A letter from Paul Grondahl
October 16, 2023
Dear Friend of the Writers Institute:
I am writing to share our excitement following the great success of the 6th annual Albany Book Festival presented by the New York State Writers Institute at the University at Albany on Saturday, September 23. Perhaps you attended and experienced amazing authors in panel discussions, one-on-one conversations, or at a book signing. There was a diverse and vibrant range of literary talk in the air, with strong book sales reported. We drew well over 1,000 people and large, appreciative audiences enjoyed sessions with our new State Author Jacqueline Woodson and State Poet Patricia Spears Jones; a discussion about women’s basketball with NBA Hall of Famer Seimone Augustus, ESPN host Kate Fagan and UAlbany women’s basketball coach Colleen Mullen; as well as a moving tribute to our late, great friend and acclaimed novelist Russell Banks, featuring remembrances from authors Andre Dubus III, Annie Proulx, Jennifer Haigh and Nell Irvin Painter – and many more.
The entire day was marked with a strong kinship between more than 100 authors and scores of their fans. It was joyful and hopeful. In these troubling times, with cataclysmic conflicts and existential crises, we can take refuge and comfort in the warm embrace of a good book. I appeal to you twice a year to ask for your help. It is an expensive proposition to fund our two large-scale, community events: the Albany Book Festival each fall and the Albany Film Festival each spring. We are building a nurturing, sustaining community of readers and writers. We are all in this together and we are grateful for your donation of any amount. We have a 33-event fall lineup underway and are planning our spring offerings, including the 4th annual Albany Film Festival on Saturday, April 6, 2024. Please consider donating today so that we can continue to grow this remarkable celebration of books, writers, and readers. We appreciate every contribution to help keep our programs free and open to all.
You can also donate by check, payable to: The University at Albany Foundation. Mail check to: University at Albany Foundation, P.O. Box 761, Albany, NY 12201. Please indicate in the check memo that your gift is for the NYS Writers Institute.
Paul Grondahl Opalka Endowed Director, NYS Writers Institute
Richard Russo reads from his new novel Somebody’s Fool at the University at Albany on August 29, the opening event of our Fall 2023 season. (Patrick Dodson / UAlbany)