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A Literary Feast 

From left, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Gregory Maguire, Annette Gordon-Reed and Khizr Khan are among the authors who will be at the New York State Writers Institute's inaugural Book Festival.

ALBANY, N.Y. (Sept. 18, 2018) – What would heaven look like to the voracious reader?

It would in all likelihood look like The New York State Writers Institute’s Albany Book Festival, happening Sept. 28 and 29 in the Campus Center.

In addition to several national authors, the Festival combines a book fair of local authors, publishers and book sellers with panel discussions, book signings and activities, including programming for children.

“We are excited to bring the Albany Book Festival to the University at Albany campus in this new initiative from the New York State Writers Institute,” said Writers Institute director Paul Grondahl. “We are inviting book lovers of all ages from across the Capital Region to join with the University community in honoring the transformative power of great literature, celebrating the craft of acclaimed writers, discussing important topics in the national dialogue, and highlighting the fact that books bring us together rather than divide us.”

“Fall book festivals are a fixture in vibrant American cities from Miami to Los Angeles,” Grondahl said. “As one of the nation’s premier literary presenting organizations, we feel that now is the time for the Writers Institute to create the inaugural Albany Book Festival. We want to capitalize on Albany’s grand literary tradition while welcoming a diverse communities of people to campus in a family-friendly, fun-filled event that shows off some of our University’s finest assets.”

The Institute, housed at UAlbany, is a literary jewel in the crown of New York State and is a magnet for some of the best-known authors.

The Book Festival features a ceremony on Friday, installing Colson Whitehead as New York’s 12th State Author and Alicia Ostriker as New York’s 11th State Poet.

On Saturday, Radha Agrawal, social entrepreneur, author and founder of Daybreaker, kicks off the day’s events at 10 a.m. with a morning dance party. Daybreaker is an early morning dance party movement in 25 cities around the world, and growing. Agrawal will discuss her new book, Belong: Find Your People, Create Community and Live a More Connected Life.

Presenting on Saturday will be:

  • Doris Kearns Goodwin, one of America’s best known historians, from 11 to 11:45 a.m.
  • Gregory Maguire, UAlbany alumnus, Albany native, and author of the best-selling Wicked series, from noon to 12:45 p.m.
  • Jonathan Santlofer on How We Grieve, from 1 to 1:45 p.m. Santlofer will be joined by UAlbany English professor Jeffrey Berman, author of books on grief and a scholar on the topic.
  • William Kennedy, with a book signing from 2 to 2:45 p.m. Kennedy, founder of the NYSWI, will sign copies of the newly published Bootlegger of the Soul: The Literary Legacy of William Kennedy.
  • Walter Mosley, best-known for his mysteries featuring the character Easy Rawlins, from 3 to 3:45 p.m.

There will be Saturday panel discussions:

  • 11 a.m.-12 noon on food writing, with Mark Kurlansky, Francis Lam, Michael W. Twitty and Leyla Moushabeck.
  • 12:15-1:15 p.m. on history writing, with Terry Golway, Annette Gordon-Reed, Gilbert King and Keisha N. Blain.
  • 1:30-2:30 p.m. on mystery writing, with Laura Lippman, Mosley, Joseph Finder and Linda Fairstein.
    2:45 to 3:45 p.m. on “new Americans,” with Julissa Arce, Abdi Nor Iftin, Khizr Khan and Maeve Higgins.

In addition, more than 75 local authors will be selling and signing books on Saturday at the Festival.

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