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NYS Writers Institute's Spring 2023 program

Event guidelines

  • Events are free and open to the public and take place on the University at Albany’s Uptown Campus, 1400 Washington Avenue, Albany NY 12222, unless otherwise noted.

  • All events are subject to change.

  • To keep up-to-date on NYS Writers Institute events and news, we encourage you to sign up for email updates.

  • You don't need to read the book in advance to attend. And there's no homework. :-)

  • At most events, books are available for purchase and book signings are held following the conversation.

NYS Writers Institute's 40th Anniversary
Reception: Celebrating our 40th Anniversary
6:30 p.m. Thursday, January 19
Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center
University at Albany Uptown Campus

Free parking. 
See map.
Andy Greenberg books

Andy Greenberg

Thursday, January 26

4:30 p.m. — Craft Talk, Standish Room, Science Library

7:30 p.m. — Campus Center West Auditorium - In conversation with Robert Griffin, Founding Dean of the UAlbany College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security, and Cybersecurity (CEHC), 


One of America’s leading tech journalists and senior writer at WIRED magazine, Andy Greenberg presents his new book, Tracers in the Dark: The Global Hunt for the Crime Lords of Cryptocurrency (Nov. 2022), “the propulsive story of a new breed of investigators who have cracked the Bitcoin blockchain, exposing once-anonymous realms of money, drugs, and violence.”

The New York Times said, “[An] absorbing narrative… Each key section of the book... unfolds like a compact mystery.” His previous books include Sandworm: A New Era of Cyberwar and the Hunt for the Kremlin's Most Dangerous Hackers (2019), and This Machine Kills Secrets: Julian Assange, the Cypherpunks, and their Fight to Empower Whistleblowers (2012).

Photo credit: Joe Pugliese

Read more


Cosponsored by the UAlbany College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity (CEHC), and the Honors College.

Bone Valley logo.
Gilbert King

Gilbert King

Wednesday, February 1

4:30 p.m. — Craft Talk, Standish Room, Science Library (3rd floor)

7:30 p.m. — Conversation and Q&A, Campus Center West Auditorium 


Gilbert King, Niskayuna native and Pulitzer Prize-winning author, is the creator of “Bone Valley,” one of the most acclaimed podcasts of 2022. King tells the story of Leo Schofield, who was sentenced to life in prison for killing his wife Michelle in Florida in 1987 and remains behind bars despite the fact that another man, Jeremy Scott, has confessed to the murder.


In the course of 9 episodes, King uncovers startling new evidence that Scott is responsible for a string of murders.


King won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Nonfiction for Devil in the Grove, an account of the future Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall’s role in defending four black men falsely accused of raping a white woman in Florida in 1949. 

Read more

  • Listen to "Bone Valley" on iheartradio / Apple

Cosponsored by the UAlbany School of Criminal Justice and the Honors College.

The Ice Storm movie poster

"The Ice Storm"

7 p.m. Friday, February 3

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

Free parking. See map.


(United States, 1997, 112 minutes, color, Rated R) Directed by Ang Lee. Starring Kevin Kline, Joan Allen, Tobey Maguire, Christina Ricci and Sigourney Weaver.

Set in suburban Connecticut in 1973, this acclaimed adaptation of Rick Moody’s novel tells the story of middle class families who experiment with casual sex and substance abuse, and find their lives spiraling out of control. The film was nominated for the Palme d’Or and Best Screenplay at the Cannes Film Festival.

Watch trailer / Read more

Albany Film Festival speaker

Join author Rick Moody and screenwriter James Schamus for a conversation about the film’s 25th anniversary at the 3rd Annual Albany Film Festival on Saturday, April 1.

Lynne Tillman's Mothercare book cover

Lynne Tillman

4:30 p.m. Tuesday, February 7

Campus Center West Boardroom


Lynne Tillman, award-winning author and UAlbany English Professor/Writer-in-Residence, presents her new book, MOTHERCARE: On Obligation, Love, Death, and Ambivalence (2022), an unflinching account of the painful experience of becoming caregiver to a very difficult parent. The Boston Globe said, “Masterfully-wrought . . . [A] stunning story of caregiving, with its questions of obligation and ethics and what it means to care for someone who, perhaps, didn’t care for you.”

Her previous books include the novel, No Lease on Life (1998), a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and What Would Lynne Tillman Do? (2014), a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in Criticism.

Read an excerpt


Cosponsored by the UAlbany School of Social Welfare in association with the Internships in Aging Project, and the English Department’s Creative Writing Program and Young Writers Program


"Daughters of the Dust"

7 p.m. Friday, February 10

Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue, Downtown Campus

Free parking. See map.

(United States, 1991, 113 minutes, color, Rated PG) Directed by Julie Dash. Starring Cora Lee Day, Alva Rogers, Barbara-O.

Named one of “The Greatest Films of All Time” by the 2022 Sight and Sound Critics' poll of major critics—which is conducted only once each decade — "Daughters of the Dust" tells the story of three generations of Gullah women on the island of St. Helena, off the coast of South Carolina.

The Gullah are an African American group who succeeded in preserving much of their African cultural and linguistic heritage in isolation from plantation society on the mainland. Illustrative of the lack of access experienced by Black filmmakers, this 1991 film was the very first feature directed by an African American woman to be distributed theatrically in the United States.

Watch trailer / Read more

Daughters of the Dust movie poster
Albany Film Festival speaker

Join director-screenwriter Julie Dash and film editor Amy Carey Linton for a conversation about "Daughters of the Dust" at the 3rd Annual Albany Film Festival on Saturday, April 1.


Helen Andrews and Jill Filipovic

Thursday, February 16

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

Jill Filipovic's "OK Boomer" book

Jill Filipovic, journalist, lawyer, and weekly columnist for CNN who champions feminism in American politics and culture, is the author of OK Boomer, Let's Talk: How My Generation Got Left Behind (paperback, 2020).


The Washington Post said, “Particularly relevant in an election year...This book is full of data—on the economy, technology, and more—that will help millennials articulate their generational rage and help boomers understand where they’re coming from.”

Photo credit: Gary He

Read more

Helen Andrews' Boomers book

Helen Andrews, conservative columnist, is the senior editor
of The American Conservative, former managing editor of The Washington Examiner, and former associate editor of The National Review.


Her recent book is BOOMERS: The Men and Women Who Promised Freedom and Delivered Disaster (2021). Noted Stanford University literary scholar Terry Castle said, “Baby Boomers (and I confess I am one): prepare to squirm and shake your increasingly arthritic little fists. For here comes essayist Helen Andrews.”

Photo credit: Jon Meadows

Indignation movie poster


7 p.m. Friday, February 17

Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue, Downtown Campus

Free parking. See map.


(United States, 2016, 110 minutes, color, Rated R) Directed by James Schamus. Starring Logan Lerman, Sarah Gadon, Tracy Letts.


Major American screenwriter James Schamus — known for his many collaborations with director Ang Lee — adapted and directed this film based on Philip Roth’s 2008 novel about an awkward and introverted young Jewish man who enrolls in a Christian college in Ohio in order to escape being drafted into the Korean War.

Watch trailer / Read reviews

Albany Film Festival speaker

Join James Schamus for a conversation about his many films -- including "The Ice Storm"; "Eat, Drink, Man, Woman"; "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon"; "The Wedding Banquet"; "Sense and Sensibility"; and "Lust, Caution" -- at the 3rd Annual Albany Film Festival on Saturday, April 1.

Terri Givens' "Radical Empathy" book cover

Terri Givens

7 p.m. Tuesday, February 21

Campus Center Ballroom, University at Albany 

Note: While this event is free, registration will be required. Visit the University's Office of Diversity and Inclusion for more details.

See map.


Terri Givens, renowned political scientist and thought leader, is the author of Radical Empathy: Finding a Path to Bridging Racial Divides (paperback, 2022), a book that addresses the global problems of hatred and xenophobia through a focused program of teaching empathy.


She offers a revolutionary approach to ending racism— moving beyond an understanding of others’ lives and pain to recognize the origins of our own biases, including internalized oppression.

The founder of the Center for Higher Education Leadership and Brighter Professional Development, Givens is currently a Professor of Political Science at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. A sought-after speaker, she uses her platform to encourage personal growth through empathy. She is also the author or coauthor of several scholarly works on racism and immigration, including The Roots of Racism: The Politics of White Supremacy in the US and Europe (2022), Immigration in the 21st Century (2020), Legislating Equality (2014), and Immigration Policy and Security (2008).


Sponsored by the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs, Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Student Association, and Honors College in collaboration with the NYS Writers Institute.

Online-only book talk

6:15 p.m. Monday, February 27


 The NYS Writers Institute and the Historic Albany Foundation have teamed up for a one-night only online book club event to discuss The Crazy Ladies of Pearl Street by Trevanian. 
Paul Grondahl will b
e the moderator. 

“As legendary writer Trevanian lovingly re-creates the neighborhood of his youth in this funny, deeply moving coming-of-age novel, he also paints a vivid portrait of a neighborhood, a city, a nation in turmoil, and the people waiting for a better life to begin. It’s a heartfelt and unforgettable look back at one child’s life in the 1930s and ’40s, a story that will be remembered long after the last page is turned.”

CrazyLadies 16x9.jpg

Jessica Valenti

Thursday, March 2

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

See map.


Jessica Valenti, UAlbany graduate, is "one of the most successful and
visible feminists of her generation” (The Washington Post). The UK Guardian named her one of the “Top 100 Inspiring Women in Writing and Academia,” and “the pioneering blogger whose online activism dragged feminism into the 21st century.”

A bestselling author, she earned her B.A. in 2001, double-majoring in Women’s Studies (now Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies) and English. Some of her many acclaimed books include Believe Me: How Trusting Women Can Change the World (2020), Sex Object: A Memoir (2016), and The Purity Myth: How America's Obsession with Virginity
Is Hurting Young Women

Read more /

Watch video of Jessica Valenti & Roxane Gay in conversation

With generous support from the UAlbany Alumni Association. Cosponsored by the Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and the Office of Health Promotion in association with Gender and Sexuality Month.

Jessica Valenti, photo credit Leslie Hassler

Photo credit Leslie Hassler

Jessica Valenti, Sex Object-190.jpg

"Last Exit to Brooklyn"

7 p.m. Friday, March 3

Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue, Downtown Campus

Free parking. See map.

 (United States, 1989, 102 minutes, color, Rated R)
Directed by Uli Edel. Starring Stephen Lang, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Burt Young.

Set in the working class underbelly of Brooklyn in the 1950s, amid a milieu of union corruption, prostitution and violence, this award-winning film stars Stephen Lang as a factory shop steward who falls in love with a transgender woman. Desmond Nakano adapted the script from the underground classic 1964 novel by Hubert Selby Jr., the subject of obscenity trials and book bans.

Watch trailer / Read more

Last Exit to Brooklyn movie poster
Albany Film Festival speaker

Join major American actor Stephen Lang for a conversation about "Last Exit to Brooklyn" at the

3rd Annual Albany Film Festival on Saturday,

 April 1.

A star of both the Broadway stage and Hollywood screen, Lang portrays the main antagonist Colonel Miles Quaritch in "Avatar" (2009) and "Avatar: The Way of Water" (2022).


Paulina Porizkova

7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 7

Conversation / Q&A, Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue, Albany NY 12203

See map.

Hosted by Marion Roach Smith, author of The Memoir Project: A Thoroughly Non-Standardized Text for Writing & Life.

Free and open to the public. No registration required.


Paulina Porizkova, one of the best-known supermodels of the 1980’s, presents her new memoir, No Filter: The Good, the Bad, and the Beautiful (2022). Major novelist Ann Patchett called it, “A book about a rare life, profound love, profound grief, anxiety, self-assurance, empowerment, aging, loss, and joy,” and said, “It is nuanced, complex, insightful, helpful, and constantly surprising.”


Born in Czechoslovakia during the Cold War, Porizkova appeared on her first Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue cover in 1984, and became the face of Estée Lauder in 1989.

No Filter explores her extraordinary career, the experience of aging, and her long and often painful relationship with Ric Ocasek, frontman of The Cars, who died in 2019. It appears on “Must-Read” lists in numerous media outlets, including TIME, Good Morning America, and the New York Post.

Read more / Watch video

Paulina Porizkova's No Filter book cover
Hernan Diaz, credit Jason Fulford
Hernan Diaz's Trust book cover

Hernan Diaz in conversation with Paul Stasi

Thursday, March 9

4:30 p.m. — Craft Talk, Standish Room, Science Library (3rd Floor)

7:30 p.m. — Conversation / Q&A, Multi-Purpose Room, Campus Center West Addition See map.

Read an excerpt from Trust by Hernan Diaz

Hernan Diaz, Pulitzer-nominated fiction writer and former UAlbany faculty member, is the author of the acclaimed new novel, Trust (2022), a mind-blowing and multi-layered narrative, the book is composed of four manuscripts, each telling a different version of the life of a Wall Street tycoon and his wife, building to Black Thursday and the Great Depression.


One of the most talked-about novels of the year, Trust was named one of the “Top Ten Books of 2022” in both the New York Times and the Washington Post, and long-listed for the Booker Prize. Born in Argentina and raised in Sweden, Diaz was Assistant Professor in the University at Albany's Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures in the 2000s and 2010s. His first novel, In the Distance (2017), was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

Read more

Paul Stasi

Paul Stasi is a UAlbany English Associate Professor and a friend of Hernan Diaz who is thanked in the acknowledgments of Trust. He researches and teaches in the areas of Modernism, 20th-century Anglophone writing, Marxist, aesthetic, and postcolonial theory, and silent film.


His new book is The Persistence of Realism in Modernist Fiction (2022), from Cambridge University Press. Previous books include Modernism, Imperialism and the Historical Sense (2012), Ezra Pound in the Present (co-editor 2016), and Deadwood and the End of American Empire (co-editor 2013).

Cosponsored by the English Department’s Creative Writing Program and Young Writers Program, and the Department of Latin American, Caribbean and U.S. Latino Studies.



7 p.m. Friday, March 10

Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue, Downtown Campus

Free parking. See map.


(United States, 2022, 130 minutes, color, Rated PG-13)

Directed by Chinonye Chukwu. Starring Danielle Deadwyler, Jalyn Hall, Frankie Faison, Whoopi Goldberg.

“Till” is a profoundly emotional and cinematic film about the true story of Mamie Till-Mobley’s relentless pursuit of justice for her 14-year-old son, Emmett Till, who, in 1955, was lynched while visiting his cousins in Mississippi. In Mamie’s poignant journey of grief turned to action, we see the universal power of a mother’s ability to change the world.

Read more

Albany Film Festival speaker

Join screenwriter and producer Keith Beauchamp for a conversation about the film "Till" at the

3rd Annual Albany Film Festival on Saturday,

 April 1.

PaulMuldoon credit Beowulf Sheehan
Paul Muldoon's "Howdie-Skelp" book cover

Paul Muldoon

7 p.m. Wednesday, March 15

Conversation/Q&A, Irish American Heritage Museum, 21 Quackenbush Square, Albany, NY 12207 (518) 427-1916

Celebrate Irish American Heritage Month with Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Paul Muldoon, “the most significant English-language poet born since the second World War” (Times Literary Supplement), and the author of more than 30 collections. In November 2022,

Irish President Michael Higgins named Muldoon the ninth “Ireland Professor of Poetry,” an honor bestowed jointly by universities and cultural organizations in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland—and a role akin to “Poet Laureate” for all of Ireland.

His most recent collection is Howdie-Skelp (2021), named for the slap in the face a midwife gives a newborn baby to wake it up. The book was named a Best Book of the Year by Financial Times, Irish Times, and The Guardian (UK).

Photo credit: Beowulf Sheehan

Read more


Sponsored by the Irish American Heritage Museum in collaboration with the NYS Writers Institute.


David Barclay Moore

6 p.m. Wednesday March 22 

Conversation / Q&A, Main Branch, Albany Public Library, Large Auditorium, 161 Washington Ave, Albany

Registration required:

David Barclay Moore is the author of the runaway middle grade bestseller, The Stars Beneath Our Feet (2017), the story of a young man who “tries to steer a safe path through the projects in Harlem in the wake of his brother’s death.” Winner of the Coretta Scott King-John Steptoe Award, the novel has been adopted as a core text in school curricula throughout the U.S. The New York Times said, "The right story at the right time…. It’s not just a narrative; it’s an experience. It’s the novel we’ve been waiting for.” 

Moore’s new novel is Holler of the Fireflies (2022), about a “boy from the hood in Brooklyn”

and his experiences at a STEM camp in Appalachia, where he encounters racism and discovers who he is, including his sexual identity. School Library Journal called it, “both timely and timeless.”

Read more

Photo credit: Timothy Greenfield-Sanders

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

David Barclay Moore, credit Timothy Greenfield-Sanders
David Barclay Moore's Holler of the Fireflies cover
Jennifer Egan, photo credit Pieter M. van Hattem
Jennifer Egan's The Candy House book cover

Jennifer Egan

Thursday, March 23

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

7:30 p.m. — Conversation / Q&A, Campus Center West Auditorium

See map.

Jennifer Egan, one of the leading fiction writers of her generation, received the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and National Book Critics Circle Award for her bestselling, structurally inventive novel, A Visit from the Goon Squad (2010), widely hailed as one of the best novels of the 21st century (The Guardian, TIME, Entertainment Weekly).


Her much-anticipated new novel, The Candy House (2022), is the story of a Silicon Valley billionaire who creates a company that allows users to upload and download human memory. Publishers Weekly called it “an electrifying and shape-shifting story that one-ups its Pulitzer-winning predecessor.” Egan served as President of the literary and human rights organization PEN America from 2018 to 2020.


Photo credit: Pieter M. van Hattem 

Read more

Cosponsored by the English Department’s Creative Writing Program and Young Writers Program, and the Honors College.


"The Drop Off" with playwright James Anthony Tyler

Staged reading followed by Q&A with playwright, director, and cast.

7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 28

Arena Theatre, UAlbany Performing Arts Center

See map.

At an assisted living facility in Las Vegas, Allain drops off her mother Delphina. When Delphina refuses to stay at the facility, memories of loss, dreams broken, and an impending eviction come to the surface in a way that may break this mother/daughter bond forever.

Directed by Joe Cacaci, the reading of this work will feature UAlbany students, working alongside professional NYC-based actors Stephanie Berry, Portia, and C. Niambi Steele, and include a conversation with the artists. 

Read more

Presented by the UAlbany Theatre Program and the Jarka and Grayce Burian Endowment in collaboration with the NYS Writers Institute.

James Anthony Tyler
Rachel Luna's Permission to Offend book cover

Rachel Luna

6 p.m. Wednesday March 29 

Journaling Workshop, Albany Public Library, Large Auditorium, 161 Washington Ave, Albany (518) 427-4300 ext. 1


4:30 p.m. Thursday, March 30

Book talk about Permission to Offend, Multi-Purpose Room, Campus Center West 

See map.

Among her many accomplishments, Rachel Luna is an innovative journaling workshop leader who will spend time in a variety of Capital Region settings imparting her knowledge and teaching her craft to young people and adults. A successful entrepreneur who teaches and speaks all around the world on confidence, leadership, entrepreneurship and freedom — Luna has been profiled in Forbes magazine (“How Breast Cancer Turned This Entrepreneur into A Better Business Woman”) and was named by that same publication one of the “Top 11 Inspiring Female Entrepreneurs to Follow on Instagram.”

A 10-year veteran of the US Marine Corps, Luna was born into a working class, migrant Puerto Rican family. Both her parents died of AIDS. She recounts her story of resilience and determination in her new book, Permission to Offend: The Compassionate Guide for Living Unfiltered and Unafraid (2023).

Read more

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


Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah

Thursday, April 6

Online event 4:30 p.m.

Meeting ID: 927 4266 4825   |   Passcode: 476971

The 7:30 p.m. in-person event has been canceled.

Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah's Chain Gang All Stars book cover
Nana Kwame Adjei Brenyah, credit Limitless Imprint Entertainment

Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, breakout bestselling author and UAlbany English Department alum, is the author of the debut novel, Chain-Gang All-Stars (May 2023), the story of two top women gladiators fighting for their freedom within a depraved private prison system not so far-removed from America’s own.


Author Kiese Laymon said in advance praise, “I’ve never read satire so bruising, so brolic, so tender and really, so pitch-perfect. It’s nuts brilliant. Just read it!”

Adjei-Brenyah took the literary world by storm with his first story collection, Friday Black (2018), a satirical look at what it’s like to be young and Black in America. In 2018, he was named a National Book Foundation “5 Under 35” honoree by Colson Whitehead.

Read more


With generous support from the UAlbany Alumni Association. Cosponsored by the English Department’s Creative Writing Program and Young Writers Program.

Due to a change in the author’s schedule, he is no longer able to join us in person. This event will now be available online. 

Sarah Schulman
United in Anger movie poster

Sarah Schulman

Monday, April 10 

7:30 p.m. -- Film screening/Q&A 

Campus Center West Boardroom (1st Floor)

See map.

Sarah Schulman, nonfiction writer, novelist, activist, screenwriter, and playwright, is the author of the landmark work of history, Let the Record Show: A Political History of ACT UP New York, 1987-1993 (2021), winner of innumerable awards and honors, including the 2022 Lambda Literary LGBTQ Nonfiction Award. Schulman is the author of more than 20 books and her newest novel, Shimmer, will be published in June 2023.

Film:  "United in Anger: A History of ACT UP"

(United States, 2012, 90 minutes, color, Unrated) Directed by Jim Hubbard. Starring David Barr, Ken Bing, Gregg Bordowitz.

Sarah Schulman co-produced this feature-length documentary, an outgrowth of her ACT UP Oral History Project. Metacritic said the film “combines startling archival footage that puts the audience on the ground with the activists… to explore… how a small group of men and women of all races and classes, came together to change the world and save each other’s lives.”

Watch trailer / Read more

Cosponsored by the LGBTQ Advisory Council, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, and the Writers Institute, with major support from an ODI Diversity Transformation Grant.

Sarah Giragosian's Marbles on the Floor book cover
David Goldsmith's On Solid Ground book cover

UAlbany Faculty Author Showcase:
Sarah Giragosian and David Goldsmith

4:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 11 

Campus Center West Boardroom (1st Floor)  See map.


Please stay after the talk to meet local publishers Hypersaturation, CLASH Books, and SUNY Press. Food will be provided.

Join us for a conversation with two members of the University at Albany faculty discussing the “journey” of making a book, including the joys and challenges of conducting research, making time to write, organizing content, editing, revising, and finding a publisher.

Sarah Giragosian is co-editor with Virginia Konchan of Marbles on the Floor: How to Assemble a Book of Poems (2023), an anthology of interconnected essays that explore the art and technique of poetry manuscript assembly. She is the author of the poetry collections Queer Fish (2017), winner of the American Poetry Journal Book Prize, and The Death Spiral (2020). A Ph.D. graduate of the UAlbany English Department, she teaches in the Writing and Critical Inquiry Program and the English Department.

David Goldsmith, geologist and Director of the UAlbany Honors College, is the author of On Solid Ground: Why the Earth Isn’t as Controversial as You May Think (2023), a book that illustrates what geologists know about the earth by telling the stories of the people who made major geological discoveries, while addressing the arguments of doubters and nay-sayers. Goldsmith joined the UAlbany community in 2022, after 25 years of teaching experience in geology, paleontology, and the history of science.

Read more


Gish Jen

7 p.m. Wednesday April 12 

Reading and McKinney Writing Contest Awards —  EMPAC Building, Rensselaer (RPI), 110 8th Street, Troy


Gish Jen, one of America’s greatest storytellers, is the author of the new book, Thank You, Mr. Nixon (2022), a collection of stories that, together, constitute “a fictional journey through U.S.-China relations, capturing the excitement of a world on the brink of tectonic change.” The New Yorker named it a “Best Book of the Year,” and Booklist said, “Jen distills five decades of cultural collision, confusion, and collaboration between the U.S. and China into 11 gorgeously comedic and heartbreaking stories.”

Gish Jen

Her most recent novel was The Resisters (2020), a tale of dystopia, climate change, and baseball that Esquire named one of the “Top 50 Sci-Fi Books of All Time.”

Read more

Sponsored by the Mary A. Earl McKinney Endowment; Rensselaer Union; School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences; Rensselaer’s Department of Communication and Media; Friends of Folsom Library; and the NYS Writers Institute.


Lyzette Wanzer

Thursday, April 13 

4:30 p.m. — Book Talk , Campus Center West Boardroom (1st Floor)

7:30 p.m. — Conversation with Lyzette Wanzer, hosted by Kyra Gaunt, UAlbany music professor, ethnomusicologist, singer-songwriter, author, and activist. Recital Hall, UAlbany Performing Arts Center

See map.

Join us for a celebration of the culture and history of African American hair identity and fashion with writer, editor, and workshop instructor, Lyzette Wanzer. In the afternoon, Ms. Wanzer will discuss her new book, Trauma, Tresses, and Truth: Untangling Our Hair Through Personal Narratives (2022), selected by Library Journal as a "Best Social Science" book of 2022.

Ms. Wanzer will answer questions about the complexities of Black identity with respect to hair. As a San Francisco-based author-activist, she will also discuss the California law known as “The CROWN Act,” which prohibits discrimination based on hair style and hair texture.


In the evening, UAlbany Professor Kyra Gaunt will host an event with the author, as well as student poets, musicians and dancers. We will also screen Ayoka Chenzira’s 10-minute animation, "Hair Piece: A story for nappy headed people" (1984).

Read more

Lyzette Wanzer's Trauma, Tresses & Truth book cover

Cosponsored by the Department of Music and Theatre, Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Intercultural Student Engagement, and the NYS Writers Institute.


Bill McKibben

7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 18 

Campus Center West Auditorium, University at Albany See map.

Bill McKibben is the author of numerous bestselling books on the environment, including The End of Nature (1989), the first book to alert general readers to the climate crisis. His new book is The Flag, the

Cross, and the Station Wagon: A Graying American Looks Back at His Suburban Boyhood and Wonders What the Hell Happened (2022), a reflection on disturbing developments in the nature of American patriotism, faith, and prosperity.


U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) said, “If we survive the interlocking plagues of climate change, right-wing authoritarianism, and savage inequality, future generations will utter the name of the New England moral visionary and activist McKibben with the reverence we speak of Emerson, Thoreau, and Garrison.”

​​Read more

Co-sponsored by UAlbany’s Office of Sustainability and the UAlbany Environmental Humanities Lab

Bill McKibben. Photo credit: StoryWorkz

Peter Orner

4:30 p.m. Wednesday April 19 

Craft talk / Q&A,

Campus Center Boardroom (1st Floor), University at Albany See map.

Moderated by Edward Schwarzschild, professor at the University at Albany and a fellow at the New York State Writers Institute.


Award-winning fiction writer and essayist Peter Orner, whose work often celebrates the joy and necessity of reading, is the author of the new essay collection, Still No Word from You: Notes in the Margin (2022), “a unique chain of essays and intimate stories that meld the lived life and the reading life.” In a starred review, Publishers Weekly said, “Pushcart Prize–winning fiction writer Orner brings his lyrical, mosaic style to the story of his own life in this gorgeous and contemplative memoir.” His previous essay collection, Am I Alone Here?, Notes on Living to Read and Reading to Live (2016), was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in Criticism.

​​Read more

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


Peniel E. Joseph

7 p.m. Wednesday April 19 

Conversation / Q&A

Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, 30 2nd St., Troy, NY 12180 

Moderated by Jennifer Burns, Ph.D, historian and lecturer in the University at Albany's Africana Studies Department

Free and open to the public.

UPDATE: Registration no longer required.

Peniel E. Joseph's The Third Reconstruction book cover

Distinguished historian of racial justice movements Peniel E. Joseph will deliver the inaugural lecture in a planned annual event in remembrance of the late Bob Doherty, former president of the Justice Center of Rensselaer County. Joseph’s new book, The Third Reconstruction: America’s Struggle for Racial Justice in the Twenty-First Century (2022), examines the racial reckoning that unfolded in 2020 in the wake of the killing of George Floyd.


Joseph argues that Black Lives Matter marks a “Third Reconstruction” in the ongoing struggle by Black Americans that is as momentous as the movements that arose after the Civil War and during the Civil Rights era of the 1960s. The Washington Post called it, “searingly relevant.”


UPDATE (4/17): Joe Donahue's interview with Peniel Joseph on the WAMC Roundtable.

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Presented by The Justice Center of Rensselaer County with support from the NYS Writers Institute and the Center for Law and Justice.


Elizabeth Graver, novelist

Tuesday, April 25 

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

7:30 p.m. — Reading/Q&A, Multi-Purpose Room, Campus Center West 

See map. 

Moderated by Edward Schwarzschild, professor at the University at Albany and a fellow at the New York State Writers Institute.

Elizabeth Graver is the author of Kantika (April 2023), a dazzling multigenerational saga about Sephardic Jewish families that moves from Istanbul to Barcelona, Havana, and New York, exploring displacement, endurance, and family as home.


Gish Jen said, “Intimately imagined, lyrically written, and rich with historical detail, Kantika weaves forced displacement, wild reinvention and triumphant healing into a big, border-crossing family saga. Marvelous!”


Graver’s fourth novel, The End of the Point, was long-listed for the 2013 National Book Award and selected as a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. Her work has been anthologized in Best American Short Stories, Best American Essays, and The O. Henry Prize Stories.

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Cosponsored by the English Department’s Creative Writing Program and Young Writers Program, and University at Albany Hillel.

Elizabeth Graver. Photo credit Adrianne Mathiowetz

Photo credit Adrianne Mathiowetz 

Elizabeth Graver, Katinka 170.jpg

Jane Curtin

 Saturday, April 29 

4 p.m. — Free event. Talk moderated by Joe Donahue of WAMC Northeast Public Radio

Main Theatre, UAlbany Performing Arts Center

See map.

Jane Curtin, two-time Emmy Award winner and one of the original “Not Ready for Prime Time Players” on “Saturday Night Live,” will join us for a Creative Life conversation moderated by WAMC Northeast Public Radio's Joe Donahue. ​​​

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Major support for The Creative Life is provided by The University at Albany Foundation with additional support from University Auxiliary Services. 


Selected Shorts

7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 29 

Main Theatre, UAlbany Performing Arts Center  


Selected Shorts logo

Lives intersect in mysterious, poignant, and hilarious ways, as Selected Shorts returns to the University at Albany for an evening of classic and contemporary stories by Ray Bradbury, Meron Hadero, Robin Hemley, and Anne Tyler. With performances by Teagle F. Bougere ("Debate: Baldwin vs. Buckley"), Jane Curtin of "Saturday Night Live," "3rd Rock from the Sun," and "Kate & Allie," and Mike Doyle ("New Amsterdam").

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

Writers Institute Director Paul Grondahl and textile artist Darius Homayounpour at the 2022 Indigo Day at UAlbany.  Photo credit: Michael Huber

Writers Institute Director Paul Grondahl and textile artist Darius Homayounpour at the 2022 Indigo Day at UAlbany.

Photo credit: Michael Huber

Magical Indigo: An indigo-dyeing workshop

Event originally scheduled for 1 p.m. Sunday, April 30, has been postponed until 1 p.m.  Monday, May 1

Multi-Purpose Room, Campus Center West Addition

A free cotton fabric will be provided to all workshop participants.

Complimentary parking in the Dutch Student South lot

Attendees may also park in the visitor (paid) parking lots.  

Join us for our second Indigo Dye Day program to mark the start of Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month. The event will again be hosted by former Writers Institute Graduate Assistant Kaori Otera Chen of the UAlbany Anthropology Department, and noted textile artist, Darius Homayounpour.


Last year’s gathering drew more than 100 people— including preschoolers, young families, UAlbany students and senior citizens— to learn about the cultural history of indigo dyeing, create an indigo textile artwork to bring home, and celebrate AAPI heritage.

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