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  • NYS Writers Institute

EVENT: Russell Banks & William Kennedy in conversation on Tuesday, Nov. 30



Making Sense of Memories: A Conversation with Russell Banks and William Kennedy

7:30 p.m., Campus Center West Auditorium

University at Albany

1400 Washington Avenue, Albany 12222

Free and open to the public. Masks required. The event will not be livestreamed.

Russell Banks, major American fiction writer, will discuss his new novel, Foregone (2021), in a conversation with William Kennedy.

Foregone is the story of a Vietnam War draft evader turned filmmaker as he confronts his complicated past. One of 60,000 Americans who fled to Canada to avoid military service, Leonard Fife, now in his seventies, is dying of cancer in Montreal. He has agreed to a final interview in which he is determined to bare all his secrets at last, to demythologize his mythologized life.

In a review of Foregone, The New York Times Book Review wrote: "A character, a novel and a writer determined not to go gentle into that good night."

Russell Banks is the author of poetry, nonfiction, and more than fifteen works of fiction admired for their realism and portrayal of working-class people. Cloudsplitter and Continental Drift were both finalists for the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. His work has been translated into twenty languages and has received numerous international prizes. Two of his novels, The Sweet Hereafter and Affliction, have been made into award-winning films. A member of the International Parliament of Writers and former New York State Author, Banks was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1996. He lives in upstate New York.

About William Kennedy

Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist William Kennedy is the founder and executive director of the New York State Writers Institute. In 1983 Kennedy was awarded the MacArthur Foundation "genius" grant. In 2017, he was elected to the New York State Writers Hall of Fame, and in 2018, he traveled to Dublin to receive the Presidential Distinguished Service Award for his writings about the Irish-American experience.

His novels include Changó’s Beads and Two-Tone Shoes (2011), Roscoe (2002), which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the PEN/Faulkner Award; The Flaming Corsage (1996); Very Old Bones (1992); Quinn’s Book (1988); Ironweed (1983), which received the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award; Billy Phelan’s Greatest Game (1978); Legs (1975); and The Ink Truck (1969).

Kennedy has also written two nonfiction books, O Albany! (1983), and Riding the Yellow Trolley Car (1993), the play Grand View (1996) as well as the screenplay for the The Cotton Club (1986) and Ironweed (1987)



All individuals, regardless of vaccination status, must wear a mask or other face covering while inside any UAlbany owned, operated or leased building.

Unvaccinated individuals are also required to wear face coverings in all outdoor settings. This revised mask requirement will remain in place until the University removes the requirement upon the recommendations of the CDC or other public health officials. Individuals should not attend our in-person events if they — or anyone in their household — are displaying any symptoms of COVID-19.


Courtesy parking for Writers Institute events on the Uptown Campus will be available in the State Quad Student Parking Lot one hour prior to and one hour after events.

Visitor parking lots are also available for $5 per vehicle, though parking spaces are very limited.

For a map of the UAlbany campuses including parking lots, visit


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