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Looking back on our spring season

A message from Paul Grondahl as we put a bow on our spring 2024 season of events

Hello Friends of the Writers Institute:

As I reflect on a remarkable NYS Writers Institute’s spring season and the University at Albany’s 180th commencement ceremony recently concluded, I am filled with gratitude.

I am thankful for our brilliant and dedicated Writers Institute team; for many generous donors who sustain our programming; for the unwavering support of the UAlbany administration; and, especially, for our loyal audience members who animate our literary events and create an engaged, respectful conversation between writers and readers.

As we collectively catch our breaths after presenting 35 events across 14 weeks, consider a few of the milestones of our 41st consecutive year of bringing the world’s greatest authors to Albany, which once again underscored our reputation as one of the nation’s pre-eminent literary presenting organizations.

We welcomed a former Poet Laureate of the United States; three Pulitzer Prize winners; two National Book Award winners; an Oscar-nominated playwright and director who has won Tony, Obie, and Emmy Awards; and a National Medal of Arts recipient.

We also welcomed more than a thousand attendees to our 4th Annual Albany Film Festival in April. Pictured below, NYS Writers Institute Assistant Director with legendary actress Jacqueline Bisset, who received the Ironweed Award for Exemplary Achievement in Film at the event.

We presented two local poets, Dan Wilcox and Natalya Sukhonos, (pictured below) who read their eclipse poems during an eclipse viewing celebration with thousands of UAlbany students on campus. We co-sponsored an online book club with guest author Russell Shorto and a discussion of his book, The Island at the Center of the World.  

In late April, with our colleagues at the UAlbany Performing Arts Center, we presented a sold-out performance of "Selected Shorts." And this past Saturday at UAlbany, we celebrated the life and legacy of teacher, actor, and director Grayce Susan Burian (1926-2023), who endowed our annual Burian Lecture Series that features notable theatre professionals.

Looking ahead, we're partnering on Sunday, June 30 with the New York City-based Writers Read organization on a reading of short stories by local writers about summer camp experiences at The Linda, WAMC’s performing arts venue. We continue to support the New York State Summer Writers Institute at Skidmore College each July, a collaboration still going strong after 38 years. And please mark your calendars for the 7th annual Albany Book Festival on Saturday, September 21.

We appreciate your attendance and would also love to count you among our supporters. The generosity of our donors makes it possible for us to present renowned authors free and open to all. We intend to keep it that way, and we will – for the next 41 years – with a little help from our friends.

Thank you for considering a donation. Here is a link to our online donation page.

Have a fantastic summer and happy reading,


Paul Grondahl

Paul Grondahl

Opalka Endowed Director, NYS Writers Institute at the University at Albany


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