Events are free and open to the public and take place on the University at Albany’s uptown campus, unless otherwise noted.

Books are available in advance of events and at the events, from the following bookstores:
Barnes & Noble College Bookstore and The Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza

Travels in Siberia Chango's Beads and Two-tone Shoes Great House The Leftovers

Nicole Krauss
Photo: Joyce Ravid

Nicole Krauss, novelist
September 22 (Thursday)
Seminar — 4:15 p.m., Assembly Hall, Campus Center
Reading — 8:00 p.m., Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center

Nicole Krauss,
prize-winning novelist, is the author most recently of Great House (2010), a finalist for the National Book Award in Fiction. The novel is composed of interlinked tales about a massive writing desk and its various owners as they cope with tragedies and upheavals. The NPR reviewer called it “Masterful… a brilliantly orchestrated, mesmerizing whole that explores memory, solitude and an aching sense of loss and longing.” Krauss’s previous novels include the New York Times bestseller, The History of Love (2005), and Man Walks into a Room (2002), a finalist for the L. A. Times First Fiction Prize.

Eliza Griswold
Photo: Antonin Kratochvil

Eliza Griswold, journalist
September 27 (Tuesday)
Seminar — 4:15 p.m., Assembly Hall, Campus Center
Reading — 8:00 p.m., Assembly Hall, Campus Center

Eliza Griswold,
journalist, is the author of the New York Times nonfiction bestseller, The Tenth Parallel: Dispatches from the Fault Line Between Christianity and Islam (2010), an exploration of diverse societies that exist along the line of latitude where the two religions collide. In praise, Nobel Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu said, “Griswold’s courageous pilgrimage changes the way we think about Christianity and Islam…. She returns us to the most basic truth of human existence: that the world and its people are interconnected.” Griswold has covered cultural and military conflicts throughout Africa and Asia.

William Kennedy
Photo: Judy C Sanders


William Kennedy, Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist
October 3 (Monday)
Seminar — 4:15 p.m., Ballroom, Campus Center, Uptown Campus
Reading — 8:00 p.m., Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue, Downtown Campus

William Kennedy,
founder and executive director of the New York State Writers Institute, is the author of the new novel, Changó’s Beads and Two-Tone Shoes (October 2011). A tale of revolutionary intrigue, heroic journalism, crooked politicians, drug-running gangsters, Albany race riots, and the improbable rise of Fidel Castro, the novel follows the epic adventures of Albany journalist Daniel Quinn and his unpredictable Cuban wife Renata, during the turbulent 1950s and 1960s. Kennedy received the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1983 for the novel Ironweed. His most recent novel was Roscoe (2002), which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the PEN/Faulkner Award.

Note: At 7:30 p.m. at Page Hall, prior to William Kennedy’s 8 p.m. reading, there will be a special screening of “William Kennedy’s Prohibition Story,” a new 30-minute documentary produced by WMHT about gangster-bootlegger Jack “Legs” Diamond during the tumultuous period of Prohibition in Albany.

Ian Frazier
Photo: Sigrid Estrada

Ian Frazier, humorist and nonfiction writer
October 5 (Wednesday)
Seminar — 4:15 p.m., Standish Room, Science Library, Uptown Campus
Reading — 8:00 p.m., Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center, Uptown Campus

Ian Frazier,
is a leading American humorist, travel author, and staff writer for the New Yorker. Frazier has published two highly-praised and funny travelogues: Great Plains (1989), about his explorations of the American Midwest; and Travels in Siberia (2010), a current bestseller about Russia’s “Wild East.” The New York Times reviewer called the Siberia book, “an uproarious, sometimes dark yarn filled with dubious meals, broken-down vehicles, abandoned slave labor camps ... and ubiquitous statues of Lenin….” Frazier’s other recent books include Lamentations of the Father (2008) and Gone to New York (2005).

Solar Throat Slashed

A Celebration of Aimé Césaire
October 6 (Thursday)
Panel Discussion/Reading — 4:15 p.m., Standish Room, Science Library, Uptown Campus

Poet of Martinique, Aimé Césaire (1913-2008) was a major voice of Caribbean literature, anti-colonial activism, modern French poetry, pan-African culture, and the historic “Négritude” movement. Members of the UAlbany community will celebrate Césaire’s poetry and mark the first complete and unexpurgated publication in English of his 1948 collection, Soleil cou coupé [Solar Throat Slashed], translated and edited by A. James Arnold and Clayton Eshleman. Arnold will lead a discussion with UAlbany professor Eloise Briére and other faculty members on Césaire’s work.

Cosponsored by UAlbany’s Departments of Languages, Literatures and Cultures; Latin American, Caribbean and U. S. Latino Studies; English; Africana Studies; and the NYS Writers Institute

Sylvia Nasar
Photo: Eileen Fisher, Inc.

Sylvia Nasar, journalist and nonfiction writer
October 11 (Tuesday)
Reading — 7:00 p.m. [Note early start time], Main Theatre, Performing Arts Center, Uptown Campus

Sylvia Nasar, journalist and author, achieved international acclaim for A Beautiful Mind (1994), a biography of Nobel Prize-winning economist John Forbes Nash. Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award and a Pulitzer finalist, the book was made into a 2001 film that received four Oscars including Best Picture. Nasar’s newest book is Grand Pursuit: The Story of Economic Genius (2011), a sweeping history of the invention of modern economics. A New York Times economics correspondent from 1991 to 1999, she currently holds the Knight Chair in Business Journalism at Columbia University.

Cosponsored by UAlbany’s Center for Institutional Investment Management

Steven Ascher and Jeanne Jordan

Steven Ascher and Jeanne Jordan, filmmakers
October 12 (Wednesday)
Film screening and discussion — 7:00 p.m., Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center, Uptown Campus

Steven Ascher and Jeanne Jordon whose screen credits include the feature documentary TROUBLESOME CREEK: A MIDWESTERN, winner of the Sundance Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award and an Academy Award nomination present RAISING RENEE (2011, 81 minutes, color), the story of acclaimed artist Beverly McIver and her promise to take care of her mentally disabled sister Renee.(see Classic Film Series listing for October 12 for additional information)

Both events are presented by UAlbany’s Documentary Studies Program in partnership with the Art Department, School of Social Welfare, History Department, Women’s Studies Department, Journalism Program, University Auxiliary Services and the NYS Writers Institute

Jamil Mena

CANCELLED American Place Theatre performance of Down These Mean Streets
October 13 (Thursday)
The University at Albany Performing Arts Center announced that scheduling difficulties on the part of American Place Theatre will prevent the company from performing Down These Mean Streets as scheduled on Thursday, October 13, 2011.  Patrons who have already purchased tickets may exchange them for another show or obtain a refund by contacting the Box Office at (518) 442-3997 or tickets@albany.edu. The performance of The Kite Runner by American Place Theatre scheduled for April 18, 2012 will take place as planned.

Gonzalo Torrente Ballester
Gonzalo Torrente Ballester

A Celebration of Gonzalo Torrente Ballester (1910-1999), Spanish novelist and Distinguished Professor of Spanish Literature at UAlbany (1966-1972)
October 14 (Friday)
Panel Discussions/Reading — 1:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m., Standish Room, Science Library, Uptown Campus

Known in Spain by the affectionate title, “El Señor de las Letras,” the late Gonzalo Torrente Ballester is regarded as one of the most important Spanish novelists of the twentieth century. In 1985, he received the Cervantes Prize, Spain’s highest literary honor. Dismissed from his teaching job for his political views and stifled by government censors under the Franco regime, Torrente Ballester found a temporary refuge at UAlbany. His works translated into English include Crónica del rey pasmado (1989, published in 1996 as The King Amaz’d) and Don Juan (1963). An academic satire, La isla de los jacintos cortados (The Island of Cut Hyacinths, 1980), was partly inspired by his experiences in Albany. The celebration will feature lectures, panel discussions, and readings by Spanish literature scholars, emeritus faculty, and former students.

Cosponsored by UAlbany’s Office of International Education, University Libraries, and Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures as part of Hispanic Heritage Month

Wayne Koestenbaum
Photo: Heike Steinweg

Wayne Koestenbaum, poet and cultural critic
October 20 (Thursday)
Seminar — 4:15 p.m., Assembly Hall, Campus Center, Uptown Campus
Reading — 8:00 p.m., Assembly Hall, Campus Center, Uptown Campus

Wayne Koestenbaum, poet and critic, is the author most recently of Humiliation (2011), a philosophical meditation on the nature and meaning of personal embarrassment. In advance praise, filmmaker John Waters called it, “the funniest, smartest, most heartbreaking yet powerful book I’ve read in a long time.” A recipient of the Whiting Writers’ Award, Koestenbaum also wrote the surprise bestseller, The Queen’s Throat: Opera, Homosexuality, and the Mystery of Desire (1993), a critical inquiry into the affinity of gay men for opera. A New York Times Notable Book, The Queen’s Throat was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. His poetry collections include Best-Selling Jewish Porn Films (2006), and Model Homes (2004). He is also the author of a critical study of the popular image of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Jackie Under My Skin (1995), and the opera Jackie O (1995).

Philip Schultz
Photo: Monica Banks
Philip Schultz, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and memoirist
October 25 (Tuesday)
Seminar — 4:15 p.m., Standish Room, Science Library, Uptown Campus
Reading — 8:00 p.m., Campus Center Room 375
, Uptown Campus

Philip Schultz, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, is the author of the new memoir, My Dyslexia (2011), a first-hand exploration of the mind’s ability to triumph over its own disabilities. Unable to read until the age of 11, Schultz avoided a medical explanation of his difficulties until his oldest son was diagnosed with the same condition. The author of seven books of poetry, Schultz received the Pulitzer Prize for Failure (2007), a collection that investigates the many varieties of failure, both personal and artistic. In praise, poet Tony Hoagland called Schultz, “one of the least affected of American poets, and one of the fiercest.” His other collections include The God of Loneliness (2010) and Living in the Past (2004).
Colson Whitehead
Erin Patrice O’Brien
Colson Whitehead, fiction writer
November 1 (Tuesday)
Seminar — 4:15 p.m., Assembly Hall, Campus Center, Uptown Campus
Reading — 8:00 p.m., Assembly Hall, Campus Center, Uptown Campus

Colson Whitehead,
prize-winning fiction writer, is the author most recently of Zone One (2011), a post-apocalyptic zombie horror novel set in Manhattan. Publishers Weekly praised the book as a “…smart, funny, pop culture-filled tale…with a fresh take on disasters both natural and not that keep a stranglehold on our fears and dreams.” Winner of a MacArthur Fellowship and the Whiting Writers’ Award, Whitehead is also the author of Sag Harbor (2009), a tale set in a wealthy Black summer community on Long Island; Apex Hides the Hurt (2006), a satirical novel about marketing to Black consumers; The Colossus of New York (2003), a collection of lyrical essays about New York City; and John Henry Days (2001), winner of the New York Public Library Young Lions Award.

Ken Johnson


Ken Johnson, art critic
November 7 (Monday)
Reading — 7:00 p.m., University Art Museum, Fine Arts Building, Uptown Campus

Ken Johnson,
notable New York Times art critic and UAlbany graduate, is the author of Are You Experienced?: How Psychedelic Consciousness Transformed Modern Art (2011). Lavishly illustrated, the book explores the ways in which the drug culture of the 1960s brought about a fundamental shift in the meaning and purpose of art. A faculty member at the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan where he teaches the writing of art criticism, Johnson received an M.A. in studio art from UAlbany in 1978. He is the guest curator of the University Art Museum’s fall 2011 exhibition “After School Special: The 2011 Alumni Show” (October 14 – December 10, 2011).

Cosponsored by the University Art Museum

Dava Sobel
Photo: Libi Pedder

Dava Sobel, science writer
November 10 (Thursday)
Seminar — 4:15 p.m., Assembly Hall, Campus Center, Uptown Campus
Reading — 8:00 p.m., Assembly Hall, Campus Center
, Uptown Campus

Dava Sobel, bestselling science writer, is the author most recently of A More Perfect Heaven: How Copernicus Revolutionized the Cosmos (2011), the story of the reclusive Polish Catholic priest (1473-1543) whose scientific observations changed mankind’s view of the Universe. The Library Journal reviewer said, “Sobel has the knowledge and writerly grace to explain what Copernicus accomplished…. A book on science and personality that should intrigue us all.” Embedded in the new book is Sobel’s play about Copernicus, “And the Sun Stood Still,” which was presented as a staged reading by the Writers Institute in April 2008. Previous internationally bestselling books by Sobel include The Planets (2005), Galileo’s Daughter (1999), winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Award; and Longitude (1995), winner of the British Book of the Year Award.

Isabel Wilkerson
Photo: Joe Henson
Isabel Wilkerson, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist
November 15 (Tuesday) {NOTE: Due to a scheduling conflict, Isabel Wilkerson’s afternoon seminar has been cancelled. She will be appearing at 8 p.m. in Page Hall, only.]
Reading — 8:00 p.m., Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue, Downtown Campus

Isabel Wilkerson, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, is the author of The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration (2010), a sweeping history of the movement of Blacks from the former slave states to the cities of the industrial North during the first half of the twentieth century. Writing in the New Yorker, Jill Lepore called it, “[A] deeply affecting, finely crafted and heroic book.” It received the 2011 National Book Critics Circle Award for nonfiction. In 1994, Wilkerson became the first African American woman to receive the Pulitzer Prize for journalism for her 1993 coverage of floods in the Midwest
Cosponsored by Albany Times Union
Tony Horwitz
Photo: Randi Baird
Tony Horwitz, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist
November 17 (Thursday)
Reading/Discussion — 7:30 p.m., Clark Auditorium, NYS Museum, Cultural Education Center, Albany

Tony Horwitz,
the featured speaker for the 2011 Researching New York Conference, will discuss his new book, Midnight Rising: John Brown and the Raid That Sparked the Civil War (2011). As a reporter for the Wall Street Journal, Horwitz received the Pulitzer Prize in 1994. He is the author of four national nonfiction bestsellers including A Voyage Long and Strange (2008), Blue Latitudes (2002), Confederates in the Attic (1998), and Baghdad Without a Map (1991).

Sponsored by UAlbany’s Department of History, the NYS Archives Partnership Trust, the NYS Writers Institute and NYS Museum. For additional information on the Researching New York Conference go to: http://nystatehistory.org/researchny.
Kirsten Downey

Kirstin Downey, Award-winning journalist
November 18 (Friday)

Discussion — 4:00 p.m., Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center, Uptown Campus

Kirstin Downey, Award-winning journalist for the Washington Post, will make an appearance at the 2011 Researching New York Conference to discuss her 2009 biography of Frances Perkins, The Woman Behind the New Deal: The Life of Frances Perkins, FDR'S Secretary of Labor and His Moral Conscience. The nation’s first female cabinet secretary, Frances Perkins (1880-1965) was one of FDR’s chief advisors, and the principal architect of the most important social welfare legislation in U.S. history. Named one of the best nonfiction books of 2009 by the Library of Congress and the American Library Association, the book was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award. In a starred review, Publishers Weekly said, “Downey provides not only a superb rendering of history but also a large dose of inspiration drawn from Perkins’s clearheaded, decisive work with FDR to solve urgent problems and to succeed in the face of insurmountable odds.”

Sponsored by UAlbany’s Department of History and the NYS Writers Institute. For additional information on the Researching New York Conference go to:http://nystatehistory.org/researchny.

Tom Perrotta

Tom Perrotta, novelist
November 29 (Tuesday)
Seminar — 4:15 p.m., Assembly Hall, Campus Center, Uptown Campus
Reading — 8:00 p.m., Assembly Hall, Campus Center, Uptown Campus

Tom Perrotta is the author of masterpieces of satirical fiction set in the American suburbs. His new novel is The Leftovers (2011), the story of ordinary suburbanites who are forced to cope when they are left behind after “the Rapture,” the New Testament apocalypse. The Kirkus reviewer called it Perrotta’s “most ambitious book to date...,” and said, “The premise is as simple as it is startling.” His previous novels include The Abstinence Teacher (2007), and two that were adapted as major motion pictures, Little Children (2004) and Election (1998).

Robert Caro

Robert Caro, Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer and historian
December 5 (Monday)
Archives Partnership Trust Award Ceremony — 7:30 p.m., The Egg, Empire State Plaza, Albany, NY
Tickets: $10 (plus handling fees) Contact The Egg Box Office at 518-473-1845 or www.theegg.org

Robert Caro, renowned political biographer, will receive the 2011 Empire State Archives and History Award of the NYS Archives Partnership Trust. Caro received the Pulitzer Prize for The Power Broker (1974), a biography of New York City urban planner Robert Moses. For the past three decades, Caro has been writing a series of books on the life of Lyndon B. Johnson: The Path to Power (1982), Means of Ascent (1990), and Master of the Senate (2002), which earned a second Pulitzer Prize.

Contact the Archives Partnership Trust at 518-473-7091 for more information

Willard Sterne Randall

Willard Sterne Randall, biographer and historian
December 6 (Tuesday)
Fossieck Lecture — 4:15 p.m., Standish Room, Science Library, Uptown Campus
Reading — 8:00 p.m., Huxley Theatre, NYS Museum, Cultural Education Center, Albany, NY

Willard Sterne Randall, eminent biographer of leading figures of the American Colonial and Revolutionary War periods, will deliver the annual Fossieck Lecture of the UAlbany Department of History. Randall’s new book is Ethan Allen: His Life and Times (2011), a revelatory portrait of the flamboyant guerilla fighter and Vermont patriot. His previous books include Benedict Arnold: Patriot and Traitor (1990), a New York Times Notable Book, Thomas Jefferson: A Life (1993), and A Little Revenge: Benjamin Franklin and His Son (1984).

Evening reading cosponsored by the Friends of the NYS Library

Science Library, SL 320 | University at Albany, NY 12222 | Phone 518-442-5620 | Fax 518-442-5621 | email writers@uamail.albany.edu