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Jai Chakrabarti
Ava Chin
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In-conversation with Kate Fagan

12:45 p.m. – 1:30 p.m., Campus Center West Auditorium

One of the all-time best players in women’s basketball, Seimone Augustus earned three Olympic gold medals as a member of the US Women’s National Basketball Team (2008, ’12 and ’16). An eight-time WNBA All-Star, she also led the Minnesota Lynx to four WNBA championships. She is the coauthor with Kate Fagan of a new book about the exciting new culture of women’s basketball, Hoop Muses: An Insider’s Guide to Pop Culture and the (Women’s) Game, published in 2023.

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Holocaust Panel
2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m., Campus Center Assembly Hall

Born in Kolkata, India, Jai Chakrabarti won the National Jewish Book Award for his historical novel about the Holocaust and its lasting impact, A Play for the End of the World (2021). Set in Poland during WWII, and in New York City and rural India during the 1970s, the book was inspired by a real incident:  a staging of Bengali Nobel Prize winner Rabindranath Tagore’s “The Post Office” by the children of Janusz Korczak’s famous orphanage in the Warsaw ghetto. Chakrabarti’s new book is the short story collection, A Small Sacrifice for an Enormous Happiness (2023).

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On Memoir with Carmen Rita Wong
10:30 a.m. – 11:15 a.m., Campus Center West Boardroom

Ava Chin is the author of the groundbreaking family memoir, Mott Street: A Chinese American Family's Story of Exclusion and Homecoming (2023), about multiple generations of her family and their efforts to lay down roots in America, beginning in the 1800s. Much of the story focuses on a single building in New York City’s Chinatown, where so many of her ancestors would live, begin families, and craft new identities. Miwa Messer of the “Poured Over” podcast calls it, “the Angela’s Ashes for Chinese Americans.”

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Belief in the 21st Century Panel
10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m., Campus Center Assembly Hall

Outspoken atheist and Washington Post columnist Kate Cohen is the author of We of Little Faith: Why I Stopped Pretending to Believe (and Maybe You Should Too) (2023), “An atheist’s impassioned call for nonbelievers to be honest with themselves and their families about their lack of belief—and help change the American cultural conversation.” CNN columnist Jill Filipovic called it, “the perfect book for people who are atheism-curious, and for those who are religious but open-minded.”

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In Conversation with Jimin Han
1:30 p.m. – 2:15 p.m., Campus Center West Boardroom

A major voice in 21st century American literature, Angie Cruz is the author of acclaimed novels that explore the Dominican American experience and life in New York City’s disadvantaged neighborhoods, including Soledad (2001), Let It Rain Coffee (2005), and Dominicana (2019). Her newest novel is How Not to Drown in a Glass of Water (2022), the tale of a feisty older Dominican woman living in NYC, and her struggles to survive in the face of debt, eviction, internet scams, unemployment and family strife. The Los Angeles Times said the book, “will have you laughing line after line, even when you wonder if you should be.”

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Working Class Fiction Panel, 11:45 a.m. – 12:45 p.m., Campus Center Assembly Hall

Russell Banks Tribute, 3:15 p.m. – 4:30 p.m., Campus Center West Auditorium

Andre Dubus III earned wide acclaim for his #1 New York Times bestseller, House of Sand and Fog (1999), the basis of the Oscar-nominated film starring Jennifer Connelly and Ben Kingsley. His new novel is Such Kindness (2023), about a working-class man who struggles to find redemption and purpose after he suffers a terrible accident and becomes addicted to painkillers. Ann Patchett said the novel, “charts a remarkable rebirth, not from poverty to wealth but from bitter helplessness to the knowledge of self-worth.”

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In-conversation with Seimone Augustus
12:45 p.m. – 1:30 p.m., Campus Center West Auditorium

A sports reporter and co-host of shows on ESPN (2012-18), Kate Fagan attended Niskayuna High School where she was the all-time leading scorer in basketball. Her new book, with Seimone Augustus, is Hoop Muses: An Insider’s Guide to Pop Culture and the (Women’s) Game (2023). Her previous books include The Reappearing Act: Coming Out as Gay on a College Basketball Team Led by Born-Again Christians (2014), about her experiences at the University of Colorado, and What Made Maddy Run (2017), a #1 New York Times Sports and Fitness bestseller about the role of social media and mental illness in the death of a gifted college athlete.

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Fathers Panel with Mary Gordon
1:00 p.m. – 1:45 p.m., Campus Center Assembly Hall

Susan Faludi, one of the most influential feminist writers of her generation, is the author of In the Darkroom, an exploration of the life of the father who abandoned her. A difficult and sometimes violent man, Steven Faludi’s many incarnations included suburban dad, Alpine mountaineer, Amazon adventurer, a Jew in hiding in Nazi-occupied Budapest, and ultimately a transgender woman in the Hungary of his birth. Faludi’s other books include Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women (1991). Writing in the New York Times in 2023, decades after it was published, Michelle Goldberg named it the book that best describes the current moment.

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In conversation with Michael Eck on Music Writing and Connie Converse
3:30 p.m. – 4:15 p.m., Campus Center West Boardroom

Culture writer, composer, playwright and frequent contributor to The New Yorker, Howard Fishman began his career as a street musician in New Orleans and continues to perform throughout the U.S. and abroad. His new book is To Anyone Who Ever Asks: The Life, Music, and Mystery of Connie Converse (2023), the true story of an acclaimed mid-20th century folk artist, widely known as “the female Bob Dylan,” who disappeared mysteriously in 1974. WAMC’s Joe Donahue called it “endlessly fascinating.” Fishman’s event will feature a selection of Converse’s recorded songs.

Angie Cruz
Kate Cohen
Susan Faludi
Howard Fishman
Kate Fagan
Seimone Augustus
Andre Dubus III
Kellye Garrett
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Working Class Fiction Panel
11:45 a.m. – 12:45 p.m., Campus Center Assembly Hall

Sidik Fofana is the author of Stories from the Tenants Downstairs (paperback 2023), a collection named a “Best Book of the Year” by major media outlets across the nation. Set in Harlem, and written in a rich vernacular, the book presents eight interlocking stories about the lower-income residents of a single apartment building, as they cope with daily struggles and the challenges of gentrification. Deesha Philyaw called it “a tremendous debut,” and Lorrie Moore called it, “important American art.” The Wall Street Journal reviewer said, “American speech is an underused commodity in contemporary fiction and it’s a joy to find such a vital example of it here."

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Mystery Panel with Valerie Wilson Wesley, Moderated by Frankie Bailey
12:30 p.m. – 1:15 p.m., Campus Center West Boardroom

Mystery writer Kellye Garrett is the author of Hollywood Homicide (2017), winner of major awards for “Best First Novel,” including the Anthony, Agatha, Lefty, and IPPY awards, and one of BookBub’s “Top 100 Crime Novels of All Time.” Her new mystery is Like a Sister (paperback 2023), the story of a Black reality TV star who is found dead, and her estranged, less glamorous half-sister who sets out to solve the crime. An Edgar Award Finalist for Best Novel, Like a Sister “dishes up the glitz of the haves and the struggles of the have-nots” (Oprah Daily).

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Holocaust Panel
2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m., Campus Center Assembly Hall

Karen Baum Gordon is the author of the family memoir, The Last Letter: A Father's Struggle, a Daughter's Quest, and the Long Shadow of the Holocaust (2021), a tale assembled from 88 letters written mainly by her grandmother in Germany to her father living safely in America, from 1936 to 1941. The author felt compelled to reconstruct her family’s history after her father, beset by lifelong guilt because of his inability to save his own parents, attempted suicide at the age of 86. The book was a “Buzz Pick” of the Good Morning America Book Club in April 2022.

Karen Baum Gordon
Sidik Fofana
Mary Gordon
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Fathers Panel with Susan Faludi
1:00 p.m. – 1:45 p.m., Campus Center Assembly Hall

Former New York State Author (2008-10), and one of the leading chroniclers of Catholic life in American fiction, Mary Gordon is the author of the memoir, The Shadow Man: A Daughter’s Search for Her Father (1996), about the secretive life of a troubled man— a father she idealized— who died when she was seven years old. A Jew who converted to Catholicism, David Gordon propagated lies about his past, embraced anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, and was a publisher of pornography. The Kirkus Review called the book, “Beautiful, painful, shocking, a profound exploration of love, memory, shame, recuperation—a remarkable work.”

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Working Class Fiction Panel, 11:45 a.m. – 12:45 p.m., Campus Center Assembly Hall

Russell Banks Tribute, 3:15 p.m. – 4:30 p.m., Campus Center West Auditorium

Jennifer Haigh, bestselling novelist, is the author of Mercy Street (paperback 2023), a gritty novel about the life of an abortion clinic in urban Boston. Mercy Street was named a “Best Book of the Year” by The Washington Post, The New Yorker, and The Boston Globe. Writing in the New York Times, Janet Maslin said, “Ms. Haigh is an expertly nuanced storyteller long overdue for major attention…. Abortion, guns, vigilantism, drug dealing, white supremacy, bitter misogyny and online fetishism all figure in the tableau Haigh expertly details.”

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In Conversation with Angie Cruz
1:30 p.m. – 2:15 p.m., Campus Center West Boardroom

Jimin Han, is the author of the new novel, The Apology (2023), a sweeping intergenerational saga told in the voice of the 105-year-old matriarch of a Korean family. Alexander Chee called the book, “an uncanny high wire act—arch, tender, mercurial,” and said, “This is a story unlike any other of Korea and America, and of a mother’s love— majestic, a deathless avenger, shrewd and wild….” Lit Hub named it a “Most Anticipated Book of 2023,” and Shondaland named it one of “the Best Books to Read for Summer.”

William Kennedy
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Russell Banks Tribute
3:15 p.m. – 4:30 p.m., Campus Center West Auditorium

William Kennedy is the founder and executive director of the New York State Writers Institute. His novels include Changó’s Beads and Two-Tone Shoes (2011), Roscoe (2002), which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the PEN/Faulkner Award; and Ironweed (1983), which received the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award. Kennedy has also written as the screenplays for "The Cotton Club" (1986) and "Ironweed." In 1983 Kennedy was awarded the MacArthur Foundation "genius" grant. In 2017, he was elected to the New York State Writers Hall of Fame, and in 2018, he traveled to Dublin to receive the Presidential Distinguished Service Award for his writings about the Irish-American experience.

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PATRICIA SPEARS JONES, New York State Poet (2023-25)

Newly inaugurated State Poet and State Author in conversation
10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m., Campus Center West Auditorium

Patricia Spears Jones, a key figure and organizer of the New York City poetry community for more than four decades, is a Brooklyn-based poet and the author of five collections including The Beloved Community (2023) and A Lucent Fire: New and Selected Poems (2015). Her work has been anthologized in African American Poetry: 250 Years of Struggle and Song, and Angles of Ascent: A Norton Anthology of Contemporary African American Poetry. She is also the co-editor of the groundbreaking 1978 anthology, Ordinary Women: An Anthology of New York City Women Poets.

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Teddy Roosevelt Panel, 11:45 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., Campus Center West Auditorium

Russell Banks Tribute, 3:15 p.m. – 4:30 p.m., Campus Center West Auditorium

 Nell Irvin Painter, eminent historian, is the author of numerous books including Sojourner Truth (1997), Southern History Across the Color Line (2002), Creating Black Americans (2005), and The History of White People (2010). Her landmark history of the Progressive Era, Standing at Armageddon: The United States, 1877-1919 (1989), takes its title from a Teddy Roosevelt campaign speech, and traces the rapid transformation of the United States from an agrarian society to an industrialized power. Her 2018 memoir, Old in Art School, about studying the art of painting in her 60s, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.

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Belief in the 21st Century Panel
10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m., Campus Center Assembly Hall

Elizabeth Passarella, a self-described Southern Evangelical, has lived in New York City for more than 20 years. She’s the author of Good Apple: Tales of a Southern Evangelical in New York (2021), an account of her complicated love affair with her adopted city. Bestselling author Ada Calhoun said, "With sly humor, ecumenical warmth, and disarming frankness, Elizabeth Passarella builds bridges between red and blue and North and South. Good Apple makes a strong case for New York City as the kingdom of God— and for handwritten thank-you notes." Her new book is It Was an Ugly Couch Anyway: And Other Thoughts on Moving Forward (2023).

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In conversation on The Russo-Ukrainian War
2:30 p.m. – 3:15 p.m., Campus Center West Boardroom

Bestselling author and eminent scholar of Eastern Europe history at Harvard, Serhii Plokhy’s new book is The Russo-Ukrainian War: The Return of History (2023), an authoritative history of Europe’s largest military conflict since World War II. Historian Simon Sebag Montefiore called it "the essential book about the Russia-Ukraine war—superb, accessible and erudite—by the world’s chief expert. The must-read work.” Plokhy also authored the New York Times bestseller The Gates of Europe: A History of Ukraine (2015), as well as Atoms and Ashes: A Global History of Nuclear Disaster (2022), Nuclear Folly: A History of the Cuban Missile Crisis (2021), and Chernobyl: History of a Tragedy (2018).

Event cosponsored by United University Professionals and the UAlbany History Department. 

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In Conversation with Judith Enck on Fen, Bog, and Swamp
1:45 p.m. – 2:45 p.m., Campus Center West Auditorium

Russell Banks Tribute, 3:15 p.m. – 4:30 p.m., Campus Center West Auditorium

Annie Proulx one of America’s leading fiction writers, is also an environmentalist and the author of a new book, Fen, Bog, and Swamp: A Short History of Peatland Destruction and Its Role in the Climate Crisis (2023). Bill McKibben called it, “an unforgettable and unflinching tour of past and present, fixed on a subject that could not be more important.” Proulx is the author of the short story “Brokeback Mountain,” which was adapted as an Oscar-winning motion picture by director Ang Lee and screenwriter Larry McMurtry. Her novels include the modern-day classics, The Shipping News (1993), winner of the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award; Postcards (1992), winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction; and Barkskins (2016), a 300-year epic about the deforestation of North America.

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Teddy Roosevelt Panel
11:45 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., Campus Center West Auditorium

Jeff Shaara is one of America’s biggest-selling authors of historical fiction about the nation’s wars. His fifteen New York Times bestsellers include the Civil War novels, Gods and Generals and The Last Full Measure— the prequel and sequel to The Killer Angels, the Pulitzer-winning novel about Gettysburg written by his late father, Michael Shaara. His new novel, The Old Lion: A Novel of Theodore Roosevelt  (2023), presents Roosevelt at the end of his life as he reflects on his storied past, from his boyhood in New York’s high society, to his adventures around the world, to his unlikely ascent to the American presidency.

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American Rascals Panel, moderated by David Pietrusza
3:15 p.m. – 4:15 p.m., Campus Center Assembly Hall

Greg Steinmetz is the author of American Rascal: How Jay Gould Built Wall Street's Biggest Fortune (paperback, 2023), the gripping tale of an impoverished farmer’s son who became one of the most infamous robber barons of the Gilded Age. A former financial journalist for the The Wall Street Journal, Steinmetz served as bureau chief in both Berlin and London before becoming a partner at a New York money management firm. His first book, The Richest Man Who Ever Lived: The Life and Times of Jacob Fugger, was heralded by CNBC’s Andrew Ross Sorkin as one of the best reads of 2015.

Jennifer Haigh
Jimin Han
Serhii Plokhy
Elizabeth Passarella
Nell Irvin Painter
Annie Proulx
Jeff Shaara
Greg Steinmetz
Patricia Spears Jones
Kim van Alkemade
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LEAH THOMAS, environmental activist and author

Winner of the 2023 Bruce Piasecki and Andrea Masters Award in conversation
11:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m., Campus Center West Boardroom

Leah Thomas is the winner of the 2023 Bruce Piasecki and Andrea Masters Award on Business and Society Writing for work that “seeks to inspire future generations to become catalysts for a better, more just society.” A 2022 TIME magazine “TIME100 Next” honoree, Thomas is the author of The Intersectional Environmentalist: How to Dismantle Systems of Oppression to Protect People + Planet (2022), which examines the inextricable links between environmentalism, racism, and privilege. Yale Climate Connections said, "An essential read, this book gives voice to a movement that will define a generation."

Event cosponsored by the CHATS Environmental Humanities Lab.

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Holocaust Panel
2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m., Campus Center Assembly Hall

Kim van Alkemade is the author of the New York Times bestselling novel, Orphan #8 (2015)— based on a true story — about a woman who confronts the doctor who conducted medical experiments on her at a Jewish orphanage in New York City in the 1920s. Her new novel, Counting Lost Stars (2023), tells the story of an unmarried college student who gives her baby up for adoption in 1960 while she assists a Holocaust survivor searching for his own lost mother. Uniquely, the novel explores early computing technology, both its practical uses and its sinister application by the Nazis during the Final Solution.

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Special Presentation/Demo on How to Write a Novel in 20 Pies
2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m., Campus Center West Multi-Purpose Room

Novelist, writing coach and former associate director of the NYS Summer Writers Institute, Amy Wallen also finds inspiration and joy in making pies. She shares her insights about successful writing and baking in her new book, How to Write a Novel in 20 Pies: Sweet and Savory Tips for Surviving the Writing Life (2022). Her event will feature useful information and encouragement for writers, as well as a cooking demo for aspiring pie-makers. She is the author of the Los Angeles Times bestselling novel Moon Pies and Movie Stars, and the memoir, When We Were Ghouls.

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American Rascals Panel, moderated by David Pietrusza
3:15 p.m. – 4:15 p.m., Campus Center Assembly Hall

Gary Weiss is an acclaimed investigative journalist and author who has exposed stock fraud and other financial improprieties by brokerage firms and organized crime since the 1980s. His new book is Retail Gangster: The Insane, Real-Life Story of Crazy Eddie (paperback, 2023), about the spectacular rise and fall of Eddie Antar, better known as "Crazy Eddie," whose home electronics empire changed the world even as it turned out to be one of the biggest business scams of all time. New York magazine called it "highbrow brilliant," and Forbes called it "a must-read."

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Mystery Panel with Kellye Garrett, Moderated by Frankie Bailey
12:30 p.m. – 1:15 p.m., Campus Center West Boardroom

Valerie Wilson Wesley, former executive editor of Essence magazine, is the author of the bestselling “Tamara Hayle” mystery series, about a Newark, NJ private investigator who is also a Black single mother and ex-cop. Her new series, launched in 2021, features Odessa Jones, an amateur investigator and New Jersey caterer-turned-realtor with paranormal gifts. In praise, The Los Angeles Times said, "There's... something oddly comforting about a Black woman in fiction who isn’t weighed down by societal pathology and who can appreciate a good glass of Merlot and reruns of Downton Abbey as much as the next woman. In between heavier mystery fare, this unicorn of a Black cozy is a welcome palate cleanser.”

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JACQUELINE WOODSON, New York State Author (2023-25)

Newly-inaugurated State Author and State Poet in conversation
10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m., Campus Center West Auditorium

Jacqueline Woodson, the author of more than forty books for young people and adults, is one of the most beloved writers of children’s literature of her generation. Her classic middle grade memoir, Brown Girl Dreaming, won the 2014 National Book Award and was a New York Times bestseller. Her novel for adults, Another Brooklyn, was a National Book Award finalist in 2016. She previously served as Young People’s Poet Laureate (2015-17), and the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature of the Library of Congress (2018-19). She received a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship in 2020.

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On Memoir with Ava Chin
10:30 a.m. – 11:15 a.m., Campus Center West Boardroom

Carmen Rita Wong, personal finance expert and media personality, was the co-creator and television host of CNBC’s On the Money, an editor at Money magazine, and a national advice columnist on financial matters for Glamour, Latina, Men’s Health, and Good Housekeeping. She is the author of an explosive new memoir, Why Didn't You Tell Me? (paperback 2023), about the surprising, long-held secrets of her immigrant parents — a Dominican mother and a Chinese gangster father. People magazine called it, “A stunner about race, culture and the deeper meaning of family.” Her books on personal finance include Generation Debt (2006) and The Real Cost of Living (2010).

Carmen Rita Wong
Amy Wallen
Gary Weiss
Valerie Wilson Wesley
Jacqueline Woodson
Leah Thomas
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