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  • NYS Writers Institute

Announcing the 3rd Annual Albany Book Festival...


The NYS Writers Institute’s 3rd Annual Albany Book Festival will be held September 10 through 24 with all events taking place online, free, and open to the public.

"We have pivoted to a Virtual Writers Institute for our entire fall programming, with everything offered online on the NYS Writers Institute’s YouTube channel and at,” said Writers Institute Director Paul Grondahl. “The health and safety of everyone involved is paramount and Covid-19 protocols dictate that it is not advisable or permitted to come together in large gatherings on the UAlbany campus as in previous years.”

Joyce Carol Oates spoke under a large outdoor tent at the 2019 Albany Book Festival
Remember large gatherings? Joyce Carol Oates spoke under a large outdoor tent at the 2019 Albany Book Festival

Thousands of book lovers enjoyed the 2018 and 2019 Albany Book Festival events held at the University at Albany campus. While we hope our large-scale, in-person events will return in the future, the Writers Institute staff has been working throughout the summer to put together an impressive lineup for the 2020 online festival.

“We are inspired to make this year’s virtual book festival the best experience possible,” said Grondahl.

“You’ll experience engrossing conversations with amazing featured authors, including National Book Award winner Colum McCann; National Book Award finalists Edwidge Danticat and Kali Fajardo-Anstine; Noam Chomsky, one of the most cited scholars in modern history; Sister Helen Prejean, author of Dead Man Walking; and many more. This year’s lineup reinforces our commitment to diversity and inclusion and offering voices across the spectrum.”

Special events at the Albany Book Festival will include:

  • A talk with presidential scholar Harold Holzer on his newest book, The Presidents vs. the Press: The Endless Batter Between The White House and the MediaFrom the Founding Fathers to Fake News.

  • Noam Chomsky and writer/professor Robert Pollin will discuss Climate Crisis and the Global Green New Deal.

  • Edwidge Danticat and Kali Fajardo-Anstine will participate in a one-on-one talk on the joys of the short story form.

  • A conversation about books and a bookish marriage with Cree LeFavour and Dwight Garner

  • Taking risks with your writing presented by Gish Jen and Jane Leavy.

Other featured authors include former child soldier and the Sierra Leonean and American author Ishmael Beah, Sierra Crane Murdoch, David Treuer, J. Courtney Sullivan and more, along with workshops and an online place for local authors, non-profits, and publishers to share information.

In a continued show of support for independent local bookstores, the Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza is the sole bookseller for the Albany Book Festival. All featured books can be ordered directly online through this Albany indie bookstore.

Visit for more information, and be sure to sign up for our email list to receive daily updates.


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