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A conversation with Writers Institute founder and Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist William Kennedy


Paul Grondahl and William Kennedy, June 2019. (Photo credit: Michael Huber)

Over the course of one hour, ten minutes and a couple glasses of wine, Writers Institute Director Paul Grondahl enjoyed a leisurely conversation with his mentor, Writers Institute founder and Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist William Kennedy, about everything under the sun: the merits of Cote du Rhone versus Rioja or Malbec; memories of Kennedy’s grandfather who died as a result of the 1918 influenza pandemic; his criticism of the Trump Administration’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic; presidents he admired for handling a crisis; a new novel he is working on; how today’s journalists are covering the pandemic and the havoc Covid-19 is wreaking on all manner of things; and the writing life at age 92.

We ended the conversation with an appeal to support the William J. Kennedy Writers Institute Endowment Fund, which was begun with the help of our Friends of Writing advisory group to mark Kennedy’s 90th birthday. The fund supports the Writers Institute’s programming, including its large community events -- the Albany Book Festival and Albany Film Festival.


We hope that all friends of Bill and fans of his writing will make a donation in his honor to this wonderful organization he created in 1983. We appreciate your generous gift to ensure continued success for one of the nation’s pre-eminent literary presenting organizations. We are thankful for your support of Bill and the Writers Institute.

Here is a direct link to make an online donation to the William J. Kennedy Writers Institute Endowment Fund: www.albany.edu/giving/nyswi


NYS Writers Institute

Science Library 320

University at Albany

1400 Washington Avenue
Albany, NY 12222

(518) 442-5620

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