Literary Arts

Throughout history, storytellers have been the keepers of civilization. Words -- in poems, prose, and journalism -- help us make sense of our world. Stories are at the foundation of the human experience.


New York State Writers Institute (NYSWI)


Edward Burns, award-winning filmmaker, actor, screenwriter, and former UAlbany student returned to campus for a New York State Writers Institute event on November 6, 2015.

The New York State Writers Institute, hosted by the University at Albany, is one of the premier sites in the country for promoting the art of the written word. Created in 1983 by the New York State Legislature, the Institute’s mandate is to provide “a milieu for established and aspiring writers to work together … to increase the freedom of the artistic imagination.” To meet its mandate, the Institute sponsors a wide range of events including author visits, film screenings, symposia, staged readings, and writing workshops. Books, films, plays, and their creators can provide portals through which the most personal and complex issues of the human condition can be explored.

The Institute’s programs exemplify several of the University at Albany’s core priorities and values: excellence in diversity and inclusion by presenting multidisciplinary and multicultural voices; public engagement; and emphasizing the role that the arts and humanities play in an urban, public research university. The Writers Institute collaborates with the schools, colleges, and individual departments at UAlbany to bring writers and scholars in a wide range of literary genres, subjects, and artistic and public concerns to campus. Through seminars and readings UAlbany students have unprecedented access to some of the leading experts in their professional fields.

The Institute’s programs are offered for free and are open to both the university community and the general public. They are designed to increase access to great literature and to encourage an exchange of ideas between writers in all genres and readers of all ages and interests.


New York State Writers Institute Programs:

Visiting Writers Series

Each year the Writers Institute brings 40-50 writers to Albany to conduct informal seminars, writing workshops, and readings. Since its inception in 1984 the Institute has hosted well over 1400 writers, poets, journalists, historians, dramatists, and filmmakers. The list includes eight Nobel Award winners, nearly 200 Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winners, and numerous other literary prize recipients. Visiting Writers Archive


Classic Film Series

The Institute’s Classic Film Series features weekly screenings of domestic and international films of distinction, and film festivals devoted to the work of particular directors, producers, or screenwriters. The series has included rare films culled from archives and private collections, pre-release screenings from major studios, contemporary international offerings, as well as classics made in the U.S.


New York State Summer Writers Institute

Saratoga Springs has been the summer home of the Institute since 1988. The New York State Summer Writers Institute, co-sponsored with the Office of the Dean for Special Programs at Skidmore College, consists of two and four-week workshops in fiction, playwriting and screenwriting, poetry, editing, and translation. These fee-based workshops, which may be taken for college credit, are augmented by nightly readings by nearly 50 faculty and guest visiting writers, which are free and open to the public.


New York State Summer Young Writers Institute

The Institute is proud to offer a writing workshop for New York State high-school students each summer at the Institute’s summer home in Saratoga Springs. For two weeks in July student writers work closely with professional writers to immerse themselves in poetry, prose, and creative nonfiction. Admission to the Young Writers Institute is limited, competitive, and open to high school students (grades 10-12).


New York State Author/Poet Awards

By special mandate in 1985, the Institute was selected by the New York State Legislature to award both the Edith Wharton Citation of Merit for Fiction Writers (State Author) and the Walt Whitman Citation of Merit for Poets (State Poet) every two years. The Governor awards each citation upon the recommendation of two advisory panels of distinguished authors convened under the aegis of the Institute.


Community Writers Workshops

The Institute offers Community Writers Workshops for members of the community in a variety of genres and levels throughout the academic year. Offered free of charge, participants are selected based on the submission of writing samples.


Authors Theatre

The New York State Writers Institute's Authors Theatre was created to bring dramaturgy and audience response into the creative writing process by exploring the literary dimension of plays in progress, rather than showcasing productions of finished works. The series has benefited playwrights and audiences alike by creating a space where focused audience-author discourse contributes meaningfully to the shaping of a dramatic work at the same time that it demystifies the creative process.


Department of English

The Department of English is a community of scholars and writers interested in the power of language and the role of literature in culture. The Department offers an undergraduate degree, a Master of Arts and a Ph.D. The Department also offers a minor in Creative Writing, and an Internship Program, which provides English majors and minors with fieldwork opportunities both on and off campus in professions such as law, publishing, social services, journalism, government, and education, among others.


Journalism Program

The Journalism Program prepares students to work as journalists, freelance writers, TV producers, broadcasters, webcasters, editors, magazine and book publishers, and copywriters.


Writing and Critical Inquiry Program

The Program of Writing and Critical Inquiry is a community of teachers and writers who offer UAlbany first-year students with a rigorous introduction to the practice of academic writing and critical thinking in college. It provides a foundation for students to develop their ability to communicate effectively in written and oral discourse, skills crucial not only to their college success, but for their lives outside the university.


Student Association Literary Arts Clubs:

Science Fiction/Fantasy Book Club, The University at Albany Creative Writing Club


Creative Outlets & Resources:

Students studying together

Writing Center

Since 1977 the Writing Center has offered students, faculty and staff with instruction and critical advice at any stage of the writing process for academic coursework or creative projects. The Center also provides undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to tutor and develop their skills in writing, research, and teaching.

World of Writing

The World of Writing is one of UAlbany’s Living-Learning Communities, which are designed to bring together freshman students with an interest in a particular subject. World of Writing freshmen will be welcomed into a lively and diverse community of faculty and peers who want to share their passion for writing and storytelling.

Students working with a professor on campus


Arch is an online e-journal that provides UAlbany undergraduate students with the opportunity to publish their original work as well as promote the creative community within the campus. Published once a semester, Arch presents poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, plays, visual arts, photography, and music, all by students.


A multi-genre journal with an internationalist stance.