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The NYS Writers Institute celebrates the 2017 National Book Award winners
National Book Award

We're proud to see many of the New York State Writers Institute's Visiting Writers receiving recognition at the National Book Awards ceremony held Wednesday, Nov. 15, in New York City.

Journalist Masha Gessen, a staff writer at The New Yorker, won the nonfiction award for The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia and Frank Bidart won the poetry award for Half-Light: Collected Poems.

Journalist Frances FitzGerald, a finalist in this year's nonfiction category, and four of this year's longlist nominees as well as four of this year's judges have held readings and seminars with the Writers Institute. Read more and watch a video of the awards ceremony.

Upcoming Events
The Return by Hisham Matar

Hisham Matar: Thursday, November 30
Hisham Matar’s memoir, The Return: Fathers, Sons and the Land In Between, (2016) tells the story of his travels to the Libya of his family’s origin and the search for his missing father, Jaballa, a political activist who disappeared during the regime of Muammar Gaddafi.

The Return was awarded the 2017 Pulitzer Prize and named one of the best books of the year by The New York Times, The Washington Post, Financial Times, and The Guardian.
More information.

Tom Hanks as Forrest Gump, photo by Phillip Caruso

"The Art of Still Photography on the Movie Set": Friday, December 1
Phillip Caruso, recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Society of Camera Operators, photographed those iconic images of Tom Hanks as Forrest Gump, Robert DeNiro as a crazed ex-con and Kurt Russell as a fearless firefighter.

Caruso will give an illustrated talk Friday, December 1,at 7:30 p.m. in Page Hall on the University at Albany’s Downtown Campus.
More information.

Nic Stone, author of "Dear Martin"

Nic Stone: Thursday, December 7
Nic Stone, author of the debut young adult novel Dear Martin (2017), will present a reading and discussion on Thursday, December 7, at 7 p.m. in the Huxley Theatre, NYS Museum, Cultural Education Center, in Albany.

Stone's novel is loosely inspired by a series of true events involving the shooting deaths of unarmed African-American teens. New York Times bestselling author Jason Reynolds, a NYSWI Visiting Writer in 2015, called Dear Martin, “Raw and gripping... An undeniably real feast of fury and forgiveness.” More information.

Complete Fall 2017 Visiting Writers Series and Fall 2017 Classic Film Series listings

Notes on recent events

John Freeman Gill's The Gargoyle Hunters

"The ephemeral nature of New York City"
... was the theme of John Freeman Gill's talk, "Anchoring Flights of Fancy: Research & Imagination in the New York Novel," at the Researching New York 2017 Conference on Thursday, Nov. 16, at Page Hall in Albany.
Gill showed slides of the Woolworth Building from its triumphant grand opening in 1913 to its grimy middle-age in the 1970s, when the iconic structure plays a major role in his debut novel, The Gargoyle Hunters.
Gill spoke of the city's constant metamorphosis: "As soon as you fall in love with a building or a storefront, it gets torn down or replaced. The ephemeral nature of New York City was a part of my sensibility growing up."
He ended his talk by reading a selection from The Gargoyle Hunters in which his 13-year-old protagonist is left dangling off the side of the Woolworth Building. What happens next? You'll have to read the book!
Photos posted on Facebook from Gill's presentation.

Russell Shorto packs Huxley Theatre
Russell Shorto at the NYS Museum

Russell Shorto visited the NYS Museum's Huxley Theatre on Monday, November 13, to discuss his latest book, "Revolution Song: A Story of American Freedom." The near-capacity crowd heard stories about each of the six main subjects in the book, including Abraham Yates, an Albany shoemaker who later became the city's mayor. Shorto also answered questions -- and received praise -- from the attendees and signed copies of his book. See more photos in our Facebook page. Read the NYTimes review of Revolution Song.

Telling the Truth

To all of the panelists, attendees, viewers of the livestream, correspondents, social media commenters, and volunteers, thank you for making the Tellng the Truth in a Post-Truth World sympsosium on journalism, media and democracy a success.
Watch videos of each of the six panel discussions.
If you would like to keep informed of upcoming Writers Institute events, please send an email to Michael Huber at

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Science Library, SL 320, University at Albany, NY 12222
Phone 518-442-5620, Fax 518-442-5621, email

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