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  • NYS Writers Institute

Food writer Ruth Reichl, designer Debbie Millman and author Roxane Gay coming in the fall

The producers of The Creative Life: A Conversation Series at UAlbany are pleased to announce the first three guests for 2021-22: chef/food writer Ruth Reichl, author/social commentator Roxane Gay, and designer Debbie Millman.

The conversations this fall will take place at the UAlbany Performing Arts Center on the University at Albany’s uptown campus at 1400 Washington Avenue. All Creative Life events are free and open to the public. The schedule is as follows:

Ruth Reichl - 7 p.m. Tuesday, October 5

Ruth Reichl

Ruth Reichl began writing about food in 1972 when she published Mmmmm: A Feastiary. Since then, she has authored the critically acclaimed, best-selling memoirs Tender at the Bone; Comfort Me with Apples, Garlic and Sapphires; and For You Mom, Finally. She also has a novel, Delicious!, and a cookbook, My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes That Saved My Life.

Reichl was Editor in Chief of Gourmet Magazine from 1999 to 2009. Before that she was the restaurant critic of both The New York Times (1993-1999) and the Los Angeles Times (1984-1993), where she was also named food editor. Reichl hosted Eating Out Loud, three specials on Food Network. She is the executive producer of Gourmet’s Diary of a Foodie, public television’s 30-episode series, and Executive Producer/host of Gourmet’s Adventures with Ruth, a 10-episode public television event. She was also a judge on Top Chef Masters.

Debbie Millman and Roxane Gay - 7 p.m. Tuesday, November 2

The designer and author are married and will be interviewed as a couple.

Debbie Millman
Debbie Millman

A UAlbany alum, designer Debbie Millman is also an author, educator, curator and host of the podcast Design Matters, one of the world’s first and longest running podcasts. Millman has written six books and has two books of illustrated essays. Her latest publication is Why Design Matters, just recently released by HarperCollins.

Her illustrated works have appeared in publications such as The New York Times, New York Magazine, Print Magazine, Design Observer and Fast Company. Millman’s artwork is included in the Boston Biennale, Chicago Design Museum, Anderson University, School of Visual Arts, Long Island University, The Wolfsonion Museum and the Czong Institute for Contemporary Art.

Roxane Gay

Roxane Gay’s writing appears in Best American Mystery Stories 2014, Best American Short Stories 2012, Best Sex Writing 2012, A Public Space, McSweeney’s, Tin House, Oxford American, American Short Fiction, Virginia Quarterly Review, and many others. She is a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times.

Gay is the author of the books Ayiti, An Untamed State, the New York Times bestselling, the nationally bestselling Difficult Women and The New York Times bestsellers Bad Feminist and Hunger.

She is also the author of World of Wakanda for Marvel. She has several books forthcoming, is at work on television and film projects and has a newsletter, The Audacity.

The Creative Life series is a major arts initiative of the University Art Museum, New York State Writers Institute and UAlbany Performing Arts Center in conjunction with WAMC Public Radio. Sponsored by The University at Albany Foundation, the series features live onstage interviews conducted by WAMC’s "Roundtable" host Joe Donahue with artists of national and international prominence in conversation about their creative inspiration, their craft, their careers and the demands of sustaining an artistic practice over time. A question and answer period closes each program.

Creative Life guests span the creative disciplines including writing, music, dance, choreography, visual arts, architecture, theatre, filmmaking and more. The series celebrates the depth and range of artistic practices, helps to demystify the creative process for the audience and explores what it means to dedicate one’s life to a creative pursuit. It is also intended to bring attention to the vibrant arts community on the University at Albany campus.

Guests for the previous four seasons of the Creative Life series included fiction writer Joyce Carol Oates, tap dancer-choreographer Savion Glover, jazz violinist Regina Carter, painter David Salle, Young Adult author Lois Lowry, choreographer Garth Fagan, Broadway star Patti LuPone, Warhol film star Bibbe Hansen, sculptor Jean Shin, author/essayist Esmeralda Santiago, New Yorker journalist/author Susan Orlean, comedian/actor Paul Reiser, high-wire artist Philippe Petit, rapper Rakim and novelist Jhumpa Lahiri.

Art critic Jerry Saltz’s March 2020 appearance in the series was postponed due to the pandemic and will be rescheduled for a later date. Additional guests will also be added for the spring of 2022.

Major support for The Creative Life is provided by The University at Albany Foundation with additional support from University Auxiliary Services.

More information can be obtained by calling the UAlbany Performing Arts Center’s box office at (518) 442-3997.


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