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New Writers Institute exhibit at Albany International Airport

A message from NYS Writers Institute Director Paul Grondahl:

Following on the success of our previous collaboration at the Albany International Airport -- "A Writers Institute reading room opens at the Albany airport" -- we were offered additional space for an exhibit on the NYS Writers Institute in the main terminal at the airport. It has just been unveiled.

In addition to our history and the world-class authors we have brought to the UAlbany campus, we have displayed Toni Morrison’s chair, William Kennedy’s typewriter, and a poetry manuscript and other items from poet D. Colin, of Troy, a UAlbany alumna.


by Cynthia L. Haven, Stanford University

"This particular typewriter came from his mother, and Kennedy wrote the first five novels of his renowned Albany cycle on it.

In particular, he wrote Ironweed on it, and that’s the book that brought him a Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award. The photo with the typewriter was taken in 1950, when he would have been 22 – only two years older than the typewriter."

(Photo by Roger Winkelman)


We will be able to rotate items in the display cases every four to six months to highlight other University at Albany-affiliated writers and authors who have been guests at the Writers Institute.

In addition, we’ll be able to show videos on a video terminal that will be installed soon in the Reading Room on the main level and we’ll use the projection mapping show, “Passages,” and footage from our annual Albany Book Festival and other signature events.

Airport traffic has returned to about 80 percent of its 1.5 million annual pre-pandemic visitors level. The two spaces give us tremendous visibility at no charge and elevate the Writers Institute brand. We are very grateful for this high-traffic new location and we’re also in discussions about hosting pop-up literary events at the airport.

Finally, airport CEO Phil Calderone noted that USA Today reporters make annual visits to airports around the country and they list the top 5 things the airport offers. They visited the Albany airport and No. 2 on the USA Today list: The Writers Institute Reading Room.

I hope you’ll enjoy the new display next time you fly.

All the best,


Above, standing in front of the Mario & Matilda Cuomo Pavilion at the airport, Albany Airport CEO Phil Calderone, Kathy Greenwood, the airport's art and culture director, and Writers Institute Director Paul Grondahl. Below, photos from the newly installed exhibit space.


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