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Elisa Albert. photo by hulya KilicastanElisa Albert
Novelist and
short story writer

Previous Visit:
March 27, 2007

Yelena Akhtiorskaya, photo by Sarah ShatzYelena



NYS Writers Institute, March 26, 2015

4:15 p.m. Seminar | Standish Room, Science Library, Uptown Campus
8:00 p.m. Reading | Campus Center 375. Uptown Campus

Elisa Albert, author of the new novel, After Birth (2015), a piercingly candid and outrageously funny story of new motherhood, and Yelena Akhtiorskaya, author of the brilliant debut novel, Panic in a Suitcase (2014), about a Ukrainian immigrant family in Brooklyn, will read from their new work on Thursday, March 26, 2015 at 8:00 p.m. in Campus Center 375 on the University at Albany’s uptown campus, 1400 Washington Avenue, Albany. Earlier that same day at 4:15 p.m., the authors will present an informal seminar in the Standish Room, Science Library, on the UAlbany uptown campus. The events are sponsored by the New York State Writers Institute, and are free and open to the public.

Elisa Albert is the author of the new novel After Birth (2015), a piercingly candid and outrageously funny story of new motherhood. Flavorwire named it one of the“10 Must Read Books for February,” and called called it, “As sharp as a fresh-cut diamond.... Bright, angry, very funny, diving into uncomfortable truths about the female body and female behavior, this novel has it all.” In advance praise, author Lydia Davis said, “After Birth is a fast-talking, opinionated, moody, funny, and slightly desperate account of the attempt to recover from having a baby. It is a romp through dangerous waters, in which passages of hilarity are shadowed by the dark nights of earliest motherhood, those months so tremulous with both new love and the despairing loss of one’s identity— to read it is an absorbing, entertaining, and thought-provoking experience.” Novelist Karen Russell called it, “voluptuous, hilarious, scaldingly and exhilaratingly honest,” and said, “[Albert] has perfected a tonal pivot that whips the reader from laughter to revelation in a sentence.”

Albert’s previous books include the novel, The Book of Dahlia (2008) and the short story collection, How This Night is Different (2006), winner of the Moment Magazine Emerging Writer Award for Short Fiction. She is also the editor of Freud’s Blind Spot: 23 Original Essays on Cherished, Estranged, Lost, Hurtful, Hopeful, Complicated Siblings (2010).

Yelena Akhtiorskaya is the author of the debut novel, Panic in a Suitcase (2014), the story of two decades in the life of a Ukrainian immigrant family in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn. Hailed by the critics as “ingenious” (NPR), “marvelous” (Library Journal) and “hilarious” (Publishers Weekly), Panic in a Suitcase was named a “Notable Book of 2014” by the New York Times, Washington Post, Salon, NPR and others.

Writing for the New York Times Book Review, Karolina Waclawiak called Panic in a Suitcase, “Impressive… beautifully drawn…  Akhtiorskaya layers the novel with equal parts humor and anxiety and expertly highlights the unease of having one foot in and one foot out of the old country…. The book succeeds, phenomenally, at presenting the immigrant duality…. The relationships Akhtiorskaya mines are fascinating and tender, her writing crisp and gorgeous in its ability to capture gnawing attempts to piece together an immigrant identity. Panic in a Suitcase is a rewarding biography of displacement, where those left behind are often as disconnected as those who flee for an elusive better life elsewhere.”

Born in Odessa in 1985 and raised in Brighton Beach, Yelena Akhtiorskaya was recently named one of the National Book Foundation’s 2014 “5 Under 35” honorees.

For additional information, contact the Writers Institute at 518-442-5620 or online at https://www.albany.edu/writers-inst.