For the past thirteen years, The New York State Writers Institute - founded by Albany native and Pulitzer Prize-winning author William Kennedy - has contributed to the culture of the Capital Region by inviting some of the greatest minds of our time to share their ideas and read from their written works. This month, the Institute extends its reach and mission with the introduction to WMHT of the series The Writer. Having premiered to much acclaim several months ago on WMHQ, the series retums with a combination of new and encore programs.
The first episode of The Writer features Shelby Foote, best known for his three-volume historical work The Civil War: A Narrative, and highly regarded for his novels and short stories concerning the heritage of the American South. Foote provided commentary for Ken Burns' PBS television series, The Civil War. The September 14 program features poet Philip Levine. Levine's 15th collection of poetry, The Simple Truth, won the 1995 Pulitzer Prize. Grounded in the harsh reality of contemporary life, his work has also earned him the American Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award.
Frank McCourt is featured on September 21. McCourt's first book, Angela's Ashes, has become an international literary phenomenon and won the 1997 Pulitzer Prize. The Irish American writer's memoir of growing up poor and neglected in Limerick, Ireland, has been on the New York Times Book Review Best Sellers list for nonfiction for nearly a year, and has been universally praised by critics. On September 28, The Writer features Edna O'Brien, an Irish novelist, short story writer, playwright and screenwriter, known as a pioneer for her frank portrayals of women. O'Brien's latest novel, Down By the River, was published in May.
Other programs this fall will feature Robert Stone, Wole Soyinka, Joyce Carol Oates, Nicholas Delbanco, Jamaica Kincaid, Ed Sanders, Lee K. Abboft, and Carolyn Forché. Writers slated for spring 1998 include Anne Beattie, Russell Banks, and Hunter S. Thompson. Albany is extremely fortunate to have a resource like the New York State Writers Institute, and WMHT is proud to extend their efforts to our viewers with The Writer.
I hope you'll be inspired and educated by this series, premiering Sunday, September 7th at 7 pm on WMHT (programs repeat Wednesdays at 9:30 pm on WMHQ).