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NYS Writers Institute Fall 2019 season



Shirkers director Sandi Tan

(Singapore/USA, 2018, 96 minutes, color) Directed by Sandi Tan. Starring Sandi Tan, Sophia Siddique Harvey, Georges Cardona.

While still a teenager in 1992, Sandi Tan and her friends made one of Singapore’s first indie feature films, SHIRKERS, under the mentorship of a strange and shady American film teacher, Georges Cardona, who suddenly vanished with the film stock before it could be finished and released. Her same-titled 2018 documentary SHIRKERS reflects on her shattered creative dreams, and explains what happened when the footage was unexpectedly returned to her two decades later. Released as a Netflix original documentary, the film received a Directing Award at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. The New Yorker called it “vastly imaginative and ambitious…. gloriously, gleefully idiosyncratic, a blend of punk energy and local documentation.”

Cosponsored by the University at Albany’s Center for International Education & Global Strategy (CIEGS), and Intensive English Language Program

Watch the trailer

Sunday, Oct. 20 at 7:30 p.m.
Dance performance and mixed media, UAlbany Performing Arts Center Main Theatre

Jade  Solomon Curtis, celebrated dance artist and choreographer, integrates classical and African-American vernacular movements with mixed-media and Hip Hop culture. Black Like Me: An Exploration of the Word N _____ is her multidisciplinary evening length work that explores the reverb of a single word in a global community.    

Advance tickets: $15 general public / $10 students,seniors, UAlbany faculty-staff. (518) 442-3997 or

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Thursday, Oct. 24
4:15 p.m. Craft Talk - Multi-Purpose Room, Campus Center West Addition
7:30 p.m. Conversation - Campus Center West Auditorium

Sharon Olds, former New York State Poet under the auspices of the NYS Writers Institute (1998-2000), received the Pulitzer Prize and the T.S. Eliot Prize for Stag's Leap (2012), a poignant account in poetry of her experiences when her husband left her after 30 years of marriage. Her work, often autobiographical in nature, is renowned for its treatment of marriage, motherhood, intimacy, and the human condition. Michael Ondaatje says, “Sharon Olds’ poems are pure fire in the hands, risky, on the verge of falling, and in the end leaping up.” Other honors include the 2016 Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets, the Lamont Poetry Prize, and the National Book Critics Circle Award. A professor at NYU, she is cofounder of the NYU Goldwater Hospital Writing Workshop for the severely physical challenged, and the NYU Veterans Writing Workshop for veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Her new collection is Arias (Oct. 2019), poems about intimate life, political conscience, race and class, delivered with operatic passion, anguish and solo force. She is the author of 13 previous collections including The Father (1992), The Unswept Room (2002), and Odes (2016).

Born in Saigon, Ocean Vuong spent a year in a refugee camp as a baby and migrated to America when he was two years old. Widely regarded as one of the leading poets of his generation, he is celebrated for poetry that explores immigrant experience, queer life, and the lingering impact of the Vietnam War. His debut novel, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous, has been named one of the most anticipated books of 2019 by Vulture, Entertainment Weekly, Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, Huffington Post, Publishers Weekly, and more. Ron Charles of the Washington Post said that the book, “explode[s] the very structure of traditional narrative, and the pages break apart into the lines of an evocative prose poem — not so much briefly gorgeous as permanently stunning.” Vuong's debut poetry collection, Night Sky with Exit Wounds, was named a “Top Ten Book of 2016” in the New York Times, and became only the second debut collection to win the T. S. Eliot Prize.

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Dr. Matt McCarthy, author of "Superbugs"

Matt McCarthy, assistant professor of medicine at Weill Cornell and staff physician at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, is the author of new book, Superbugs: The Race to Stop an Epidemic (2019), an insider’s account of the current battle against antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and the race to develop new treatments for infections. Bestselling author Siddhartha Mukherjee (The Emperor of All Maladies) called it, “An amazing, informative book that changes our perspective on medicine, microbes and our future.” McCarthy’s previous bestsellers include The Real Doctor Will See You Shortly: A Physician’s First Year (2015) and Odd Man Out: A Year on the Mound with a Minor League Misfit (2009).

His work has appeared in Sports Illustrated, Slate, and The New England Journal of Medicine. He is also editor-in-chief of Current Fungal Infection Reports.

Cosponsored by The RNA Institute, a cutting-edge life sciences research facility at the University at Albany, to mark the launch of the NIH-sponsored RNA Fellows Program, which features a Science Communications track in partnership with the NYS Writers Institute. The new program will enable students to develop and improve written and oral communication in areas of research that are critical to new frontiers in human health.

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Tony Shalhoub
Friday, November 8, 2019
6 p.m. - Keynote conversation with Tony Shalhoub
7 p.m. - Screening of BIG NIGHT followed by a discussion 
​The Linda, WAMC’s Performing Arts Studio, 339 Central Ave, Albany
For ticket information, visit
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