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Feature
Inspiring Students: Maguire Explores the Creative Life

March 3, 2008

Gregory Maguire, UAlbany alum and author of

isiting writer and alumnus Gregory Maguire is featured in the "Reaching Higher. Achieving More." program, celebrating UAlbany grads, their remarkable successes, and the inspiration they found at the University at Albany.

While most college students keep busy with homework and studies, Gregory Maguire was busy finishing his first novel. The 1976 UAlbany alum and acclaimed author of  Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, took a seminar in children's literature with Library Sciences Professor Lilian Orsini, who later mentored his independent study in writing fiction for children. The seminar resulted in his first book, The Lightning Time, published soon after his graduation.

Maguire returns to campus March 13, a guest of the University's Art Museum and the New York State Writers Institute's Visiting Writers Series, and he's happy to be back.

"Given that the University at Albany is committed to enhancing the lives of Albany area citizens as well as of UAlbany students, and the Writers Institute opens its programs freely to the public, I can only be pleased to be involved," he said.

"Imagine a Pulitzer winner telling you how to get started in writing. These are unique opportunities, and we're proud to offer them."
 Don Faulkner
Some 25 years ago, novelist and UAlbany distinguished faculty member William Kennedy, a Pulitzer Prize-winner himself, founded the Institute and its Visiting Writers Series. Through the series, students have had extraordinary access to literary lights such as E.L. Doctorow, Toni Morrison, and Nadine Gordimer, as well as celebrated filmmaker Spike Lee and New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd. To date, NYSWI has hosted more than 850 writers, poets, journalists, historians, dramatists, and filmmakers. And it's all free to students.

"We offer afternoon seminars, writing workshops, programs with the University's Honors College, and special classes in the English Department that use the work of our series guests as their curricula," said Don Faulkner, the director of NYSWI. "Imagine having a MacArthur Prize winner reviewing your manuscript, or a Pulitzer winner telling you how to get started in writing. These are unique opportunities, and we're proud to offer them."

"Bringing artists and audiences together is at the heart of the museum's Art and Culture Talks lecture series. We were delighted to be able to help make Gregory's visit possible," said Janet Riker, director of the University Art Museum.

In addition to the visiting writers and workshops, NYSWI sponsors an annual summer writers institute and a summer young writers institute seminars for the public, and a classic film series.

"Before I was a student at Albany, of course, I was a resident and a child of Albany," said Maguire. "I am a writer from Albany, by Albany, and--in this visit, I hope--for Albany."

Related Links:
New York State Writers Institute's Visiting Writers Series
University Art Museum
William Kennedy
Department of English

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