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A letter from Paul Grondahl

September 26, 2019

Dear Friend of the Writers Institute: 


I am writing to you with a sense of purpose and accomplishment, fresh off the extraordinary success of the 2nd Annual Albany Book Festival presented by the New York State Writers Institute at the University at Albany on Saturday, September 14. 


I hope you had a chance to join us for this exciting event, which drew thousands of book lovers and avid readers to campus. Attendees enjoyed energizing and meaningful conversations with best-selling authors Joyce Carol Oates, Jamaica Kincaid, Sylvia Day, Dani Shapiro, Will Schwalbe, Madhur Jaffrey, Eric Foner, Harold Holzer and many more featured authors.

NYS Writers Institute Director Paul Grondahl

We also hosted more than 100 local authors, booksellers, small publishers and literary organizations at our large and lively marketplace and book signing area in the Campus Center Ballroom. Our children’s area was brimming with energy and activities for young readers, including morning kids’ yoga with children’s author Susan Verde. We also held an open mic session with young writers reading their work. Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan presented certificates and Book House gift cards to the young writers. This was part of our literacy initiative, which included collecting donated children’s books for underserved Albany schoolchildren.


The Albany Book Festival’s success hinged on the dedication of the Writers Institute team and the wonderful support of dozens of community volunteers and UAlbany student volunteers. In addition, we received widespread media coverage from the Times Union, WAMC, WRGB-Channel 6, the UAlbany campus newspaper, WMHT and other media outlets. If you were unable to attend, please view a slideshow of photos from the event. 


Now, I am asking for your support to ensure that the 3rd Annual Albany Book Festival in the fall of 2020 is another great success. These large events – which we keep free and open to the public through sponsorships and donations – uplift our entire community with the positive and transformative power of books. In order to continue this amazing annual event, we need financial support from friends of the Writers Institute like you.


Please consider making a donation today so that we can continue to grow this remarkable celebration of books, writers and readers. We appreciate your contribution. 


Here is a secure link to make an online donation.


Or, you can donate by check, payable to: The University at Albany Foundation. Mail check to: University at Albany Foundation, University at Albany, 1400 Washington Ave. UAB 226, Albany, NY 12222. 


Please indicate in the check memo that your gift is for the NYS Writers Institute.



Paul Grondahl 

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