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FEATURED AUTHORS

COVID PROTOCOL FOR ALL IN-PERSON EVENTS: 
All individuals, regardless of vaccination status, must wear a mask or other face covering while inside any UAlbany owned, operated or leased building. Unvaccinated individuals are also required to wear face coverings in all outdoor settings. This revised mask requirement will remain in place until the University removes the requirement upon the recommendations of the CDC or other public health officials. Individuals should not attend our in-person events if they—or anyone in their household—are displaying any symptoms of COVID-19. 
For the most up-to-date event information, visit our website: www.nyswritersinstitute.org 

All events Saturday, September 25, 2021

List of Authors: Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah | Ayad Akhtar | Robert Boyers | Elizabeth Brundage Mary Gaitskill Garth Greenwell Farah Jasmine Griffin | Janell Hobson | Quiara Alegria Hudes Amitava Kumar | Reif Larsen Emily Layden Ed Lin George Makari | Bethany C. Morrow | Peter Osnos | Jay Parini | Willie PerdomoDavid Pietrusza | Nathaniel Philbrick | David Rohde | Ed Schwarzschild | Dana Spiotta | Setsuko Winchester | Simon Winchester

 
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NANA KWAME ADJEI-BRENYAH

In-conversation with Dana Spiotta
10:30am – 11:30am, Campus Center Assembly Hall

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.

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AYAD AKHTAR

In-conversation with State Poet Willie Perdomo
11:45 a.m. — 12:30 p.m., Campus Center West Auditorium

In-conversation with Amitava Kumar, Interviewed by WAMC’s Joe Donahue
2:45 p.m. — 3:30 p.m., Campus Center West Auditorium

Ayad Akhtar, newly appointed New York State Author (2021-23) wrote the national bestseller, Homeland Elegies (2020), about a Muslim-American family’s search for belonging in Trump’s America. The novel was named a “Best Book of 2020” by the New York Times, Washington Post, O. Magazine and NPR. Also a playwright, Akhtar received the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for “Disgraced,” a play that explores Islamophobia and Muslim-American identity. Read more

 
 
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ROBERT BOYERS

In-conversation with Mary Gaitskill
11:45 a.m. — 12:30 p.m., Campus Center West Boardroom

In-conversation with Garth Greenwell
1:45 p.m. — 2:30 p.m., Campus Center West Boardroom

Robert Boyers, director of the New York State Summer Writers Institute at Skidmore College, is the author of The Tyranny of Virtue: Identity, The Academy, and the Hunt for Political Heresies (2019), a provocative essay collection about the decline of civility and academic freedom promoted by excesses of political correctness. Jamaica Kincaid said, “The life of the academy should remain sacred, and this book makes a splendid case for it.” 

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ELIZABETH BRUNDAGE

In conversation with Professor Rae Muhlstock, UAlbany English Department
2:45 p.m. — 3:30 p.m., Campus Center Assembly Hall

Elizabeth Brundage, acclaimed fiction writer who makes her home in Albany, is the author of The Vanishing Point (2021), a literary thriller that Harlen Coben on the TODAY Show named one of “5 Books to Read This Summer.” Her earlier novel, All Things Cease to Appear (2016), was adapted as the 2021 Netflix horror movie, Things Heard & Seen, starring Amanda Seyfried and James Norton.

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MARY GAITSKILL

In-conversation with Robert Boyers
11:45 a.m. — 12:30 p.m., Campus Center West Boardroom

Mary Gaitskill is celebrated for her explorations of sexuality, abuse, self-destructive behaviors, and female friendship. Her forthcoming book is The Devil’s Treasure (Oct. 2021), a daring hybrid of fiction, memoir, essay, and visual art. Her novels include This Is Pleasure (2019), a nuanced examination of gender relations in the #MeToo era, and the National Book Award finalist, Veronica, a tale of friendship set amid the excesses of the 1980s art scene. Read more

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GARTH GREENWELL

In-conversation with Robert Boyers
1:45 p.m. — 2:30 p.m., Campus Center West Boardroom

Garth Greenwell’s first novel, What Belongs to You (2016)—named a Best Book of the Year by more than fifty major publications— tells the story of a Gay American teacher of English and his search for love in Sofia, Bulgaria. His second novel, Cleanness (2020), revisits the same Bulgarian milieu. New York Times critic Dwight Garner called it “Incandescent,” and said, “Greenwell has an uncanny gift, one that comes along rarely.” Read more

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FARAH JASMINE GRIFFIN

In-conversation with Janell Hobson
12:45 p.m. — 1:30 p.m., Campus Center Assembly Hall

Farah Jasmine Griffin is the author of a new book of memoir, history, and literary art, Read Until You Understand: The Profound Wisdom of Black Life and Literature (2021). Cornel West said, “A masterpiece… Griffin’s magical words enchant and empower us like those of her towering heroes.” One of the book’s featured authors is UAlbany’s own Toni Morrison (1931-2019). Griffin is Chair of African American & African Diaspora Studies at Columbia University. Read more

 
 
 
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JANELL HOBSON

In-conversation with Farah Jasmine Griffin
12:45 p.m. — 1:30 p.m., Campus Center Assembly Hall

Janell Hobson’s new book is When God Lost Her Tongue: Historical Consciousness and the Black Feminist Imagination (2021). Ibram X. Kendi called it, “imperative,” and said, “It clearly and profoundly demonstrates the liberating power of the Black feminist imagination." Chair of UAlbany’s Department of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Hobson is a frequent contributor and author of several cover stories for Ms. MagazineRead more

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QUIARA ALEGRÍA HUDES

Interviewed by WAMC’s Sarah LaDuke
1:45 p.m. — 2:30 p.m., Campus Center West Auditorium

Quiara Alegría Hudes is coauthor with Lin-Manuel Miranda of the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical “In the Heights” (2005)— now a 2021 motion picture— about Dominican-American life in NYC’s Washington Heights. Hudes received the Pulitzer Prize for her 2012 drama, “Water by the Spoonful,” about wounded Iraq War veteran Elliot Ortiz. My Broken Language (2021) is her memoir of growing up in the North Philadelphia barrio in a large Puerto Rican family.

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AMITAVA KUMAR

In-conversation with Ayad Akhtar, Interviewed by WAMC’s Joe Donahue
2:45 p.m. — 3:30 p.m., Campus Center West Auditorium

Amitava Kumar is the acclaimed author of A Time Outside This Time (2021), a novel about one man’s quest, in the Trump era, to understand truth, fiction, memory and fake news. Previous books include A Foreigner Carrying in the Crook of His Arm a Tiny Bomb (2010), a nonfiction meditation on the “War on Terror,” and Husband of a Fanatic (2005), about his marriage as a Hindu Indian-American to a Pakistani Muslim woman.

 
 
 
 
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REIF LARSEN

In-conversation with David Pietrusza
3:45 p.m. — 4:30 p.m., Campus Center West Boardroom

Reif Larsen is the founder of The Future of Small Cities Institute, an organization based in Troy, NY that cultivates resilient communities by offering just and sustainable solutions for small and mid-sized metro areas. Larsen's bestselling 2009 novel, The Selected Works of T. S. Spivet, was adapted as a 2013 movie starring Kathy Bates and Helena Bonham-Carter. He is the coauthor of the new children's book, Uma Wimple Charts Her House (2021), a fun and creative introduction to the art of data visualization.

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EMILY LAYDEN

In-conversation with Edward Schwarzschild
11:45 a.m. — 12:30 p.m., Campus Center Assembly Hall

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.”  

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ED LIN

In-conversation with Bethany C. Morrow
2:45 p.m. — 3:30 p.m., Campus Center West Boardroom

Ed Lin, notable mystery writer, is the author of the debut YA novel, David Tung Can't Have a Girlfriend Until He Gets Into an Ivy League College (2020), a story that explores young adulthood in the Asian diaspora while navigating relationships through race, class and love. Playwright David Henry Hwang called it, “A beautifully observed, hilariously truthful, uplifting coming-of-age story that captures the heart and humanity of a Chinese American male teenager.” 

 
 
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GEORGE MAKARI

In conversation with NYS Writers Institute Director Mark Koplik
3:45 p.m. — 4:30 p.m., Campus Center Assembly Hall

George Makari's new book is Of Fear and Strangers: A History of Xenophobia (2021). Professor of Psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College and the son of Lebanese immigrants, Makari draws on insights from psychology, medicine, history, literature and his own family experience. Previous works include Soul Machine: The Invention of the Modern Mind (2015), a Guardian "Book of the Year," and Revolution in Mind: The Creation of Psychoanalysis (2008), which The Economist called “electrifying.” 

 

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BETHANY C. MORROW

In-conversation with Ed Lin
2:45 p.m. — 3:30 p.m., Campus Center West Boardroom

Bethany C. Morrow is a bestselling YA and adult author who writes in many genres. Her books include So Many Beginnings: A Little Women Remix (2021), a Black reimagining of Louisa May Alcott’s classic; the Amazon #1 Black YA bestseller, A Song Below Water (2020) and its sequel, A Chorus Rises (2021), featuring tales of young women (“Sirens”) with magical powers in contemporary America; and Mem (2018), a Buzzfeed #1 Book of Spring. 

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In conversation with NYS Writers Institute Director Paul Grondahl 
12:45 p.m. — 1:30 p.m., Campus Center Boardroom

Peter Osnos is the author of An Especially Good View: Watching History Happen (2021), a memoir of his legendary career as a foreign correspondent and editor at the Washington Post (1966-1984), and as editor and publisher at Random House and PublicAffairs, which he founded in 1997. During his long career, Osnos worked on books with Barack Obama, Donald Trump, Bill Clinton, Nancy Reagan, Jimmy Carter, Boris Yeltsin, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, and many others.

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JAY PARINI

In-conversation with Daniel Sherrell, winner of the Bruce Piasecki and Andrea Masters Award on Business and Society Writing
10:30 a.m. — 11:30 a.m., Campus Center Boardroom

Jay Parini is celebrated for his literary biographies and biographical novels. His subjects have included Robert Frost, William Faulkner and Gore Vidal (nonfiction), as well as Leo Tolstoy, Walter Benjamin and Herman Melville (historical fiction). His most recent books are the novel, The Damascus Road: A Novel of Saint Paul (2019), and the memoir Borges and Me (2020), about his encounters with the writings of Argentina’s great literary genius.

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WILLIE PERDOMO

In-conversation with State Author Ayad Akhtar
11:45 a.m. — 12:30 p.m., Campus Center West Auditorium

Willie Perdomo, newly appointed New York State Poet (2021-3), is one of the great voices in poetry of urban New York experience and Nuyorican culture. His newest book is Smoking Lovely: The Remix (2021), a radically revised edition of his 2003 collection. Sapphire said, “Smoking Lovely…. confirms his hard-won place in American letters. Addiction, poverty, class and racial identity, love and recovery are examined with a devastating and streetwise voice….” Read more

 
 
 
 
 
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DAVID PIETRUSZA

David Pietrusza, notable American historian, biographer and chronicler of U.S. Presidential campaigns, is the author most recently of Too Long Ago (2020), a memoir of his childhood and his family’s experiences in the Rust Belt city of Amsterdam, NY. An Amazon New Releases Best Seller, the book brings to life a tight-knit Polish community, transplanted from tiny, impoverished villages to a hardscrabble, hardworking, hard-drinking Upstate New York mill town.

 

Interviewed by Reif Larsen on Too Long Ago
3:45 p.m. — 4:30 p.m., Campus Center Boardroom
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NATHANIEL PHILBRICK

Nathaniel Philbrick, author of bestselling page-turners of maritime history, received the 2000 National Book Award for In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex, the true story of the whaling disaster that inspired Melville’s Moby Dick. His new book is Travels with George: In Search of Washington and His Legacy (2021), an entertaining account of a road trip that retraces Washington’s journey through all 13 colonies.

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In conversation with NYS Writers Institute Director Paul Grondahl 
10:30 a.m. — 11:30 a.m., Campus Center West Auditorium
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David Rohde, journalist, two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, and online news director for the New Yorker, spent seven months as a captive of the Taliban in Afghanistan before escaping in June 2009, an experience he chronicles in the book, A Rope and a Prayer: A Kidnapping from Two Sides (2010). His new book is In Deep: The FBI, the CIA, and the Truth about America's "Deep State"  (2021), an illuminating history of a rightwing conspiracy theory—the “Deep State”— and its dangers to democracy.

Online conversation with NYS Writers Institute Assistant Director Mark Koplik
1:45 p.m. — 2:30 p.m., Campus Center Assembly Hall
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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.

In-conversation with Emily Layden
11:45 a.m. — 12:30 p.m., Campus Center Assembly Hall
 
 
 
 
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DANIEL SHERRELL

Winner of the Bruce Piasecki and Andrea Masters Award on Business and Society Writing, In-conversation with Jay Parini

10:30 a.m. — 11:30 a.m., Campus Center Boardroom

Daniel Sherrell is an activist and organizer born in 1990. He helped lead the campaign to pass landmark climate justice legislation in New York and is the recipient of a Fulbright grant in creative nonfiction. His first book, Warmth is a fiercely personal account written from inside the climate movement as Sherrell lays bare how the crisis is transforming our relationships to time, to hope, and to each other. Read more

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DANA SPIOTTA

In-conversation with Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah
10:30am – 11:30am, Campus Center Assembly Hall

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.

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SETSUKO WINCHESTER

“Creative Marriage” Conversation with Simon Winchester, interview by WAMC’s Joe Donahue, 12:45pm – 1:30pm, Campus Center West Auditorium

Setsuko Winchester is a ceramicist, photographer, artist, journalist and former NPR producer. Her recent art installation, “Freedom From Fear/Yellow Bowl Project,” explores America’s fear of immigrants and memorializes the 120,000 people of Japanese descent who were incarcerated in US concentration camps during World War II. Winchester displayed 120 yellow tea bowls at the sites of 10 internment camps throughout the US, and in front of the Supreme Court Building in Washington, D.C.

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SIMON WINCHESTER

“Creative Marriage” Conversation with Setsuko Winchester, interview by WAMC’s Joe Donahue, 12:45pm – 1:30pm, Campus Center West Auditorium

 

Conversation on LAND : How the Hunger for Ownership Shaped the Modern World with Kendra Smith-Howard
3:45 p.m. — 4:30 p.m., Campus Center West Auditorium

Simon Winchester is widely hailed as one of the best nonfiction storytellers presently at work. His many books of popular history include The Professor and the Madman (1998), The Map That Changed the World (2001), Krakatoa (2003), Atlantic (2010), and Pacific (2015). His new book is LAND: How the Hunger for Ownership Shaped the Modern World (2021), “an entertaining and erudite roundup of humanity’s ever-evolving relationship with terra firma” (Publishers Weekly)
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