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  • NYS Writers Institute

Albany Book Festival: Questions and answers

"Slowly and carefully, we are reclaiming things that bring us joy. For us, that means live audiences and in-person events.

We missed seeing your smiling faces and your questions during Q&A sessions with authors.

We missed seeing you buy books to get signed by the authors.

We missed your laughter, your applause, your expressions of gratitude for this community we have created among people who believe that great literature opens our minds, touches our hearts, and nourishes our souls."

-- Paul Grondahl, Director NYS Writers Institute

Thank you for reading the information we've been posting about Saturday's Albany Book Festival.

We thought it might be helpful to share a bunch of answers to questions we've received in our emails, phone calls, and real-life conversations.

If you have any question not addressed below, you can add a comment to this post or email us at Thanks!

We encourage your attendance at the special ceremony Friday, Sept. 24, for the installation of the State Author Ayad Akhtar and State Poet Willie Perdomo.

SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras will preside over the event and many of the featured authors from Saturday's book festival plan to attend.

Join us 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 24, at the University at Albany’s Campus Center West Auditorium. Free and open to the public. More information.

When does the Albany Book Festival begin?

The book festival will be held 10:30 a.m. through 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 25, at the University at Albany. More at

What makes this year's book fest special?

This is our fourth annual book festival and the first time we're holding the event in-person since 2019. Last year's was online-only due to the pandemic.

Also, we're kicking off this year's festival with the NYS Author and NYS Poet ceremony...

What makes the State Author / State Poet event unique?

The University at Albany is the only college or university in the nation that chooses the official State Author and State Poets for its home state. More information.

Is there any fee or registration for these events?

Both events are free and open to the public. No registration required.

Will there be book signings and books for sale?

Yes and yes. One of the pleasures of attending a book festival is having your books signed by the authors. For book signing locations, visit

What if I haven't read the book(s) or I don't recognize the authors?

No worries at all. Most attendees at book festivals haven't read the books by the featured authors. There's a certain joy you'll experience when you attend a book festival and discover a new writer. It's magical!

Will there be a place for local authors, too?

We're happy we'll have scores of locally-based authors at the Albany Book Festival. They'll display and sell their works in the Campus Center Ballroom. You'll also find exhibitors in the Ballroom as well as in the Campus Center West's Great Hall. Too many names to mention here. Visit

Where do I park? Is there a parking fee?

Parking is free for both the State Author/State Poet event on Friday and the Albany Book Festival on Saturday. Here's a parking map showing the free parking lots -- marked in purple -- for both events.

For driving directions and more maps, visit

Is the campus accessible to those of us in wheelchairs?

Yes. Visit our Info Desk in the Campus Center -- indicated with the red line in the above map -- and you'll receive a print program showing locations of elevators.

Accessible parking is available for visitors who have a license plate or valid placard displaying the Universal Symbol of Access. See the teal-colored locations on this map:

What if it rains?

All events are held indoors in the University's Campus Center. Not to jinx us, but the forecast looks pretty good for Friday evening and Saturday.

Will food and drinks be available?

Yes. A wide variety of dining options are available in the Campus Center. All transactions are via credit or debit card. No cash.

What are the COVID guidelines on campus?

We will comply with all University COVID-19 protocols.

Everyone, regardless of vaccination status, must wear a mask inside all campus buildings.

Individuals who are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated must always wear a face mask outdoors while on any UAlbany campus and, whenever possible, remain physically distanced from others both indoors and outdoors.

Individuals who are fully vaccinated are strongly encouraged to wear a mask outdoors on UAlbany campuses, especially when within six feet of others.

Authors and moderators will remove masks during their talks, but attendees are required to keep masks on during the events.

The University has a more than 98% vaccination rate among students.

Do I have to stay the whole day?

Not at all. Check the schedule of events, find an author you're interested in, and attend her/his event. Lots to choose from:

More questions?

Please post a comment below and we'll answer your question. Or email us at


Albany Book Festival Sponsors

The NYS Writers Institute is grateful for the following individuals and businesses whose donations help fund this year's Albany Book Festival.


Bruce Piasecki & The Creative Force Fund


Pernille Ægidius Dake / George and Kathleen McNamee / Renaissance Corporation of Albany

Charles Touhey and Alice Green / University Auxiliary Services


Times Union / Ellen Jabbur / Stuyvesant Plaza


Laurie Bank and Stuart Freyer / A. Andrew Casano, MD & Bella Pipas / Bernard F. Conners Foundation / The Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza / Susan Novotny / CDPHP / Fenimore Asset Management / FAM Funds / Doris Fischer Malesardi / The Foy Fund / Henry Greenberg / Paul and Mary Grondahl / Heslin Rothenberg Farley & Mesiti P.C. / William and Dana Kennedy / William & Mary Jean Krackeler / Cecilia Lauenstein & Ronald Nadeau / Betsy Lopez / Mackin & Casey / Modern Press / Jeffrey Pollard / Janney Montgomery Scott, LLC / Roberta and Bob Redmond / Mary Scanlan / Herb and Cynthia Shultz / Jim and Teresa Stellar / Steve McKee Foundation / UAlbany William L. Reese Emeritus Center Three Voices Grant Program


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