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More Book Festival authors: Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, Emily Layden, Dana Spiotta, Ed Schwarzschild

With special thanks to Premier Sponsor Bruce Piasecki & The Creative Force Fund -- see all our sponsors below -- let's introduce four more featured authors holding a pair of events at our 4th Annual Albany Book Festival on Saturday, September 25, at the University at Albany.

Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah in conversation with Dana Spiotta

10:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 25

Campus Center Assembly Hall

Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah

Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, breakout bestselling author and UAlbany English Department alum, is the author of the short story collection, Friday Black (2018), a satirical look at what it’s like to be young and Black in America.

He also served as a judge for PEN America’s new book-length collection, Best Debut Short Stories 2021. He was named a National Book Foundation “5 Under 35” honoree by Colson Whitehead.

Dana Spiotta

Dana Spiotta, winner of the John Updike Prize in Literature, is the author of several acclaimed and bestselling novels, including Stone Arabia (2011), Eat the Document (2006) and Lightning Field (2001).

Her new novel, Wayward (2021), explores aging, the female body, and women’s experiences in the Age of Trump. It was named “A Best Book of Summer 2021” by USA Today, Town & Country, The Philadelphia Inquirer, BuzzFeed, and many more.

Emily Layden in conversation with Ed Schwarzschild

11:45 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 25

Campus Center Assembly Hall

Emily Layden

Emily Layden's debut novel All Girls (2021) is a coming-of-age story set in a New England boarding school, against the backdrop of a scandal that the school administration would prefer to cover up and ignore.

The New York Times reviewer said, “The pages turn fast and the girls are complex, compelling and written with incredible tenderness. Layden excels at rendering the everyday details of boarding school life.”

Special thanks to Emily Layden for her running an online workshop on Sunday on pitching your book. More online workshops.

Ed Schwarzschild

Ed Schwarzschild’s new novel is In Security (2020), the tale of a man, beset by personal troubles, who takes a job with the TSA at an Upstate New York airport. Equal parts thriller, family drama and love story, the novel explores how those who strive to protect us are often unable to protect themselves. UAlbany Professor of English and Creative Writing Program Director, Schwarzschild is a Fellow of the NYS Writers Institute.

Want to buy the books

You may purchase the books and get them signed at the book festival. You may also purchase them in advance at the local, independent Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza.


About the Albany Book Festival

The fourth annual event, on Saturday, Sept. 25, at the University at Albany, will be held in-person for the first time since 2019. Events will begin at 10:30 a.m. and conclude at 5 p.m. All events are free and open to the public. More information at

The list of Albany Book Festival guests includes (subject to change):

  • Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah (Friday Black: Stories),

  • Ayad Akhtar (Homeland Elegies),

  • Robert Boyers (The Tyranny of Virtue: Identity, The Academy, and the Hunt for Political Heresies),

  • Elizabeth Brundage (The Vanishing Point),

  • Mary Gaitskill (This is Pleasure),

  • Garth Greenwell (Cleanness),

  • Farah Jasmine Griffin (Read Until You Understand: The Profound Wisdom of Black Life and Literature),

  • Janell Hobson (When God Lost Her Tongue: Historical Consciousness and the Black Feminist Imagination),

  • Quiara Alegría Hudes (My Broken Language: A Memoir, co-wrote the Tony Award-winning stage musical "In the Heights" with Lin-Manuel Miranda.),

  • Amitava Kumar (A Time Outside This Time),

  • Reif Larsen (Uma Wimple Charts her House),

  • Emily Layden (All Girls),

  • Ed Lin (David Tung Can’t Have a Girlfriend Until He Gets Into an Ivy League College),

  • George Makari (Of Fear and Strangers: A History of Xenophobia),

  • Bethany C. Morrow (So Many Beginnings: A Little Women Remix),

  • Peter Osnos (An Especially Good View: Watching History Happen),

  • Jay Parini (Borges and Me: An Encounter),

  • David Pietrusza (Too Long Ago: A Childhood Memoir. A Vanished World.),

  • Nathaniel Philbrick (Travels with George: In Search of Washington and His Legacy),

  • David Rohde (In Deep: The FBI, the CIA, and the Truth about America’s “Deep State”),

  • Ed Schwarzschild (In Security),

  • Dana Spiotta (Wayward),

  • Setsuko Winchester ( and

  • Simon Winchester (LAND: How the Hunger for Ownership Shaped the Modern World).

The book festival will also include a Local Authors Marketplace, readings by young local writers published in Skribblers magazine; and readings from banned books to help kick off Banned Books Week beginning September 26 with the theme, “Books Unite Us. Censorship Divides Us.” The festival’s children’s programming is organized by Skribblers and the Albany Public Library.

More information at

Albany Book Festival Sponsors

The NYS Writers Institute is grateful for the following individuals and businesses whose donations help fund this year's Albany Book Festival.


Bruce Piasecki & The Creative Force Fund


Pernille Ægidius Dake / George and Kathleen McNamee / Renaissance Corporation of Albany

Charles Touhey and Alice Green / University Auxiliary Services


Times Union / Ellen Jabbur / Stuyvesant Plaza


Laurie Bank and Stuart Freyer / A. Andrew Casano, MD & Bella Pipas / Bernard F. Conners Foundation / The Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza / Susan Novotny / CDPHP / Fenimore Asset Management / FAM Funds / Doris Fischer Malesardi / The Foy Fund / Henry Greenberg / Paul and Mary Grondahl / Heslin Rothenberg Farley & Mesiti P.C. / William and Dana Kennedy / William & Mary Jean Krackeler / Betsy Lopez / Mackin & Casey / Modern Press / Jeffrey Pollard / Janney Montgomery Scott, LLC / Roberta and Bob Redmond / Mary Scanlan / Herb and Cynthia Shultz / Jim and Teresa Stellar / Steve McKee Foundation / UAlbany William L. Reese Emeritus Center Three Voices Grant Program


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