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Celebrating 40 years of literary and arts

conversations at the University at Albany


Fall 2023 events

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7 p.m. Tuesday, August 29

Reading / Conversation, Main Theatre, UAlbany Performing Arts Center

Richard Russo, major American novelist whose work has brought national attention to the comedy and sadness of blue-collar life in Upstate New York’s small towns, returns to Albany with Somebody’s Fool (2023) the final installment in his beloved “North Bath” trilogy.

Other books in the trilogy include Nobody’s Fool (1993), which became a major motion picture starring Paul Newman, and Everybody’s Fool (2016). Russo received the Pulitzer Prize for Empire Falls (2001), adapted as a 2005 HBO miniseries starring Ed Harris, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Helen Hunt, and Paul Newman. His 1997 academic satire, Straight Man, set at a small Pennsylvania college, is currently the basis of a new TV show, "Lucky Hank," starring Bob Odenkirk on AMC.

(Photo credit: Elena Seibert) 

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Book signing and reception with light refreshments to follow in the Futterer Lounge. Post-event entertainment outside the PAC will feature alt-folk band Doctor Baker, with UAlbany English Professor Ed Schwarzschild (lead singer) and Art Professor Danny Goodwin (drums), as well as Iggy Calabria (guitar) and Chris Gockley (bass).


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7 p.m. Friday, September 1

Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue, Downtown Campus, Albany NY 12203

(United States, 2005, 115 minutes, color, Rated R) Written and directed by Rodrigo García.

This inventive film, composed of loosely linked tales about nine women confronting personal challenges, features an all-star cast including Kathy Baker, Elpidia Carrillo, Glenn Close, Holly Hunter, Lisa Gay Hamilton, Amanda Seyfried and Sissy Spacek. Stephen Holden of the New York Times called it, "the closest movies have come to the cinematic equivalent of a collection of Chekhov short stories" and Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times said, "Rodrigo Garcia ... the son of the novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez ... has the same love for his characters, and although his stories are all (except for one) realistic, he shares his father's appreciation for the ways lives interweave and we touch each other even if we are strangers. A movie like this, with the appearance of new characters and situations, focuses us; we watch more intently, because it is important what happens."

Watch the trailer


Tuesday, September 5

4:30 p.m. — Craft Talk, Multi-Purpose Room, Campus Center West Addition

7:30 p.m. — Conversation / Q&A, Recital Hall, UAlbany Performing Arts Center

Filmmaker Rodrigo García presents A Farewell to Gabo and Mercedes (2021), a memoir of his late parents— Gabriel García Márquez, a Colombian fiction writer whose work changed the face of world literature, and his wife of more than 50 years, Mercedes Barcha Pardo.


Márquez is best-known for One Hundred Years of Solitude, which William Kennedy called “the first piece of literature since the Book of Genesis that should be required reading for the entire human race” (New York Times). Salman Rushdie praised the memoir, saying, “This is a beautiful farewell to two extraordinary people. It enthralled and moved me, and it will move and enthrall anyone who has ever entered the glorious literary world of Gabriel García Márquez.”

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Cosponsored by the Department of Latin American, Caribbean, and U.S. Latino Studies.

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7 p.m. Friday, September 8

Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue, Downtown Campus, Albany NY 12203 

(United States, 1997, 114 minutes, color, Rated R) Directed by Paul Schrader.

Starring Nick Nolte, Sissy Spacek, James Coburn, and Willem Dafoe.


Adapted from the novel by Russell Banks, "Affliction" tells the story of Wade Whitehouse (Nolte), a divorced man who works odd jobs and lives in a rusting trailer in a small New Hampshire town as he copes with a variety of family problems. Informed by Banks’s own childhood experiences, the book explores alcoholism and cycles of male violence and abuse in working class families.

Watch the trailer


Join us on Saturday, Sept. 23 at the 6th Annual Albany Book Festival for a tribute to the late Russell Banks, major American novelist, who died January 7, 2023. A dear friend of the New York State Writers Institute, Russell was a beloved member of the American literary community. The tribute will feature William Kennedy, Annie Proulx, Nell Irvin Painter, Dan Halpern, Paul Auster, Siri Hustvedt, Andre Dubus III, Jennifer Haigh, and more.


7:30 p.m. Thursday, September 14

Join UAlbany President Havidán Rodríguez and the NYS Writers Institute for an open conversation about the value of free speech on America’s college campuses, featuring the leadership of PEN America, the nation’s preeminent organization for promoting free expression. In addition to fighting censorship and defending writers and artists in the U.S. and throughout the world, PEN has issued the “PEN America Principles on Campus Free Speech,” a guide for students and educators.


Suzanne Nossel, CEO of PEN America, is the author of Dare to Speak: Defending Free Speech for All (paperback, 2021), a manual for promoting the exchange of ideas in an age of censorship, book banning, cancel culture, social media storms, and campus controversies. Salman Rushdie said, “In our censorious age of easy outrage, when it’s harder than ever to defend our right to express contentious ideas, Suzanne Nossel remains convinced that bigotry and intolerance can be fought without giving way on the principle of free speech…. An authoritative, essential book.”

(Photo credit: Beowulf Sheehan)

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Campus Center Ballroom
Registration required

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Presented as part of the University at Albany Free Speech and Civil Discourse: Our Rights, Our Responsibilities symposium, to take place Thursday and Friday, Sept. 14-15.

Cosponsored by the President’s Committee on Free Speech and the Honors College.


4:30 p.m. Tuesday, September 19

Multi-Purpose Room, Campus Center West Addition

Pierre Joris, avant-garde poet, and winner of major prizes from PEN for his poetry translations, returns to UAlbany where he taught poetry for more than 20 years (1992-2013).


A native of Luxembourg, he received that tiny nation’s highest literary honor, the Batty Weber National Literary Prize, in 2020. His new collection is Interglacial Narrows (2023), featuring poems written between 2015 and 2021. Experimental musician John Zorn said in praise, “Pierre Joris is a word-wizard who shines light on the soul itself.” Joris is also coauthor, with Florent Toniello, of Always the Many, Never the One (2022)— conversations that explore the idea of “in-betweenness” in life and poetry, “between languages, places, cultures, and states of being.” 

(Photo credit: Joseph Mastantuono) 

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Cosponsored by the English Department’s Creative Writing Program and Young Writers Project

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State Author Jacqueline Woodson (left) and new State Poet Patricia Spears Jones

7:30 p.m. Friday, September 22

Campus Center West Auditorium
Free and open to the public
No registration required

The Albany Book Festival will kick off with a ceremony to award the new State Author Jacqueline Woodson (left) and new State Poet Patricia Spears Jones. In addition, the Bruce Piasecki and Andrea Masters Award on Business and Society Writing will be presented to Leah Thomas at the ceremony.

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10:30 a.m. - 5 p.m. Saturday, September 23

University at Albany

Our 6th Annual Albany Book Festival will feature conversations with bestselling authors, readings, book signings, a children’s room with authors and fun activities, a meet and greet with nearly 100 local authors, and an exhibitor floor.

The event will also feature groups of authors in panel discussions on a wide range of topics, including Memoir / Teddy Roosevelt / American Mystery Fiction / Belief in the 21st Century / Working Class Fiction / The Lives of Flawed Fathers / The Holocaust / American Rascals.


Featured authors include Annie Proulx (Brokeback Mountain, The Shipping News), Angie Cruz (Soledad, Dominicana, Kate Fagan (What Made Maddy Run, Hoop Muses) Jeff Shaara (Gods and Generals, The Eagle's Claw, The Old Lion) along with, Jai Chakrabarti, Ava Chin, Kate Cohen, Andre Dubus III, Susan Faludi, Howard Fishman, Sidik Fofana, Kellye Garrett, Karen Baum Gordon, Mary Gordon, Jennifer Haigh, Daniel Halpern, Jimin Han, Nell Irvin Painter, Elizabeth Passarella, Serhii Plokhy, Annie Proulx, Jeff Shaara, Greg Steinmetz, Kim van Alkemade, Amy Wallen, Gary Weiss, Valerie Wilson Wesley, and Carmen Rita Won.


6 p.m. Wednesday, September 27

Albany Public Library - Pine Hills Branch, Large Meeting Room, 517 Western Avenue, Albany
Registration required: 

Charlene Allen, activist and YA fiction author, is a leading promoter of “Restorative Justice,” a vision of the criminal justice system that focuses on rehabilitation and reconciliation as alternatives to mass incarceration.

Her debut novel is Play the Game (2023), a murder mystery that explores friendship, first love, violence and the allure of video games. Civil rights icon Angela Davis said, “Fast-paced, insightful, and highly relevant, Allen’s novel illustrates the application of restorative justice practices to real life situations. A must read.” Bestselling YA author Tiffany Jackson said, “Powerful. Authentic. A riveting gut punch. This is how you galvanize young activists.”

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Presented by the Albany Public Library and the New York State Writers Institute.
Major support and funding provided by the Carl E. Touhey Foundation.



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Thursday, September 28

4:30 p.m. — Craft Talk, Standish Room (3rd Floor), Science Library
7:30 p.m. — Conversation / Q&A, Recital Hall, UAlbany Performing Arts Center

Stephanie Burt, influential trans poet and critic, was proclaimed “Poetry’s Cross-Dressing Kingmaker” by the New York Times in 2012. Her newest collection is We Are Mermaids (2022), an exploration in poetry of the non-binary nature and “in-betweenness” of human existence. Asked by blogger “Hey It’s Carly Rae” what she’d like readers to take away from the book, Burt said, “The ways in which queer and trans and weird people need other weird and trans and queer people in our lives. The ways we can make our own fun.” A professor at Harvard, Burt is also the author of a new guide to enjoying poetry, Don't Read Poetry (paperback, 2023). The New Yorker said the book, “evokes the contagious enthusiasm of a cool teacher.”

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Cosponsored by LGBTQ Advisory Council, Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Department of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Office of Health Promotion, and the English Department’s Creative Writing Program and Young Writers Project with major support from an ODI Diversity Transformation Grant.


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7 p.m. Thursday, October 5

Conversation, Main Theatre, UAlbany Performing Arts Center

Leland Melvin is an engineer, educator, former NASA astronaut and NFL wide receiver. He served on board the Space Shuttle Atlantis as a mission specialist on mission STS-122 (2008) and STS-129 (2009), helping to construct the International Space Station. Subsequently, he led NASA Education and co-chaired the White House’s Federal Coordination in STEAM Education Task Force, developing the nation’s 5-year STEM education plan. His 2017 memoir, Chasing Space: An Astronaut's Story of Grit, Grace, and Second Chances, shares his life story as an athlete, astronaut, scientist, engineer, photographer, and musician in order to help inspire the next generation of explorers to pursue STEAM careers.

About the Bunshaft Lecture

Established through the generosity of Albert Bunshaft ’80 and Caryn Bunshaft ’82, The Bunshaft Endowment in the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences supports programming that provides information and inspiration to UAlbany’s student community about careers in computing and engineering sciences.

Read more / watch video


Presented by the Albert Bunshaft ’80 and Caryn Bunshaft ’82 Lecture endowment, Alumni Association, Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Honors College, Office of Student Affairs, NYS Writers Institute, and University Auxiliary Services.

Featuring selections from such cinematic scores as "West Side Story" (Leonard Bernstein), "The Lord of the Rings" (Howard Shore), Taxi Driver (Bernard Herrmann), "King Kong" (Max Steiner), "Breakfast at Tiffany’s" (Henry Mancini), George Gershwin’s "Rhapsody in Rivets," and much more.

Visit for more information and to register for the symposium or purchase tickets for the evening concert.



Saturday, October 7

10 a.m. to 2 p.m. — UAlbany Performing Arts Center

From the cinema to TVs to cell phone screens, music for movies, shows and video games is a leading force in artistic innovation today. Join an array of industry experts for conversations about their work, their sector, and how they cracked into the business. Registration required.

7:30 p.m. concert — Soundtrack New York: Musical Scenes from a Cinematic State
Palace Theatre, 19 Clinton Avenue, Albany. 


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3 p.m. Wednesday, October 11

Campus Center West Boardroom (1st Floor)

Jeanette Altarriba is coauthor of a major new work on linguistics and communication, Language and Emotion: An International Handbook (2022, with Gesine Lenore Schiewer and Bee Chin Ng). The three-volume work explores the interplay of language and emotion, spanning contemporary and historical dimensions, and Eastern and Western perspectives. She will discuss and answer questions about the rewards and challenges of language research, academic writing, and international collaboration.

Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Altarriba is a Professor of Psychology, and an internationally recognized scholar in the fields of bilingualism, memory and emotion. Born to a Cuban-American family and raised in multicultural Miami, she joined the UAlbany faculty in 1992.

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Cosponsored by UAlbany’s Department of Languages, Literatures & Cultures and the Living in Languages initiative in collaboration with the Department of English.


Thursday, October 12

4:30 p.m. — Craft Talk
7:30 p.m. — Reading/Q&A
Both events in the Multi-Purpose Room,
Campus Center West Addition

Jonathan Lethem is the bestselling author of twelve novels, including The Arrest, The Feral Detective, The Fortress of Solitude, and Motherless Brooklyn, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award. His newest book is Brooklyn Crime Novel (October 2023), a sweeping story of community, crime, and gentrification, tracing more than fifty years of life in one Brooklyn neighborhood, and its Black, brown and white inhabitants. Novelist Namwali Serpell called it, “A deeply moving, fiercely intelligent, and acerbically funny novel about the scandal and disaster of American capital in our time.” Winner of a 2005 MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship, Lethem has been proclaimed “one of America’s greatest storytellers” (Washington Post).

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Cosponsored by the English Department’s Creative Writing Program and Young Writers Project.

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Tuesday, October 17

4:30 p.m. — Craft Talk
7:30 p.m. — Conversation / Q&A
Both events in the Multi-Purpose Room, Campus Center West Addition

Vauhini Vara is a novelist and journalist who has covered technology for the Wall Street Journal and written extensively on Artificial Intelligence. She was named a 2023 Pulitzer Prize finalist for her sci-fi/dystopian novel, The Immortal King Rao. Born into a family of Dalit coconut farmers in India in the 1950s, King Rao, the novel’s protagonist, becomes the most accomplished tech CEO in the world and, eventually, the leader of a global, corporate-led government. The New York Times reviewer called it, “a monumental achievement: beautiful and brilliant, heartbreaking and wise.” Vara is also the author of a new book of short stories, This Is Salvaged (Sept. 2023).

(Photo credit: Andrew Altschul)

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Cosponsored by UAlbany’s Department of Information Sciences and Technology (CEHC). In association with the University at Albany’s “Research & Entrepreneurship Week,” a series of events highlighting AI Plus— UAlbany’s new holistic approach to integrating teaching and learning about AI across our academic and research programs.

For more information visit

Alexander Weinstein is the author of the short story collections, Universal Love (2020) and Children of the New World (2016), which was chosen as a New York Times "100 Notable Books of the Year" and a best book of the year by NPR, Google, and Electric Literature. Emily St. John Mandel called Children of the New World, “A darkly mesmerizing, fearless, and exquisitely written work. Stunning, harrowing, and brilliantly imagined.”

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Film screening and discussion: "After Yang"

(United States, 2021, 96 minutes, color, rated PG) Directed by Kogonada. Starring Colin Farrell, Jodie Turner-Smith.

Alexander Weinstein’s short story, “Saying Goodbye to Yang,” from the collection Children of the New World, provides the basis of this film set in a near-future of artificial intelligence, social media implants, memory manufacturers, dangerously immersive virtual reality games, and alarmingly intuitive robots. A family reckons with questions of love, connection, and loss after their A.I. helper, Yang, unexpectedly breaks down.

Watch the trailer

Thursday, October 19

4:30 p.m. — Craft Talk
7:30 p.m. — Film Screening and Q&A
Both events in the Multi-Purpose Room, Campus Center West Addition


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Cosponsored by the University at Albany Foundation, UAlbany’s Department of Africana Studies, School of Business, Office of Student Affairs, Office of Intercultural Student Engagement, Dr. Leonard Slade Jr., and the Department of Information Sciences and Technology (CEHC).

Also in association with the University at Albany’s “Research & Entrepreneurship Week,” a series of events highlighting AI Plus— UAlbany’s new holistic approach to integrating teaching and learning about AI across our academic and research programs. For more information visit


Celebrating 70 years since it was published, Ray Bradbury’s work of science fiction imagined a future where all books are outlawed and “firemen” tossed hidden tomes into bonfires. The author’s vision of a world, awash in information but lacking critical thought, depicts a sobering look at humankind while offering hope for a better future. The history and return to the practice of banning books and our current censorious moment make the subject matter of this classic American novel both timely and ripe for discussion. 

Special book giveaway to the first 25 attendees at each film screening and to the first 50 ticket purchasers for the Oct. 26 event. (Limit one book per person.)

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7 p.m. Friday, October 13

Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue, Downtown Campus

(United States, 1966, 105 minutes, color, No rating) Directed by François Truffaut. Starring Oskar Werner, Julie Christie, Cyril Cusack.


Truffaut's first color film and his only non-French language film. It was nominated for the Golden Lion, the highest prize, at the 27th Venice International Film Festival.

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7 p.m. Friday, October 20

Also at Page Hall

(United States, 2018, 100 minutes, color, TV-14) Directed by Ramin Bahrani. Starring Michael B. Jordan, Michael Shannon, Sofia Boutella, Laura Harrier. 

This American dystopian drama film premiered at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival with praise for the performances and visuals.

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7:30 p.m. Thursday, October 26 — Stage Presentation, UAlbany Performing Arts Center 
Pre-show talk begins at 7:00 p.m.

Adapted and directed by Wynn Handman, Literature to Life’s verbatim stage production is performed by Emmy-nominated and Golden Earphone Award-winning Rich Orlow who tells the story from the perspective of the protagonist and seamlessly transitions between the five other primary characters.  

Advance tickets: $15 general public • $10 students, seniors & UAlbany faculty-staff.  

Day of show tickets: $20 general public • $15 students, seniors & UAlbany faculty-staff.

Purchase tickets 

Presented in collaboration with the UAlbany Performing Arts Center. Major support provided by the University at Albany Foundation with additional support from University Auxiliary Services.

4:30 p.m. Tuesday, October 24

Multi-Purpose Room, Campus Center West Addition

Robert Boyers presents Maestros & Monsters: Days & Nights with Susan Sontag & George Steiner (2023) an account of his 50-year friendship with two of the most influential literary critics of the last 100 years and strong personalities who frequently clashed with one other. Garth Greenwell called it, “A delicious portrait of two difficult brilliant intellectuals, and a spirited vindication of criticism as a noble calling.”


A professor at Skidmore College, Boyers is co-founder and director of the New York State Summer Writers Institute in Saratoga Springs and editor of the quarterly magazine Salmagundi, founded in 1965 and published since 1969.

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Cosponsored by the English Department’s Creative Writing Program and Young Writers Project.


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7 p.m. Wednesday, October 25

Conversation, Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue, Downtown Campus
Registration required:   

Melissa DeRosa, one of the most powerful women in New York State government history, shares her gripping story for the first time in her new memoir, hot off the press, What’s Left Unsaid My Life at the Center of Power, Politics & Crisis (published Oct. 24, 2023).

The communications director, chief of staff, and secretary to Governor Andrew Cuomo, DeRosa takes readers on a white-knuckle ride from his meteoric rise to his sudden fall. She also details her journey as a young woman rising to the highest levels of government, writing with raw honesty about the personal challenges she faced—a failing marriage, infertility, death threats, misogyny—while navigating professional landmines along the way.


“I think that a lot of people have had a lot to say that has gone unchallenged,” DeRosa said. “That ends in the fall when this book comes out.”

LISTEN: Melissa DeRosa interviewed by WAMC's Joe Donahue


Book excerpt: "Melissa DeRosa’s inside look on the final days of the Cuomo administration" published in City & State, Oct. 23, 2023          

"Melissa DeRosa Isn’t Done Defending Andrew Cuomo" published in Vanity Fair, Oct. 18, 2023 

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Wednesday, November 1

The first-ever, marathon public reading of the full novel of Ironweed by Albany’s native son, William Kennedy, which won the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction and put the author’s hometown on the literary map, will begin at noon and continue through 8 p.m. on Wednesday, November 1 to mark the 40th anniversary of the novel’s publication in 1983.


The ticket prices are a donation of $10, $25 or $50. All proceeds will go to benefit the food pantry and free meal outreach at Sacred Heart Church, 33 Walter St. in Albany, which was Kennedy’s parish when he was growing up.

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Thursday, November 2

4:30 p.m. — Craft Talk
7:30 p.m. — Conversation/Q&A
Both events in the Multi-Purpose Room, Campus Center West Addition

Grace Cho is the author of Tastes Like War: A Memoir (2021), a National Book Award Nonfiction Finalist that investigates the impact of the immigration experience, the aftermath of the Korean War, small town American life, the comforts of Korean food, and a mother’s battle with schizophrenia.

Cho grew up as the daughter of a white American merchant marine and a Korean bar hostess he met abroad. They settled in a small town in rural Washington State during the Cold War, where they endured xenophobia and stood out as an unusual family, while her mother descended into mental illness. TIME magazine and NPR named it a “Best Book of the Year.” (Photo credit: Patrick Bower)

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Funding provided by UAlbany Professors Emerita in English, Judith Barlow and Judith Fetterley. Cosponsored by UAlbany’s Department of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies.



November 3-5

Events to take place at The Linda, WAMC’s Performing Arts Studio in Albany

Join us for the eighth annual CHATS Film Festival and Lecture Series. The theme for 2023 is "Artificial Intelligence in culture and the arts."

While professors panic, and tech companies celebrate, the CHATS Film Festival and Lecture Series explores the shifting and significant place of AI in the arts, not only the products and technologies of AI, but also the cinematic thrillers, mysteries, romances, and horror they inspire.  


Throughout the festival weekend, we will explore the fears and fantasies aroused by AI, all the while celebrating what it is that makes humanity unable to be replicated.  

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7 p.m. Wednesday, November 8

Ceremony/Conversation with host Harold Holzer
NYS Museum, Cultural Education Center, 222 Madison Avenue, Albany. 
Tickets required.

Jon Meacham's newest book is the New York Times bestseller, And There Was Light: Abraham Lincoln and the American Struggle (paperback, 2023), which charts how— and why— Lincoln confronted secession, threats to democracy, and the tragedy of slavery to expand the possibilities of America. In praise, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. said, “Meacham has given us the Lincoln for our time.”


Meacham received the Pulitzer for American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House (2008). Other recent books include His Truth Is Marching On: John Lewis and the Power of Hope (2020), and The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels (2018). (Photo credit: Heidi Ross)


Presented by the New York State Archives Partnership Trust.

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7 p.m. Wednesday, November 8

Presentation/Q&A, Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue, Downtown Campus

Christopher Paolini presents Murtagh, the latest installment in his blockbuster “Inheritance Cycle,” with over 33 million copies in print. In March 2023, Money magazine ranked the cycle, the 13th biggest-selling fantasy series of all time. In 2011, Paolini was named the youngest author of a bestselling book series by the Guinness Book of World Records— the first book, Eragon, was begun in 1998 when the author was only 15 years old.

The new book, Murtagh, tells the story of the Dragon Rider — and fan favorite — Murtagh and his dragon, Thorn, as they confront a perilous new enemy. (Photo credit: Lo Hunter)

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Presented in partnership with The Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza and cosponsored by the UAlbany Honors College.

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7 p.m. Thursday, November 9

Conversation with WAMC’s Joe Donahue
Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue, Downtown Campus

Susanna Hoffs rose to fame as the founder, lead singer and guitarist of 1980s “hit machine,” The Bangles, a band known for "Manic Monday" (1986), "Walk Like an Egyptian" (1986), "In Your Room" (1988), and "Eternal Flame" (1989).


New this year, Hoffs is also the author of a bestselling debut novel, This Bird Has Flown (2023)— the sad, joyful, sexy, and laugh-out-loud funny tale of Jane Start, a broke thirty-something singer who once had a big hit. The New York Times reviewer called it, "a total knockout" and "the smart, ferocious rock-star redemption romance you didn’t know you needed."

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

About The Creative Life: 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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7:30 p.m. Sunday, November 12

UAlbany Performing Arts Center.
Free admission.
No tickets required.

Arguably the first true horror film and one considered the quintessential work of German Expressionist cinema, this silent film from 1920 is accompanied by an original score composed by Brett L. Wery performed live by wind ensemble Quintocracy. 

As the young Francis recounts his experience with the mysterious Dr. Caligari, the movie veers into mystique, metaphor and murder on the winding path to one of cinema's most seminal twists. Imbued with layers of meaning, its distorted sets, sinister shadows and unnerving characters created a paranoid, unreal world at a time of despair throughout Europe. Running time: 77 minutes


Presented by the UAlbany Performing Arts Center. Support provided by the Department of Music and Theatre and University Auxiliary Services.


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7:30 p.m. Monday, November 13

Conversation, Hearst Media Center, 645 Albany Shaker Road, Colonie
Registration required:

Teneshia Jackson Warner is the founder, creator, and CEO of one of the country’s most successful multicultural marketing and communications firms, EGAMI Group. The company has created campaigns for numerous major clients, including Procter & Gamble, Verizon Wireless, Dasani, Rosa Regale, General Motors, Target, KFC, Major League Baseball, Delta Airlines, and more.


As CEO, Jackson Warner has led the agency from a dream concept to a thriving multi-million-dollar business. She is also the author of an acclaimed how-to book, The Big Stretch: 90 Days to Expand Your Dreams, Crush Your Goals, and Create Your Own Success (2019), a self-evaluation and empowerment program for jumpstarting a new business, new career, or new idea.

All registered attendees will receive a free copy of The Big Stretch.

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Presented in partnership with Capital Region Women@Work. Major support and funding provided by Heidi Knoblauch.


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Tuesday, November 14

4:30 p.m. — Craft Talk, Multi-Purpose Room, Campus Center West Addition

7:30 p.m. — Conversation, New York State Bar Association, Great Hall, 1 Elk St., Albany
Registration required for the evening event:

Watch the evening event on Zoom.

Meeting ID: 959 9056 5392       Passcode: 637748

Gloria J. Browne-Marshall is a civil rights attorney who has litigated cases for the Southern Poverty Law Center and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. She’s also an author, playwright, and professor of constitutional law at John Jay College (CUNY). Her newest book, She Took Justice: The Black Woman, Law, and Power – 1619 to 1969 (2020), recounts three centuries of courageous actions taken by Black women in the face of racial prejudice and gender oppression, from Queen Nzinga of Ndongo and Matamba (1583-1663) to U.S. Congresswoman and Presidential candidate Shirley Chisholm (1924-2005). Historian Blanche Wiesen Cook said, “Vividly written and profoundly researched…. This timely and riveting book is urgently needed, now!”

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Browne-Marshall will be in conversation with Henry M. Greenberg, shareholder at Greenberg, Traurig, past president of the New York State Bar Association and chair of the Commission to Reimagine the Future of New York's Courts.


Cosponsored by the Honors College, UAlbany’s 3+3 joint degree with Albany Law School, the New York State Bar Association, Historical Society of the New York Courts, and the Women In Law Section of the New York State Bar Association.


5:30 p.m. Friday, November 17

Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue, Downtown UAlbany campus

Join us for two panel discussions with major thinkers and journalists representing a variety of viewpoints about the present and future of our nation:

Miles Taylor, Blowback book cover
Franklin Foer, The Last Politician book cover
Juliet Hooker, Black Grief White Grievance book cover
Jeff-Sharlett, TheUndertow book cover

The American Presidency: A conversation about the Biden administration and the prospect of a second Trump administration.


Moderator: NYS Writers Institute Opalka Endowed Director Paul Grondahl, longtime Albany Times Union journalist, and author of I Rose like a Rocket: The Political Education of Theodore Roosevelt.

  • Franklin Foer is the author of The Last Politician: Inside Joe Biden’s White House and the Struggle for America’s Future (2023), the definitive insider story of the first two years of the Biden presidency, with exclusive access to Biden’s longtime team of advisers, and a gripping portrait of a president during this momentous time in our nation’s history. Foer is a staff writer at The Atlantic, and former editor of The New Republic.

  • Miles Taylor, White House whistleblower and security expert, served as chief of staff at the US Department of Homeland Security under President Trump. He is best-known for his “Anonymous” essay, titled "I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration,” published in the New York Times in Sept. 2018. His #1 national bestseller, A Warning by Anonymous, was published in 2019. His new book is Blowback: A Warning to Save Democracy from the Next Trump (July 2023).

The American Backlash: A conversation about the politics of revenge, and the impulse to punish “out groups” who have made political gains— particularly racial, sexual, and cultural minorities, and women.

Moderator: Libby Post, President of Communication Services and an advocate for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. She is the founder of the Empire State  Pride Agenda.

  • Juliet Hooker, noted political scientist, is the author of the acclaimed new book, Black Grief/White Grievance: The Politics of Loss (Oct. 2023). Jelani Cobb called it, "every bit as stark and urgent as the moment of racial reckoning that inspired it." Her 2017 book, Theorizing Race in the Americas, won the "Ralph Bunche Book Award" and "Best Book on Race, Ethnicity and Politics" of the American Political Science Association.

  • Jeff Sharlet's newest book is The Undertow: Scenes from a Slow Civil War (W.W. Norton, March 2023). The New York Times praised it as a "riveting, vividly detailed collage of political and moral derangement in America, one that horrifyingly corresponds to liberals’ worst fears." He also wrote The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power, and C Street: The Fundamentalist Threat to American Democracy. Sharlet has been a frequent commentator on MSNBC's "Rachel Maddow Show," "All in With Chris," and NPR's "Fresh Air."

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Previous "Telling the Truth" events were held in 19912017, 2020 in 2022. Major support and funding provided by The Professor Ben-Ami Lipetz NYS Writers Institute Fund.


Ed Mitzen & Jahkeen Hoke

7 p.m. Thursday, November 30

Albany Black Chamber of Commerce, 141 Washington Ave. (Entry on Dove Street)
Tickets required.

Ed Mitzen, is the founder and CEO of Fingerpaint Group, a pharmaceutical marketing agency based in Saratoga Springs. His businesses have earned more than $1 billion. A believer in intentional philanthropy, Mitzen also co-founded the award-winning nonprofit Business for Good with his wife, Lisa. His new book is Wealthy and White: Why Guys Like Me Have to Show Up, Step Up, and Give a

Hand Up (2023), a call to service for the privileged classes, and a manual for breaking down America’s caste system and addressing chronic social problems.

Jahkeen Hoke is the former chief executive officer of the Business for Good Foundation, co-founder and chief development officer of 4th Family, and co-founder and board member of the Upstate NY Black Chamber of Commerce. He oversees the daily business activities and long-term strategies of the various organizations, teaches entrepreneurship to the proprietors of many start-ups and small businesses, and uses entrepreneurial skills to bring about meaningful change in under-served communities.

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Mark Chiusano, photo credit Charlotte Alter
Mark Chiusano, The Fabulist book cover

7 p.m. Tuesday, December 5

Conversation, Hearst Media Center, 645 Albany Shaker Road, Colonie
Registration required:  

Mark Chiusano started covering Republican George Santos during his Congressional campaign in 2019 as a columnist and editorial writer at the Long Island daily newspaper, New York Newsday. His forthcoming book is The Fabulist: The Lying, Hustling, Grifting, Stealing, and Very American Legend of George Santos (Nov. 28, 2023).


The publisher calls it a “bizarre, page-turning, and frankly hysterical story.” George Santos said in a tweet, “I’m really hopeful that the reporter I’ve had blocked for over a year has a great imagination.” Chiusano received a PEN/Hemingway Award honorable mention for his story collection Marine Park in 2015.

(Photo credit: Charlotte Helen Alter)

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Presented in partnership with the Times Union.


Clockwise from top: Justice Felix Frankfurter; Brad Snyder; and book cover of Democratic Justice: Felix Frankfurter, the Supreme Court, and the Making of the Liberal Establishment

6:30 p.m. Monday December 11

New York City Bar Association

42 W 44th Street, New York City

Note: the event will be livestreamed via Zoom.


Free and open to the public

Join us on Monday, December 11, as we unravel history and dive into the enduring debates about the role of the judiciary.


The NYS Writers Institute is sponsoring the Historical Society of the New York Courts upcoming event, Justice Felix Frankfurter and the Idea of Judicial Self-Restraint: Then and Now in Federal and State Courts.

Opening remarks will be presented by Henry M. Greenberg, Vice Chair, Historical Society of the New York Courts, who moderated our discussion with civil rights attorney and author Gloria J. Browne-Marshall on November 14.

This program will delve into the judicial philosophy and legacy of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter with Brad Snyder, Professor of Law at Georgetown University and author of Democratic Justice: Felix Frankfurter, the Supreme Court, and the Making of the Liberal Establishment (W.W. Norton & Co., 2022).

Professor Snyder’s presentation will be followed by a discussion with a distinguished panel about Frankfurter’s interpretation of judicial restraint and how it is relevant in the decision-making process of today’s federal and state judiciaries, with a focus on the U.S. Supreme Court and the New York Court of Appeals.


Program participants will also include:

  • Prof. John Q. Barrett, Benjamin N. Cardozo Professor, St. John’s University School of Law; Trustee Emeritus, Historical Society of the New York Courts

  • Hon. Jonathan Lippman, Former Chief Judge of the State of New York; President, Historical Society of the New York Courts

  • Hon. Barbara D. Underwood, Solicitor General of the State of New York; Former Acting Solicitor General of the United States

  • Dean Troy A. McKenzie, Dean & Cecelia Goetz Professor of Law, New York University School of Law; Trustee, Historical Society of the New York Courts


Co-sponsored by the New York City Bar Association’s Federal Courts, State Courts, and Legal History Committees.

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