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VIDEO: Novelist Gary Shteyngart in conversation

Congratulations to novelist Gary Shteyngart, a recent guest of the NYS Writers Institute, who was awarded an honorary degree from Amherst College on Saturday. He was also one of four authors honored at the Queens Public Library Gala last week that raised $435,000 for the library's collections, programs and services.



On April 21, Gary visited the University at Albany for a conversation about writing with Casey Seiler, editor of the Albany Times Union. The discussion covered an array of topics: writing during the pandemic, fiction, memoir, the Hudson Valley/NYC dichotomy, Gary's Ukrainian/Russian/Jewish heritage, and his botched circumcision, which he wrote about in a New Yorker essay last October.


Here is a video of the conversation. (Note: It may be helpful to turn on captions.)


Gary Shteyngart was born in Leningrad in 1972 and came to the United States seven years later.


His 2002 debut novel, The Russian Debutante’s Handbook, won the Stephen Crane Award for First Fiction and the National Jewish Book Award for Fiction. Shteyngart’s second novel, Absurdistan (2006), was named one of the 10 Best Books of the Year by The New York Times Book Review. He visited the NYS Writers Institute in 2011 to discuss his next novel, Super Sad True Love Story, which won the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize and was followed by Lake Success (2018) and Our Country Friends (2021).


He has also published a memoir, Little Failure (2014), which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. His books have been published in 30 countries. Shteyngart holds an undergraduate degree from Oberlin College and a master’s from Hunter College, at which he has also taught. He currently serves as an associate professor of writing at Columbia University.


You may purchase Gary Shteyngart's books at The Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza, among other local, independent booksellers.