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Albany Book Festival: What you need to know

"Books possess a transformative power, perhaps more so during lockdowns and quarantine. Books can open our hearts. Books can change our minds. Books transport us to places and times and situations we would never be able to visit ourselves. Books deepen our empathy and help us imagine and respect the other."

Paul Grondahl, Director, NYS Writers Institute


Hello Friends,

We kickoff our (online) Albany Book Festival tomorrow. Whoo-hoo!


  1. This year's Albany Book Festival is all online.

  2. Every event is free and and open to the public.

  3. All conversations are available on the dates listed after 1:00 pm with the exception of Sister Helen Prejean (Her event will be live at 7:30pm).

  4. All conversations are pre-recorded and available on our YouTube channel, so you can watch at your convenience, on any device.

  5. Who's coming? Click on any name below to find out more about the author/presenter.

  6. For the workshops, click on the 'register' link to save your virtual seat.

  7. We love our local authors! See a list of local writers at https://www.albanybookfestival.com/local-authors-exhibitors.

  8. We support local, independent booksellers. You can purchase books from featured authors at The Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza. You'll find links on the Featured Authors page at https://www.albanybookfestival.com/

  9. There was never a question that the NYS Writers Institute would go dark and not put on this year's book festival. We're committed to community engagement even in the face of a global pandemic.

  10. We couldn't do it without you, our community of friends who share our love of books.

Here's a listing of all events from tomorrow's conversation with New York Times bestselling author J. Courtney Sullivan all the way to the September 24 event with Sister Helen Prejean.


NYS Writers Institute’s Third Annual Albany Book Festival

Schedule of events


Thursday, September 10 at 1 p.m.

J. COURTNEY SULLIVAN

Bestselling author on her new novel Friends and Strangers

Friday, September 11 at 1 p.m. HAROLD HOLZER On his latest book The Presidents vs. The Press: The Endless Batter Between The White House and the Media—From the Founding Fathers to Fake News.

Moderated by Rex Smith, Editor-at-Large at the Times Union

Saturday, September 12 from noon to 1 p.m.

Workshop: So You’re Young and Want to Write

JACKIE ORCHARD & ELAINE SALISBURY

Click here to register on Eventbrite

Saturday, September 12 from 2 to 3 p.m.

Workshop: The How-To’s and Business End of Publishing During a Pandemic MARY VALENTIS

Click here to register on Eventbrite

Monday, September 14 at 1 p.m.

GISH JEN & JANE LEAVY

Conversation: Taking Risk with Your Writing

Gish Jen’s new book The Resisters has been nominated for a National Book Critics’ Circle Award. Jane Leavy’s new book is The Big Fella: Babe Ruth and the World He Created

Tuesday, September 15 at 1 p.m. CREE LeFAVOUR & DWIGHT GARNER

A Conversation About Books and a Bookish Marriage
Acclaimed food writer Cree LeFavour’s first novel, Private Means, was published in May, and her husband Dwight Garner is book critic for The New York Times and also a founding editor at salon.com

Wednesday, September 16 at 1 p.m.

ISHMAEL BEAH

Former child soldier, UNICEF Ambassador, on his new book Little Family

Thursday, September 17, at 1 p.m.

SIERRA CRANE MURDOCH & DAVID TREUER

On Murdoch’s first book Yellow Bird Oil, Murder, and a Woman's Search for Justice in Indian Country, and Treuer’s new book The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America from 1890 to the Present

Friday, September 18, at 1 p.m.

COLUM McCANN

National Book Award-winning author on his newest novel Apeirogon

Saturday, September 19, from 11 a.m. to noon
Workshop: Ask Tom Anything About Book Writing, Publishing, or Marketing

TOM SWYERS

Click here to register on Eventbrite

Saturday, September 19, from 2 to 3 p.m.
2:00pm-3:30pm
Workshop: Memoirama: Everything You Need To Know To Write Memoir

MARION ROACH SMITH

Click here to register on Eventbrite

Saturday, September 19, from 4 to 5 p.m.
Workshop: Hope on the Page: A Climate Writing Workshop

REIF LARSEN

Click here to register on Eventbrite

Monday, September 21, at 1 p.m. NOAM CHOMSKY & ROBERT POLLIN

Discussing their new book Climate Crisis and the Global Green New Deal
Tuesday, September 22, at 1 p.m.

EDWIDGE DANTICAT & KALI FAJARDO-ANSTINE

A Conversation About the Joys of the Short Story Form

Wednesday, September 23, at 1 p.m. MATTHEW McELLIGOTT

On his latest children’s book DO NOT EAT THE GAME!

Thursday, September 24. Live Event at 7:30 p.m. SISTER HELEN PREJEAN

Roman Catholic nun, author of Dead Man Walking, and advocate for the abolition of the death penalty

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Join us September 10-24 at the Albany Book Festival. All online, all free, and open to the public.

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NYS Writers Institute

Science Library 320

University at Albany

1400 Washington Avenue
Albany, NY 12222

(518) 442-5620

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