New York State Writers Institute Spring Schedule

The New York State Writers Institute at the University at Albany announces its Spring 2007 schedule of visiting writers. The big names include Richard Ford, Leslie Marmon Silko, Elizabeth Kolbert, Michael Kammen, Edward P. Jones, Norman Mailer and Sara Paretsky. Click more below for more details.

Events take place on the UAlbany uptown and downtown campuses and are free and open to the public (unless otherwise noted).
January 19 (Friday): Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Richard Ford
Reading – 8:00 p.m., Assembly Hall, Campus Center, Uptown Campus
Richard Ford, novelist and short story writer, is the author of “The Sportswriter” (1986), winner of the PEN/Faulkner award, and “Independence Day” (1995), which received the Pulitzer Prize and a second PEN/Faulkner award. His most recent novel is “The Lay of the Land” (2006), which the “New York Times” listed as one of the 10 Best Books of 2006.

January 30 (Tuesday): Native American novelist Leslie Marmon Silko
Seminar – 4:15 p.m., Assembly Hall, Campus Center, Uptown Campus
Reading – 8:00 p.m., Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center, Uptown Campus
Leslie Marmon Silko, novelist, essayist, and poet, is a major figure of the Native American literary renaissance. Her first novel, “Ceremony” (1977), received the American Book Award, sold three quarters of a million copies, and sparked a revolution in Native American literature. This year, Penguin Classics will publish a 30th Anniversary Edition of “Ceremony,” featuring a new introduction by Larry McMurtry.

February 1 (Thursday): Fiction and nonfiction writer Susan Cheever
Seminar – 4:15 p.m., Assembly Hall, Campus Center, Uptown Campus
Reading – 8:00 p.m., Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center, Uptown Campus

Susan Cheever, novelist, nonfiction writer, and “Newsday” columnist, is the bestselling author of four extraordinary memoirs, including “Note Found in a Bottle: My Life as a Drinker” (1999), and “Home Before Dark” (1984), a portrait of her father, writer John Cheever. Her most recent book is “American Bloomsbury” (2007), a study of the intertwined lives and love affairs of Louisa May Alcott, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Margaret Fuller, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Henry David Thoreau.

February 5 (Monday): Authors Theatre: Playwright Lisa Thompson
Staged Reading of Play Excerpts – 7:30 p.m., Assembly Hall, Campus Center, Uptown Campus
Lisa Thompson is an acclaimed, emerging playwright, poet, and scholar whose work explores black female desire and the middle class African American family. Her plays include, “Single Black Female” (1998), “Monroe” (1997) and “Dreadtime Stories: One Sista’s Hair” (1994), and a new play-in-progress, “Underground.” Thompson teaches African American literature and culture in the Department of English at the University at Albany.
February 10 (Saturday): To “Quote” or Not to Quote: Understanding Intellectual Property Rights for Writers of Fiction, Nonfiction, and Poetry
Panel Discussion – 1:00 – 4:00 p.m., Albany Public Library, Main Branch, 161 Washington
Ave., Albany
A lawyer, a librarian, and a publisher will address topics concerning the legal nature and history of intellectual property rights; usage issues concerning text, images, sounds, and ideas; the Internet, weblogs and other new media; and the impact of laws on academic professionals, artists, and the media industry. Panel participants include Paul Rapp, intellectual property law attorney; Lorre Smith, Librarian for Digital Library Initiatives at the University at Albany; and James Peltz, Interim Director of SUNY Press. Cosponsored by Hudson Valley Writers Guild and the Albany Public Library

February 16 (Friday): Performance poets Pierre Joris and Nicole Peyrafitte
Multi-media performance – 8:00 p.m., WAMC Linda Norris Auditorium, 339 Central Ave., Albany
Tickets: $15 – Call 518-465-5233 Ext. 4 for reservations
To celebrate the release of their CDs “The Bi-Continental Chowder” and “Routes, Not Roots,” performance artist Nicole Peyrafitte and poet Pierre Joris have created a multimedia event. They will perform a selection of Peyrafitte’s songs and Joris’ poems that are featured on the CDs. Pyrenean-born Nicole Peyrafitte is a performance artist who sings, paints, films, writes, and cooks. Pierre Joris, UAlbany English Department professor, is a poet, essayist, translator, and anthologist whose most recent publications include “Poasis: Selected Poems 1986-1999” (2001) and a collection of essays, “A Nomad Poetics” (2003). His translation of “Lightduress” (2004) by Paul Celan received the 2005 PEN Poetry Translation Award.

February 27 (Tuesday): Pulitzer Prize-winning cultural historian Michael Kammen
Reading and Discussion – 7:00 p.m., University Art Museum, Fine Arts Building, Uptown Campus
Michael Kammen, Pulitzer Prize-winning cultural historian, is the author most recently of “Visual Shock: A History of Art Controversies in American Culture” (2006). The book chronicles many of the debates about aesthetics and morality while examining the essential role played by “freedom of expression” in American democracy. The author and editor of more than thirty books, Kammen received the Pulitzer Prize for “People of Paradox: An Inquiry Concerning the Origins of American Culture” (1972). Cosponsored by the University Art Museum in conjunction with the exhibit “Mr. President,” January 18 – April 1, 2007

March 2 (Friday): Iranian-American author and scholar Hamid Dabashi
Discussion on Iranian history – 4:15 p.m., Science Library Room 340, Uptown Campus
DIVINE INTERVENTION (YADON ILAHEYYA, Palestine/France, 2002, 92 minutes, color, 35 mm) film screening followed by commentary by Hamid Dabashi – 7:00 p.m., Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue, Downtown Campus.
Hamid Dabashi, Iranian-American scholar, is a major academic authority on Islam and Middle Eastern culture. His newest book is “Iran: A People Interrupted” (2007), a one-volume analysis of Iranian history over the course of the last two centuries. Dabashi is also editor of the essay anthology, “Dreams of a Nation: On Palestinian Cinema” (2006).

March 6 (Tuesday): Women’s Studies scholar and author Beverly Guy-Sheftall
Lecture/Discussion – 7:00 p.m., Assembly Hall, Campus Center, Uptown Campus
Beverly Guy-Sheftall, pioneering scholar, is the founder and director of Spelman College’s Women’s Research and Resource Center (WRRC), a vibrant institution specializing in the study and advancement of black female activism. Guy-Sheftall’s newest book is “Gender Talk: The Struggle for
Women’s Equality in African American Communities” (2003, coauthored with Johnnetta Betsch Cole).
Cosponsored by UAlbany Departments of Women’s Studies, Africana Studies, Social Welfare, UAS, and GSO’s CATALYST
March 15 (Thursday): Featured Poets from the Literary Journal Fence, and Fence Books
Seminar on literary journal production – 4:15 p.m., Science Library Room 340, Uptown Campus
Poetry Reading – 8:00 p.m., Assembly Hall, Campus Center, Uptown Campus
Rebecca Wolff is the founding editor and publisher of the journal “Fence,” which in its relatively short life has become one of the most respected literary journals in America. She is also the founder of the small press Fence Books. Wolff is the author of two books of poems, “Manderley” (University of Illinois Press, 2001) and “Figment” (W.W. Norton, 2004).
Michael Earl Craig is the author of “Yes, Master” (2006, Fence Books) and “Can You Relax in My House” (2002, Fence Books).
Ariana Reines’ first book, “The Cow” (2006, Fence Books), was the winner of the Alberta Prize from Fence Books. She writes on art for “tema celeste” and is at work on a film.
Prageeta Sharma won the 2004 Fence Modern Poet’s Book Prize for “The Opening Question.” “Infamous Landscapes” is forthcoming from Fence Books.
March 20 (Tuesday): 11th Annual Burian Lecture: Actor and playwright Wallace Shawn
Seminar – 4:15 p.m., Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center, Uptown Campus
The Burian Lecture – 8:00 p.m., Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center, Uptown Campus
Wallace Shawn is one of the great character actors of modern film. He has appeared in the films “The Bostonians,” “Shadows and Fog,” “Prick Up Your Ears,” “The Princess Bride,” and “The Moderns.” He has also had recurring roles on the TV shows “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine,” “Clueless,” “Crossing Jordan,” and “The Cosby Show.” Shawn is also a prizewinning playwright. In 2005, he received PEN America’s Laura Pels Foundation Award which is presented to “a master American dramatist.”
Cosponsored by the Department of Theatre and funded by the Jarka and Grayce Burian Endowment

March 22 (Thursday): Fiction writers Sheila Kohler and Angela Pneuman
Seminar – 4:15 p.m., Assembly Hall, Campus Center, Uptown Campus
Reading – 8:00 p.m., Assembly Hall, Campus Center, Uptown Campus
Sheila Kohler, South African fiction writer, is known for troubling, vivid tales of people trapped in perverse relationships. Based on a true story, her newest novel is “Bluebird, or the Invention of Happiness” (2007), about an aristocratic woman who flees the French Revolution to set up a dairy farm in 18th century Albany, New York.
Angela Pneuman’s first book is “Home Remedies: Stories” (2007), a startling debut collection of tales about Christian fundamentalists grappling with intimate longings and crises of faith. A former Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, Pneuman is a doctoral candidate in the Department of English at UAlbany.

March 27 (Tuesday): Faith and Doubt in Contemporary Jewish Fiction
Reading and Conversation – 4:15 p.m., Assembly Hall, Campus Center, Uptown Campus
Panel Discussion – 8:00 p.m., Assembly Hall, Campus Center, Uptown Campus
Shalom Auslander, humorist and author of “Beware of God: Stories” (2005), will join with other cutting-edge authors (to be announced) in discussing the role of spirituality and tradition in new Jewish and Israeli literature. Moderated by Joel Berkowitz, Chair of the Judaic Studies Department at UAlbany, and Associate Professor of Modern Jewish Studies; and Edward Schwarzschild, Associate Professor in the UAlbany English Department and a Fellow at the New York State Writers Institute, whose first novel, “Responsible Men,” was a finalist for the Samuel Goldberg and Sons Foundation Prize for Jewish Fiction. Cosponsored by UAlbany’s Department of Judaic Studies

March 29 (Thursday): UAlbany Reading Project Featured Author: Journalist Elizabeth Kolbert
Seminar – 2:00 p.m., Ballroom, Campus Center, Uptown Campus
Presentation – 7:00 p.m., Ballroom, Campus Center, Uptown Campus
Elizabeth Kolbert, award-winning journalist, is the author of “Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change” (2006), an exploration of the science, politics, and human impact of global warming. The book grew out of a widely influential three-part series of articles she wrote on the subject that was published in the “New Yorker.” She is a recipient of the George Polk Award and Walter T. Brown
Award for journalism. Kolbert’s appearance is in conjunction with the UAlbany Reading Project, a program to engage the entire University community in reading and reflecting on a common text. Kolbert’s book “Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change” is the featured work.

April 12 (Thursday): Pulitzer Prize-winning science reporter Natalie Angier and evolutionary biologist David Sloan Wilson
Reading by Natalie Angier – 4:15 p.m., Assembly Hall, Campus Center, Uptown Campus
“God vs. Science,” a debate between Natalie Angier and David Sloan Wilson – 8:00 p.m.,
Assembly Hall, Campus Center, Uptown Campus
Natalie Angier, Pulitzer Prize-winning science reporter for the “New York Times,” and bestselling nonfiction author, is widely regarded as one of the wittiest and most eloquent science writers presently at work. Her new book is “The Canon: A Whirligig Tour of the Beautiful Basics of Science” (2007), an entertaining and informative primer for nonscientists.
Biologist David Sloan Wilson is a leading scholar in the science of religion. Distinguished Professor of Biology and Anthropology at Binghamton University, Wilson is the author of “Darwin’s Cathedral: Evolution, Religion, and the Nature of Society” (2002). His new book is “Evolution for Everyone: How Darwin’s Theory Can Change the Way We Think About Our Lives” (2007).
Cosponsored by UAlbany’s Journalism Program

April 16 (Monday): Biographer and editor Walter Isaacson
Seminar – 4:15 p.m., Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center, Uptown Campus
Reading – 8:00 p.m., Page Hall, 135 Western Ave., Downtown Campus
Walter Isaacson, bestselling biographer and former news media executive, is the author of “Einstein: His Life and Universe” (2007), a fresh new glimpse of the physicist’s private life based on a newly-released trove of personal letters. Isaacson is also the author of “Benjamin Franklin: An American Life” (2003), “Kissinger: A Biography” (1992), and “The Wise Men” (1987), which received the Harry Truman Book Prize. Isaacson is former chairman and CEO of CNN, and former managing editor of “Time.” Cosponsored by the Greater Capital Region Teacher Center

April 18 (Wednesday): Novelist and short story writer Edward P. Jones
Reading – 8:00 p.m., Room TBA, Rensselaer (RPI), Troy
Edward P. Jones received the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the National Book Critics Circle Award for his novel “The Known World” (2003), a national bestseller. Jones’s newest book is “All Aunt Hagar’s Children” (2006), a collection of tales about Blacks from the South who have migrated to Washington, D.C., the author’s home city, in search of a better life. Jones received a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship in 2004. Cosponsored in conjunction with Rensselaer’s 66th McKinney Writing Contest and Reading

April 20 (Friday): Author and film producer Steven Bach
Seminar – 4:15 p.m., Science Library Room 340, Uptown Campus
TRIUMPH OF THE WILL (TRIUMPH DES WILLENS, directed by Leni Riefenstahl, Germany, 1935, 114 minutes, b/w/, DVD) film screening followed by commentary by Steven Bach – 7:00 p.m., Page Hall, 135 Western Ave., Downtown Campus.
Steven Bach, acclaimed author, producer, and former head of worldwide production at United Artists, is the author of the new biography, “Leni: The Life and Work of Leni Riefenstahl” (2007), the Nazi propagandist, influential film stylist, and pioneering female director. At United Artists, Bach was involved in the making of such films as “Manhattan” (1979), “Raging Bull” (1980), and “The French Lieutenant’s Woman” (1981) as well as the infamous anti-Western, “Heaven’s Gate” (1980). Bach’s memoir, “Final Cut: Art, Money, and Ego in the Making of “Heaven’s Gate,” the Film That Sank United Artists” (1985, 1999), was shortlisted for “Book of the Year” by the British Film Institute.

April 24 (Tuesday): French novelist, playwright, and memoirist Hélène Cixous
Reading – 8:00 p.m., Assembly Hall, Campus Center, Uptown Campus
Hélène Cixous, Algeria-born French intellectual, novelist, playwright, memoirist, and prose poet, is a major postmodern author and a leading figure in the fields of cultural and literary theory. Her major works of criticism include “Stigmata: Surviving Texts” (1998), and “Three Steps on the Ladder of Writing” (1991). Recent publications in English translation include “Dream I Tell You” (2006), “The Day I Wasn’t There” (2006), “The Writing Notebooks” (2004), and “Portrait of Jacques Derrida as a Young Jewish Saint” (2003).
Cosponsored by UAlbany’s Departments of Language, Literatures, and Cultures; English; Women’s Studies; Judaic Studies; College of Arts & Sciences; Office of the Provost; GSO; UAS; Writing Center; CHATS; and Department of English, Syracuse University.

April 26 (Thursday): Lawyer and author David O. Stewart
Fossieck Lecture – 3:30 p.m., Standish Room, Science Library, Uptown Campus
Reading – 8:00 p.m., Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center, Uptown Campus
David O. Stewart’s much-anticipated first book is “The Summer of 1787: The Men Who Invented the Constitution” (2007), an original and lively work of legal history. The book presents the fiery debates and furious political bargaining that characterized the Philadelphia Convention, as well as the unique personalities who helped to create the world’s first constitutional democracy.
Cosponsored by the UAlbany History Department in conjunction with the annual Fossieck Lecture

May 1 (Tuesday): Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist and nonfiction writer Norman Mailer
Reading – 8:00 p.m., Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue, Downtown Campus
Norman Mailer, a formidable presence in American letters for nearly six decades, is the author of novels, creative nonfiction, short stories, essays, and screenplays. His new novel is “The Castle in the Forest” (2007), a fictional chronicle of Adolf Hitler’s boyhood. Mailer received the National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize for “The Armies of the Night: History as a Novel, the Novel as History” (1968), a classic of the “New Journalism” genre. He received a second Pulitzer Prize for “The Executioner’s Song” (1979), a “true life novel” about convicted killer Gary Gilmore. A perennial candidate for the Nobel Prize in Literature, Mailer received the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters of the National Book Foundation in 2005.

May 2 (Wednesday): Mystery novelist Sara Paretsky
Seminar – 4:15 p.m., Campus Center Room 375, Uptown Campus
Reading – 8:00 p.m., Clark Auditorium, New York State Museum, Albany
Sara Paretsky, creator of the character private investigator V. I. Warshawski, and one of America’s biggest selling writers of mystery fiction, is the author of a new memoir, “Writing in an Age of Silence” (2007). Paretsky recounts her childhood in rural Kansas as a quiet, lonely outsider. She also traces the genesis of her most famous invention, the hard-boiled Chicago detective V. I. Warshawski, star of twelve
novels and two story collections.
Cosponsored by the NYS Library and Friends of the NYS Library

The Big Read
May 4 (Friday): Biographer and scholar Lucy Anne Hurston
An Afternoon With Lucy Anne Hurston – 2:00 p.m., Guilderland Public Library, 2228 Western Avenue, Guilderland
THEIR EYES WERE WATCHING GOD (United States, 2005, 98 minutes, color, DVD) film screening followed by commentary by Lucy Anne Hurston – 7:00 p.m., Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue, Downtown Campus
Lucy Anne Hurston, niece of major 20th century writer Zora Neale Hurston, is the author of the remarkable multimedia biography, “Speak, So You Can Speak Again: The Life of Zora Neale Hurston” (2004), which consists of text, photographs, a CD, and various pieces of removable memorabilia.
Cosponsored by the Upper Hudson Library System as part of “The Big Read,”an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services and Arts Midwest.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s