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John Sayles, photo by Mary Cybulski
John Sayles

JOHN SAYLES, MAJOR AMERICAN INDEPENDENT FILMMAKER AND ACCLAIMED NOVELIST, TO PRESENT BURIAN LECTURE

 


16th Annual BURIAN LECTURE

Sponsored by the Department of Theatre and Co-sponsored by the NYS Writers Institute

February 27, 2012
4:15 p.m. Seminar | Assembly Hall, Campus Center, Uptown Campus
8:00 p.m. Reading and The Burian Lecture| Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center, Uptown Campus

CALENDAR LISTING:
John Sayles, major American independent filmmaker and acclaimed author of the new novel, A Moment in the Sun (2011), will deliver the Burian Lecture at the University at Albany on Monday, February 27, 2012 at 8:00 p.m. in the Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center, on the University at Albany’s uptown campus. Earlier that same day at 4:15 p.m., he will present an informal seminar in Assembly Hall, Campus Center on the uptown campus.  The events are free and open to the public. Cosponsored by the Jarka and Grayce Burian Endowment and UAlbany’s Theatre Department.

PROFILE:
Moment in the SunJohn Sayles,
Schenectady native, award-winning director and screenwriter, and one of America’s most influential independent filmmakers, is the author of the new novel, A Moment in the Sun (2011). Set during the 1890s, and covering many of the key events of that pivotal period— the Yukon gold rush, the Philippine War of Independence, the Spanish-American War, and the  Wilmington Race Riots in North Carolina— the novel portrays the bloody dawn of U.S. interventionism in world affairs.

Lucia Silver of NPR’s Morning Edition said, “John Sayles has managed to create a work that is both cinematic and literary in its scope and style—a blend so entrancing that you could polish off its 955 pages in one long weekend…. Short, powerful chapters follow four unconnected characters to create a mosaic of America as a nascent superpower…. If you only read one book this summer, make it A Moment in the Sun.” Tom LeClair, writing for the New York Times Book Review, said that the novel’s “true importance lies not in its rearview relevance but in its John Sayles and Grayce Buriancommitment to recalling in heroic detail a little-known and contradictory historical moment, a sunny time of American pride but also of hubris in sun-beaten locales… [I]n his respect for facts both documented and extrapolated, [Sayles] is devoted to offering us a new understanding of the past.”

Sayles’s early novel, Union Dues (1977), a story of Boston in 1969, was a finalist for the National Book Award and the  National Book Critics Circle Award. Writing in the Washington Post Book World, David Streitfeld called Union Dues, “"one of the best novels about that impassioned era, achieving a rare balance between sympathy for all sorts of political persuasions while simultaneously keeping some critical distance."

Sayles also received an O. Henry Award for his first published short story, "I-80 Nebraska.”

John Sayles, Photo by Mark SchmidtSayles’s twenty award-winning films as writer and director include SILVER CITY (2004), MEN WITH GUNS (1997), LONE STAR (1996), EIGHT MEN OUT (1988), MATEWAN (1987), and RETURN OF THE SECAUCUS SEVEN (1979). He received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay for his 1993 film, PASSION FISH. In 1983, he received a MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Fellowship for his work in both film and fiction.

The events are cosponsored by the Jarka and Grayce Burian Endowment and UAlbany’s Theatre Department.

NOTE:  In anticipation of his visit, the Writers Institute will screen two recent feature films by John Sayles: HONEYDRIPPER (United States, 2007, 124 minutes, color), about the dawn of rock-and-roll in a black Alabama town, to be shown 7:30 p.m., Friday, February 17th; and AMIGO (United States, 2010, 128 minutes, color, in English, Tagalog, Spanish, and Chinese with English subtitles), about the little-remembered Phillipine-American War, to be shown 7:30 p.m., Friday, February 24th.  Both films will be shown in the Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center, on the University at Albany’s uptown campus.


For additional information, contact the Writers Institute at 518-442-5620 or online at http://www.albany.edu/writers-inst.