Three Creative Life Guests Announced

Lest, a portrait of a smiling Ruth Reichl. Left, Debbie Millman leans, smiling, to look at Roxane Gay, whose expression is serious and whose arms are crossed.
Left to right: Ruth Reichl, Debbie Millman and Roxane Gay

ALBANY, N.Y. (Sept. 9, 2021) — Chef and food writer Ruth Reichl, designer Debbie Millman, and author and social commentator Roxane Gay will be featured this fall in The Creative Life: A Conversation Series.

The series is an initiative of the University Art Museum, New York State Writers Institute and UAlbany Performing Arts Center (PAC) in conjunction with WAMC Public Radio. Sponsored by The University at Albany Foundation, the series features live, onstage conversations between WAMC’s "Roundtable" host Joe Donahue and prominent artists about their creative inspiration, craft and careers. A question-and-answer period closes each program. 

Guests span the creative disciplines, including writing, music, dance, visual arts, theatre and film. All Creative Life events are free and open to the public, and the fall conversations will take place at the PAC.

Ruth Reichl, 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 5

Reichl began writing about food in 1972 when she published Mmmmm: A Feastiary. Since then, she has authored the critically acclaimed, best-selling memoirs Tender at the Bone; Comfort Me with Apples, Garlic and Sapphires; and For You Mom, Finally. She also has a novel, Delicious!, and a cookbook, My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes That Saved My Life

Reichl was editor in chief of Gourmet magazine from 1999 to 2009. Before that she was a restaurant critic for The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, where she was also named food editor. Reichl hosted “Eating Out Loud,” three specials on Food Network. She is the executive producer of Gourmet’s “Diary of a Foodie,” public television’s 30-episode series, and executive producer/host of Gourmet’s “Adventures with Ruth,” a 10-episode public television event. She was also a judge on "Top Chef Masters."

Debbie Millman and Roxane Gay, 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 2

A UAlbany alum, designer Debbie Millman also is an author, educator, illustrator, curator and host of “Design Matters,” one of the world’s first and longest running podcasts.

Millman has written six books and has two books of illustrated essays. Her latest book, Why Design Matters, will be released Oct. 26 by HarperCollins. Her illustrations have appeared in The New York Times, New York Magazine, Print Magazine, Design Observer and Fast Company. Millman’s artwork is included in the Boston Biennale, Chicago Design Museum, Anderson University, School of Visual Arts, Long Island University, The Wolfsonion Museum and the Czong Institute for Contemporary Art.

Roxane Gay’s writing appears in Best American Mystery Stories 2014, Best American Short Stories 2012, Best Sex Writing 2012, A Public Space, McSweeney’s, Tin House, Oxford American, American Short Fiction, Virginia Quarterly Review and many others. She is a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times.

Gay is the author of Ayiti, An Untamed State and Bad Feminist and Hunger, both of which made The New York Times bestsellers list, and the nationally bestselling Difficult Women. She also is the author of World of Wakanda for Marvel. She has several books forthcoming, is at work on television and film projects and has a newsletter, The Audacity.

Millman and Gay are married and will be interviewed as a couple.

Creative Lives

The Creative Life Series celebrates the depth and range of artistic practices, helps to demystify the creative process and explores what it means to dedicate one’s life to a creative pursuit. It is also intended to bring attention to the vibrant arts community at UAlbany.

Guests for the previous four seasons of the series included fiction writer Joyce Carol Oates, tap dancer-choreographer Savion Glover, jazz violinist Regina Carter, painter David Salle, young adult author Lois Lowry, choreographer Garth Fagan, Broadway star Patti LuPone, Warhol film star Bibbe Hansen, sculptor Jean Shin, author/essayist Esmeralda Santiago, New Yorker journalist/author Susan Orlean, comedian/actor Paul Reiser, high-wire artist Philippe Petit, rapper Rakim and novelist Jhumpa Lahiri. Art critic Jerry Saltz’s March 2020 appearance in the series was postponed due to the pandemic and will be rescheduled for a later date. Additional guests will also be added for the spring of 2022.

Major support for The Creative Life is provided by The University at Albany Foundation with additional support from University Auxiliary Services. 

For more information, call the PAC box office at (518) 442-3997.