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Randy Cohen UAlbany alum Randy Cohen interviews William Kennedy for a "Person Place Thing" podcast
Wednesday, February 21, 2018 (two events on the University at Albany uptown campus)
-- Craft talk on making podcasts at 4:15 p.m., B90, Multi-Use Room, Campus Center West Addition
-- Randy Cohen hosts a "Person Place Thing" podcast with William Kennedy at 7:00 p.m., Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center

Writer, four-time Emmy Award winner, and former New York Times columnist Randy Cohen will interview Pulitzer Prize winner and NYS Writers Institute Founder and Executive Director William Kennedy for a "Person Place Thing" podcast at 7 p.m. Wednesday, February 21, at the UAlbany Performing Arts Recital Hall on the uptown campus. University at Albany students will perform live music during the taping.

Earlier that same day, Cohen will hold a craft talk on making podcasts at 4:15 p.m. in the Multi-Use Room in the UAlbany Campus Center. Both events are free and open to the public.

Randy Cohen is the host and creator of the nationally-syndicated "Person Place Thing" podcast produced by JCC Manhattan and sponsored by WAMC/Northeast Public Radio. "Person Place Thing" is an interview show based on the idea that people are particularly engaging when they speak not directly about themselves but about something they care about. Guests talk about one person, one place, and one thing that are important to them. Guests have included actor F. Murray Abraham to Emmy-winning "Saturday Night Live" writer Alan Zweibel.

As the writer of "The Ethicist," a weekly syndicated column for the New York Times Magazine, Cohen answered readers' questions on ethics for more than a decade. His book, The Good, the Bad & the Difference: How to Tell Right from Wrong in Everyday Situations, is based on his newspaper column. He is also the author of Diary of a Flying Man, a collection of stories and humor pieces.

Cohen's first professional work was writing humor pieces, essays and stories for newspapers and magazines such as the New Yorker, Harper's, The Atlantic and the Young Love romance comic book series. For several years, he wrote "The News Quiz," a regular column of topical comedy for the online magazine Slate.

Before becoming a journalist, Cohen worked extensively in television. He wrote for "Late Night with David Letterman," for which he shared three Emmy Awards during the mid-1980s. He won a fourth Emmy for his work on Michael Moore's "TV Nation" and also wrote for the comedy show "Ed." He was the original head writer on the "The Rosie O'Donnell Show," for which he also co-wrote the theme music. Cohen is a regular contributor to "Weekend All Things Considered" on National Public Radio.

Cohen received his degree in music from the University at Albany in 1971 and delivered the graduate commencement address at his alma mater in 2011.

Pulitzer Prize-winning author and native son Kennedy turned 90 on January 16. His Albany Cycle of novels – Legs, Billy Phelan's Greatest Game, and the Pulitzer Prize-winning Ironweed -- helped to establish the city as an internationally recognized capital of the literary imagination. Upon winning a MacArthur Fellowship “genius grant” in 1983, Kennedy earmarked a portion of the grant money to establish the New York State Writers Institute at the University at Albany.

Later this spring, the Writers Institute will host a "This Is Your Life, William Kennedy" program on Friday, May 4.

The programs are cosponsored by the UAlbany Speaker Series and Department of Music and Theatre.

Below, watch Randy Cohen discuss the concept behind his "Person Place Thing" podcast.