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Uptown Campus:

Courtesy parking for Writers
Institute events on the Uptown
Campus will be available in the
State Quad Student Parking Lot
one hour prior to and one hour
after events. Visitor Parkling lots
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after 4 pm., though parking spaces
are very limited. See map.

Downtown Campus:
For Downtown Campus events,
courtesy parking will be
available in the Thurlow Student
Parking lot.



"...literary conversation is the best conversation in the world"
William Kennedy

Announcing the launch of Trolley

Trolley online journal We're pleased to announce the launch of Trolley, our new web magazine of essay, opinion, literature, culture, and politics.

The inaugural issue features submissions from writers whose range of opinions – and diverse writing styles – converged on the issues of truth, fake news, and journalism, themes were central to our "Telling the Truth in a Post-Truth World" symposium held in October, 2017.

Please visit Trolley and post a comment, letting us know your thoughts on our newest venture to engage the online audience.

Patricia SmithPatricia Smith, award-winning poet
March 23 (Friday)

Presentation/Q&A — 6:00 p.m., Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue, Downtown Campus

Patricia Smith, playwright, essayist, professor, and award-winning poet. Slam poetry impresario Bob Holman said Smith’s poems, "…sweat up the pages, caress the reader’s eyes, and set fire to the books they’re printed in."

Cosponsored by UAlbany’s English Graduate Student Organization, English Department, Graduate Student Association, and the Writers Institute

March 23 (Friday)

Film Screening 8:00 p.m., Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue, Downtown Campus

Directed by Greg Jacobs and Jon Siskel (United States, 2010, 99 minutes, color)

This award-winning documentary tells the story of four Chicago high school poetry teams as they prepare for and compete in the world’s largest youth slam. "Packs a greater emotional punch than any film in current release" (Boston Herald).

Archer Mayor and Rabi MusahArcher Mayor, bestselling mystery author, and Rabi Musah, UAlbany chemist
March 27 (Tuesday)

-- Q&A about the craft of mystery writing with Archer Mayor — 4:15 p.m., Standish Room, Science Library, Uptown Campus
-- Conversation, "Corpses, Blow Flies, and Post-Mortem Forensics" with Archer Mayor and Rabi Musah — 7:30 p.m., D’Ambra Auditorium, Life Sciences Research Building Room 2095, Uptown Campus

Archer Mayor, bestselling mystery writer of the Joe Gunther detective series, has also worked for decades as a death investigator for Vermont’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner and as a detective for the Windham County Sheriff’s Office.

Rabi Musah is UAlbany Professor of Chemistry and Director of the Musah Research Lab, where she is pioneering a process to pinpoint a corpse’s time-of-death based on a chemical analysis of blow fly eggs. An expert in the scientific evaluation of folk medicine and medicinal plants, Musah has earned national media attention from PBS’s NOVA, The Huffington Post, and New Scientist.

Read more about the Mayor and Archer events.

Cosponsored by the School of Criminal Justice

The Creative Life Series
The Creative Life logo
Created and produced by the New York State Writers Institute, University Art Museum, and UAlbany Performing Arts Center in collaboration with WAMC Northeast Public Radio, The Creative Life series features leading figures from a variety of artistic disciplines in conversation with WAMC's "Roundtable" host Joe Donahue about their creative inspiration, craft, and careers.

Upcoming Creative Life events for Spring 2018:
March 28: Garth Fagan   |   April 26: Patti Lupone

Garth FaganGarth Fagan, The Lion King choreographer
March 28 (Wednesday)

Conversation — 7:00 p.m., Main Theatre, Performing Arts Center, Uptown Campus

Jamaican-born Garth Fagan is founder and artistic director of the award-winning and internationally acclaimed Garth Fagan Dance, now in its 47th season. His innovative choreography for Disney’s musical The Lion King was honored with a Drama Desk Award, Outer Critics Circle Award, Tony Award and the Laurence Olivier Award. Watch an interview with Fagan and read more.

Major support for The Creative Life is provided by The University at Albany Foundation with additional support from the UAlbany Alumni Association, College of Arts and Sciences, Office of the Provost and University Auxiliary Services.


Kathryn Walat and Portia KriegerAuthors Theatre presentation of Southern Haunt,followed by Q&A with playwright Kathryn Walat and director Portia Krieger
April 2 (Monday)

Staged reading — 7:30 p.m., Studio Theatre, Performing Arts Center, Uptown Campus

Kathryn Walat, playwright and UAlbany Theatre Program Assistant Professor, presents a staged reading of her play-in-progress, Southern Haunt, "a spooky-sexy Southern gothic play set in Savannah." Following a reading by professional actors, the audience will be invited to share reactions with the playwright.

Portia Krieger is a New York-based director. For the theatre company Clubbed Thumb, she recently directed The Tomb of King Tot (2016), which was named a New York Times "Critics’ Pick."

Cosponsored by the Jarka and Grayce Burian Endowment and UAlbany’s Theatre Program

Rosa Alice BrancoRosa Alice Branco, Portuguese poet, with translator Alexis Levitin
April 3 (Tuesday)

Presentation/Q&A — 4:15 p.m., Standish Room, Science Library, Uptown Campus

Rosa Alice Branco is a major Portuguese poet whose work has appeared in translation in more than forty literary journals around the world. Alexis Levitin has translated more than thirty works of writers from Portugal, Brazil, and Ecuador and his translations have appeared in well over 200 magazines.

Cosponsored by the Portuguese Program of UAlbany’s Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures

Susan Burton UAlbany Symposium: "Incarcerating Girls and Women: Past and Present"
April 6 (Friday)

Film screening and discussion of INCARCERATION NATION with Susan Burton, former inmate, author, and prison reform activist — 7:00 p.m., Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue, Downtown Campus

(United States, 2013, 60 minutes, color)

Film screening and discussion is the keynote event of the University at Albany symposium, "Incarcerating Girls and Women: Past and Present."

After serving six prison terms in 17 years, Susan Burtonpublished her memoir, Becoming Ms. Burton, recounts her life-struggles after her five-year-old son was killed by a van driving down their street and, consumed by grief, she turned to drugs.

Sponsored by UAlbany’s School of Criminal Justice’s 'Justice and Multiculturalism in the 21st Century' project.

Andrea J. BuchananAndrea J. Buchanan, bestselling YA and children’s author, and memoirist
April 10 (Tuesday)

-- Conversation about her memoir of overcoming neurological illness — 4:15 p.m., Campus Center Room 375, Uptown Campus
-- Conversation on writing for children and young adults — 7:00 p.m., Guilderland Public Library, 2228 Western Avenue, Guilderland

Andrea J. Buchanan is the co-author of the million-selling The Daring Book for Girls series. Her new memoir, The Beginning of Everything (2018), recounts her harrowing experience with a real-life neurological mystery after a coughing fit led to brain trauma and months of cognitive impairment.

Cosponsored by Guilderland Public Library and UAlbany Women in Science and Health

Paul HardingPaul Harding, Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist
April 12 (Thursday)

Reading and McKinney Writing Contest Awards — 8:00 p.m., CBIS (Biotech) Auditorium, Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies Building, RPI, Troy

Paul Harding received the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for Tinkers (2009). His second novel, Enon (2013), is the story of one man’s enduring love for his daughter, and was named a best novel of the year by The Wall Street Journal and the American Library Association.For directions:

Sponsored by Rensselaer’s 77th Annual McKinney Writing Contest and Reading and the Vollmer W. Fries Lecture.

April 13 (Friday)

Film screening — 7:00 p.m., Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue, Downtown Campus

Directed by Jonathan Demme (United States, 2013, 130 minutes, color)
Starring Wallace Shawn, Julie Hagerty

This film was adapted from Henrik Ibsen’s play for a contemporary setting by Wallace Shawn, who plays the architect Halvard Solness, an egomaniac who enjoys manipulating and bullying everyone around him, especially his wife and mistresses.
NOTE: Shown in association with the April 30 visit of Eugene Lee, who created the film’s production design

Sara Novic and Peter GoldenSara Nović and Peter Golden, acclaimed novelists
April 17 (Tuesday)

-- Craft talk — 4:15 p.m., Standish Room, Science Library, Uptown Campus
-- Presentation/Q&A — 7:30 p.m., Huxley Theatre, NYS Museum, Cultural Education Center, Albany

Sara Nović, whose debut novel, Girl at War (2012) was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize is a notable figure in the American deaf community, founder of the deaf rights and culture website,

Peter Golden is the author of the new novel, Nothing Is Forgotten (2018), about a young man from New Jersey who travels to Khrushchev’s Russia, where he discovers love and the long-buried secrets of his heritage. An award-winning journalist, Golden has interviewed many world leaders, including Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Henry Kissinger, Yitzhak Rabin, and Mikhail Gorbachev.

Cosponsored by UAlbany’s Disability Resource Center, State Education Department’s Office of Cultural Education, and Friends of the New York State Library

Salman RushdieSalman Rushdie, award-winning novelist
April 19 (Thursday)

Craft talk — 4:15 p.m., Lecture Center 25, Uptown Campus
Presentation/Q&A — 7:30 p.m., Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue, Downtown Campus

Salman Rushdie is widely recognized as a leading figure of world literature. His 1981 novel,
Midnight’s Children, received not only the Booker Prize, but also the 1993 "Booker of Bookers" and the 2008 "Best of the Booker," selected from all 41 winners since the prize’s inception in 1969.

This will be Rushdie’s first visit to the Institute since cancelling his scheduled 1988 appearance due to the controversies surrounding his novel, The Satanic Verses.

Cosponsored by the UAlbany Speaker Series

Marc GuggenheimMarc Guggenheim, screenwriter, TV producer, comic book writer, and novelist
April 20 (Friday)

Presentation — 7:00 p.m., Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue, Downtown Campus

Marc Guggenheim, UAlbany alum, is a "showrunner" of imaginative TV shows inspired by DC comic book worlds, including Arrow (2012-present) and Legends of Tomorrow (2016-present), two of the most popular shows on The CW network. He is also the creator of the TV show, Eli Stone (2008-9), screenwriter of the films, Green Lantern (2011), and Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters (2013), and author of the novel, Overwatch (2014), a CIA legal thriller

Sponsored by the UAlbany Speaker Series

Cokie Roberts Women and Power in America
April 24 (Tuesday)

Craft talk with Cokie Roberts on writing about women’s history — 4:15 p.m., Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center, Uptown Campus
Panel Discussion on "Women and Power in America" — 7:30 p.m., Hearst Media Center, 645 Albany Shaker Road, Albany

Influential women in the fields of broadcasting, journalism, and politics will discuss the challenges and opportunities facing women in America today.

Moderator: Cokie Roberts, one of America’s leading broadcast journalists, is a long-time reporter, news analyst, and commentator for National Public Radio; a commentator and analyst for ABC News; and a regular roundtable analyst for This Week with George Stephanopoulos.

Danielle BeltonDanielle Belton is editor-in-chief of The Root, the Internet’s most-visited African-American news and culture site, founded by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Donald E. Graham.

Prior to joining The Root, Belton created and wrote the acclaimed blog, The Black Snob, followed by millions of readers.

She served formerly as editor-in-chief of Clutch magazine, and head writer for BET’s Don’t Sleep, hosted by T. J. Holmes.


Jill SteinJill Stein was the Green Party’s nominee for President of the United States in the 2016 and 2012 elections. She also ran as the Green Party candidate for Governor of Massachusetts in 2010 and 2002.

A physician and graduate of Harvard Medical School, she is a noted crusader for progressive causes including voter rights, children’s health, and climate change prevention.



Kathy Sheehan, the first female mayor of Albany, NY, (2014-present) is an attorney and former Albany City treasurer.



Cosponsored by the Times Union Women@Work network of business and professional women (

Patti Lupone The Creative Life Series
The Creative Life logo
Patti LuPone, Grammy and Tony award-winning actress
April 26 (Thursday)

Conversation — 7:00 p.m., Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue, Downtown Campus

Patti LuPone, one of musical theatre’s most beloved leading ladies, whose autobiography, Patti LuPone: A Memoir (2010), was a New York Times bestseller that shared the intimate story of her life both onstage and off — through the dizzying highs and darkest lows — with the humor and outspokenness that have become her trademarks.

Nina G Nina G, comedian, disability rights activist, and author
April 27 (Friday)

Comedy performance — 7:00 p.m., Campus Center Ballroom, Uptown Campus

Nina G, the "Stuttering Comedian," is also a professional speaker, storyteller, writer, and educator. She brings her humor to help people confront and understand disability culture, access, and empowerment.

Sponsored by UAlbany’s Disability Resource Center, University Auxiliary Services, and Division of Student Affairs

Eugene Lee The 22nd Annual Burian Lecture: Funded by the Jarka and Grayce Burian Endowment
Eugene Lee, set designer for Wicked and Saturday Night Live

April 30 (Monday)

Craft talk — 4:15 p.m., Studio Theatre, Performing Arts Center, Uptown Campus
The Burian Lecture — 7:30 p.m., Studio Theatre, Performing Arts Center, Uptown Campus

Eugene Lee, legendary Broadway set designer, has won three Tony Awards for his work on Leonard Bernstein’s Candide, Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd, and Gregory Maguire’s Wicked. Lee has also served as the production designer for Saturday Night Live for more than forty years since its 1975 premiere.

Cosponsored by the Jarka and Grayce Burian Endowment and UAlbany’s Theatre Program


David Tomas Martinez David Tomas Martinez
May 1 (Tuesday)

Craft talk — 4:15 p.m., Standish Room, Science Library, Uptown Campus
Presentation/Q&A — 7:00 p.m., Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center, Uptown Campus

David Tomas Martinez, prize-winning poet, is a former San Diego gang member and teenage father whose work addresses themes of street life, poverty, masculinity, drugs, and violence in the barrio.

Currently a professor of creative writing at Columbia University, Martinez is the author of the new poetry collection, Post Traumatic Hood Disorder (2018).

Cosponsored by the Writing Center of the UAlbany English Department and the student performance troupe, Phenomenal Voices

William Kennedy"This Is Your Life, William Kennedy" Celebration"
May 4 (Friday)

7:00 p.m., Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue, Downtown Campus

The Writers Institute will celebrate its founder in his 90th year with appearances by special guests, to be announced, prerecorded video tributes by major authors and filmmakers, and a slideshow of photographs documenting significant milestones in a singular and eventful life. We invite you all to join the fun. A reception with light refreshments to follow.

Our 2018 Visiting Writers, Filmmakers, Artists, Newsmakers

Spring 2018 season

Here's a look at our complete Spring 2018 schedule.

If you would like to keep informed of upcoming Writers Institute events, please send an email to Michael Huber at

UAlbany logo


Science Library, SL 320, University at Albany, NY 12222
Phone 518-442-5620, Fax 518-442-5621, email

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