Clear your Saturday for the Albany Book Festival

A composite of six author portraits

ALBANY, N.Y. (Sept. 21, 2021) — Readers, writers and all book lovers: Clear your calendars. This Saturday is the 4th annual Albany Book Fest, a daylong celebration of authors and their books.

The festival, presented by the NYS Writers Institute, will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at locations throughout the Campus Center. Visiting artists include local authors and international best sellers, and the events include writers panel discussions, workshops on writing and publishing, readings by young writers and a local authors marketplace.

The ceremonial kickoff for the festival takes place at 7:30 p.m. Friday in the Campus Center West auditorium, with the official installation of the New York State author and state poet.  

Novelist and playwright Ayad Akhtar, a Pulitzer Prize winner whose work explores the immigrant experience, Muslim American identity and the world of high finance, is the new state author. Willie Perdomo, a prize-winning poet and children’s author, is the new state poet.

UAlbany President Havidán Rodríguez, SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras and state and local dignitaries will be on hand at the installation.

Both the installation ceremony and the Albany Book Festival are free and open to the public. Parking is free at marked locations; you can find them on the Book Festival website. Facemasks are required.

This year’s lineup of guest writers includes:

  • Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah (Friday Black: Stories) 
  • Ayad Akhtar (Homeland Elegies)
  • Robert Boyers (The Tyranny of Virtue: Identity, The Academy, and the Hunt for Political Heresies) 
  • Elizabeth Brundage (The Vanishing Point) 
  • Mary Gaitskill (This is Pleasure) 
  • Garth Greenwell (Cleanness) 
  • Farah Jasmine Griffin (Read Until You Understand: The Profound Wisdom of Black Life and Literature)
  • Janell Hobson (When God Lost Her Tongue: Historical Consciousness and the Black Feminist Imagination),
  • Quiara Alegría Hudes (My Broken Language: A Memoir) 
  • Amitava Kumar (A Time Outside This Time) 
  • Reif Larsen (Uma Wimple Charts her House) 
  • Emily Layden (All Girls)
  • Ed Lin (David Tung Can’t Have a Girlfriend Until He Gets Into an Ivy League College)
  • George Makari (Of Fear and Strangers: A History of Xenophobia) 
  • Bethany C. Morrow (So Many Beginnings: A Little Women Remix)
  • Chris Offutt (The Killing Hills)
  • Peter Osnos (An Especially Good View: Watching History Happen)
  • Jay Parini (Borges and Me: An Encounter)
  • David Pietrusza (Too Long Ago: A Childhood Memoir. A Vanished World.)
  • Nathaniel Philbrick (Travels with George: In Search of Washington and His Legacy)
  • David Rohde (In Deep: The FBI, the CIA, and the Truth about America’s “Deep State”)
  • Ed Schwarzschild (In Security)
  • Dana Spiotta (Wayward)
  • Setsuko Winchester (ceramicist known for The Yellow Bowl Project)
  • Simon Winchester (LAND: How the Hunger for Ownership Shaped the Modern World)

Attendees and events are subject to change. For more information, visit or contact the Writers Institute at 518-442-5620 or online at