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  • NYS Writers Institute

A message from Paul Grondahl

The Campus Center West Auditorium during the 5th Annual Albany Book Festival on Saturday, Sept. 17. (Photo by Patrick Dodson/UAlbany)

September 30, 2022

Dear Friend of the Writers Institute:

I am writing to you with a sense of accomplishment, fresh off the great success of the 5th Annual Albany Book Festival presented by the New York State Writers Institute at the University at Albany on Saturday, September 17. It was a day of excitement, energy, and enthusiasm.

I am also asking for your help so that we continue to showcase the transformative power of literature as we build a community where readers and writers meet and engage in conversation.

I hope you had a chance to join us for the Albany Book Festival, which drew a couple thousand book lovers to campus. Attendees enjoyed meaningful panel discussions on topics ranging from immigration to food to parenting to New York State history. We featured acclaimed authors Susan Choi, Francine Prose, Ben McGrath, Jason Riley, Jim Shepard, Julia May Jonas, and dozens more. A highlight was a tribute to Hunter S. Thompson from those who knew him: Douglas Brinkley, William Kennedy, and Garry Trudeau, creator of the “Doonesbury” comic strip that featured Uncle Duke as the gonzo journalist.

We also hosted more than 90 local authors, booksellers, small publishers, and literary organizations. We featured sessions with UAlbany alumni, faculty, and emeritus faculty authors. Our children’s area, in collaboration with Albany Public Library, was brimming with energy and activities for young readers. We featured readings from young contributors to Skribblers magazine, which promotes literacy and fosters creativity in youngsters. The book festival featured open mic sessions with UAlbany students and members of the Writers Institute-sponsored Capital Region Poets Workshop. Finally, we launched “The Writers Institute,” a five-part podcast produced by Adam Colman on Literary Hub that draws on our extraordinary audio archives. If you were unable to attend the Albany Book Festival, please visit our website to view a gallery of photos from this terrific event.

Now, I am asking for your support to ensure that the 6th Annual Albany Book Festival in the fall of 2023 is another rousing success. These large events – which we keep free and open to the public through sponsorships and donations – uplift our entire community and book lovers of all ages. To continue this amazing annual event, we need financial support from friends of the Writers Institute like you. Please consider donating today so that we can continue to grow this remarkable celebration of books, writers, and readers. We appreciate every contribution.

To make an online donation, visit: Support our Work.

Or you can 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, Director, NYS Writers Institute


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