolving situation and we will evaluate and decide about whether or not to postpone events in the coming weeks and months on a case-by-case basis. Check here for updates or sign up to be on our email list to learn about the latest developments.

We will pivot to a Virtual Writers Institute model. We will present programming online. We will remain a vital portal of conversation with great authors and creative minds in all genres, including film. We will be a place to ask questions, share ideas and engage in thoughtful discussions. We will become a digital gathering place for our bright, engaged and book-loving audiences who normally fill Page Hall, the Performing Arts Center, the Campus Center, the New York State Museum and all the venues where the Writers Institute has presented memorable events in the past and will do so again in the future.

We invite you to visit us here and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube as we continue to produce new interviews on the Writers Institute podcast; seek submissions for a new edition of our online journal Trolley; and curate compelling clips from past Writers Institute events preserved in one of the most extensive literary archives anywhere.

We need the transformative power of literature now, more than ever. It is in troubling times like these when we turn to our writers, our truth-tellers, our most brilliant communicators.  Great writing nourishes our minds, touches our hearts and heals our souls.

Paul Grondahl, Director NYS Writers Institute

“A good half of the art of living is resilience.” 
― Alain de Botton

For more information and updates on the global health crisis and its impact on UAlbany, visit 


Noted writers Edwidge Danticat, Andrea Davis Pinkney, Lore Segal, and Garry Trudeau are among the seven members of the NYS Writers Hall of Fame 2020 Class of Inductees, in an announcement event held in New York on Tuesday, Feb. 4. 

The four writers will attend the induction ceremonies on Tuesday, June 2, 2020, at the Princeton Club of New York, an event produced in conjunction with the NYS Writers Institute at the University at Albany.

In addition, three deceased writers: Bill Finger, Anna Katherine Green, and Oscar Hammerstein II will be inducted.  

“This year is the 11th anniversary of the New York State Writers Hall of Fame,” said Rocco Staino, Director for the Empire State Center of the Book, the organization that oversees the Hall of Fame, “Each year the interest in the Hall of Fame grows with a number of nominations coming from the general public.” More

Did you know...

Edwidge Danticat and Lore Segal are among the more than 2,000 writers who have visited Albany for NYS Writers Institute events.

From NYS Writers Institute Paul Grondahl: 

We are thrilled to partner with the Empire State Center of the Book in presenting this year’s inductees of the New York State Writers Hall of Fame,” said Paul Grondahl, Director of the New York State Writers Institute.

“Rocco and his group of volunteers are devoted ambassadors for literature and promoting literacy. I have attended the event the past three years and had the honor of introducing past inductees William Kennedy, Russell Shorto and Doris Kearns Goodwin. It is a glittering literary evening, the Princeton Club is an elegant setting and I strongly urge you to reserve your seats early so you don’t get shut out. Seating is limited.” 

Damon Young.jpg
Damon Young, What Doesn't Kill You cover

 * Click on an image to visit event pages. 

Albany Film Festival March 28, 2020

Now you can listen to Paul Grondahl's podcasts anywhere/anytime.

More than 19 hours of conversation with 34 recent guests, authors, filmmakers, poets and journalists who have visited the Writers Institute in the past two years. 


 News & Notes 


William Kennedy interviewed by Xara Wilde

The Six Count Podcast

Damon Young nominated for NAACP Image Awards


Gamechangers: The NYS Writers Institute Under Paul Grondahl

The Collaborative

20 Reasons to Discover Albany in 2020

Discover Albany

Here's how the NYS Writers Institute gets all those great authors to visit

All Over Albany

NYS Writers Institute

Science Library 320

University at Albany

1400 Washington Avenue
Albany, NY 12222

(518) 442-5620

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