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A message from our director

October 7, 2021

Dear Friends of the Writers Institute:

NYS Writers Institute Director Paul Grondahl

I am writing to you with a deep sense of gratitude following our successful 4th annual Albany Book Festival on Saturday, September 25.


After more than one year of virtual events due to the pandemic, it felt wonderful to be able to host a live, in-person Book Festival again. We are thankful we were able to gather safely, with full compliance of Covid-19 protocols, to celebrate the transformative power of literature.


There was palpable joy in the air. We accomplished something special. We reclaimed a communal ritual by bringing together avid readers, passionate authors, and grateful booksellers.


Along with our State Author (Ayad Akhtar) and State Poet (Willie Perdomo) awards ceremony on Friday night, we drew an estimated 2,500 attendees at the Saturday event; spotlighted 30 featured authors; offered free tables to more than 50 local authors who sold their books in the Local Author Marketplace; provided five free online community writing workshops; gave away nearly 1,000 Albany Book Festival tote bags and bookmarks; and thanked more than 30 sponsors.


While we catch our breath, I want to remind you that it takes considerable resources to present our Albany Book Festival each fall and Albany Film Festival each spring. In addition, we host more than 70 featured author events throughout the year.


We need your help. I am asking you to consider a donation to the Writers Institute so that we can continue to offer these extraordinary programs free and open to the public.


As an added incentive, your gift to the Writers Institute will also support UAlbany student scholarships. Each dollar you donate to us now will add a dollar to the student scholarship fund, up to $100,000, thanks to a matching challenge grant.


Please consider making your donation to the Writers Institute today using this secure website, while supporting the UAlbany student scholarship fund in the process. We greatly appreciate it.


You can also donate by check. Make check payable to: The University at Albany Foundation (put Writers Institute in the memo line). Mail check to: University at Albany Foundation, P.O. Box 761, Albany, NY 12201.


Warm regards,

Paul Grondahl

Director, NYS Writers Institute at the University at Albany


See more photos from the 4th Annual Albany Book Festival

From left, State Author Ayad Akhtar, SarahLaDuke, Quiara Alegría Hudes, State Poet Willie Perdomo, at the Albany Book Festival. (Photos by Patrick Dodson / University at Albany)

From left, State Author Ayad Akhtar, Sarah LaDuke, Quiara Alegría Hudes, State Poet Willie Perdomo, at the Albany Book Festival. (Photos by Patrick Dodson / University at Albany)