NYSWI Spring Lineup Announced 

Ryan Russell, Colson Whitehead, Jhumpa Lahiri. 

ALBANY, N.Y. (Jan. 23, 2020) – A bevy of acclaimed writers will be coming to the University at Albany during the spring semester, as the New York State Writers Institute and its collaborators launched a Spring 2020 lineup featuring more than 30 events, including Pulitzer Prize winners Jhumpa Lahiri, Jerry Saltz and Colson Whitehead, Nobel laureate Leymah Gbowee, MacArthur “Genius” Award winner and novelist Valeria Luiselli, and Tony Award-winning playwright Lisa Kron.

Other big names include poet and pro football player Ryan Russell and Sister Helen Prejean, author of Dead Man Walking.

The Institute, based at UAlbany, has released its full schedule.

“We are proud and excited to announce one of our most diverse, ambitious and dynamic lineups of authors,” said Paul Grondahl, director of the Institute. “These acclaimed writers, filmmakers and newsmakers represent some of the most original, authentic and brilliant voices on the scene today. Our events span a multitude of genres and topics, from social justice to physical and mental health, spirituality and sports, poetry and playwriting, literary fiction and humor. There is something here for everyone.”

The Institute’s previously-announced Albany Film Festival will bring directors, actors, film industry professionals, and authors whose books were made into films to the University at Albany on Saturday, March 28.

Some highlights of the spring schedule include:

  • 7 p.m. Friday at Page Hall: “A Tribute to Toni Morrison,” including a remembrance and screening of “The Pieces I Am,” a documentary directed by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders.
  • 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 30, Performing Arts Center Recital Hall: “A Love Affair with Italian Language and Literature.” “Creative Life” conversation with Jhumpa Lahiri, renowned for her novels of East Indian American immigrant experience. Lahiri fell in love with Italian language and literature in 2012 and now reads exclusively in Italian, spending half the year in Italy.
  • 7:30 p.m. Monday, March 9, Campus Center West Auditorium: Tony Award-winning playwright Lisa Kron will give the Burian Lecture. Kron wrote the lyrics and book for the hit Broadway musical “Fun Home.”
  • 4:15 p.m. Monday, March 23, Standish Room, Science Library: Q&A with Dead Man Walking author Sister Helen Prejean. At 7:30 p.m. in Page Hall she will present her new memoir, River of Fire (2019).
  • 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 24, University Art Museum: The Creative Life: A Conversation Series at UAlbany, will feature a book signing and reception with Pulitzer Prize-winning art critic Jerry Saltz. A conversation with WAMC’s Joe Donahue will follow at 7 p.m. in the Campus Center West Auditorium.
  • 8 p.m. Monday, April 13, CBIS (Biotech) Auditorium, Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies Buildings, RPI, will feature Pulitzer Prize-winner Colson Whitehead (The Underground Railroad, 2016) at a reading for the McKinney Writing Contest Awards. He will read from his new book The Nickel Boys (2019).
  • 12 p.m. Wednesday, April 15, Location TBD, Uptown Campus: A presentation and conversation with Liberian peace activist and Nobel laureate Leymah Gbowee. She received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011 for her work in leading a women’s peace movement that brought an end to the Second Liberian Civil War in 2003. She shared the prize with fellow Liberian Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Yemen native Tawakkol Karman.
  • 4:15 p.m., Wednesday, April 22, Standish Room, Science Library: “Latinidades at the Writers Institute.” The Power of Storytelling with Valeria Luiselli, winner of a 2019 MacArthur “Genius” Award, is a best-selling New York-based Mexican author. Her new novel is Lost Children Archive (2019) about one family’s road trip from New York to Arizona—into the heart of the immigration crisis.

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