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Kurt Andersen
Photo: Thomas Hart Shelby

Kurt Andersen

'Fantasyland' author Kurt Andersen in conversation with WAMC's Joe Donahue

Event kicks off NYS Writers Institute's 'Telling the Truth in a Post-Truth World' symposium, bringing 30 luminaries from media, literary arts, history,
and literature to Albany

NYS Writers Institute, Thursday, October 12, 2017
7:00 p.m. Conversation with WAMC's Joe Donahue, Campus Center Ballroom

LISTEN TO THE KURT ANDERSEN INTERVIEW. Joe Donahue of WAMC interviewed Kurt Andersen for a recording of The Book Show. Listen to the interview on the WAMC site.

NOTE: A $30 admission charge includes two tickets and a copy of Andersen's newest book, Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire: A 500-Year History (2017) and two tickets. Contact The Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza in Albany for advance tickets/book, or purchase at the door. A portion of the proceeds will fund Writers Institute programming. (Note: All other "Telling the Truth" events are free and open to the public.)


The NYS Writers Institute at the University at Albany will present New York Times bestselling author Kurt Andersen for an evening of commentary on American culture and politics Thursday, October 12, at 7:00 p.m. in the university's Campus Center Ballroom. Hosted by WAMC's Joe Donahue, the event kicks off the Institute's "Telling the Truth in a Post-Truth World" symposium.

Fantasyland examines the blurred lines between reality and illusion in 21st-century America from a historical perspective. The New York Times Book Review featured a Fantasyland review on its cover, and Andersen wrote the cover story "How America Went Haywire" for the September issue of The Atlantic magazine. Walter Isaacson called Fantasyland "an important book -- the indispensable book for understanding America in the age of Trump."

"Telling the Truth in a Post-Truth World" is the NYS Writers Institute's most ambitious multi-day program in 25 years, bringing 30 acclaimed journalists, television commentators, historians, nonfiction authors, First Amendment scholars and literary luminaries to the University at Albany to discuss views on issues including 'fake news,' Constitutional protections for a free press, information overload, the shifting roles of social media and more. For schedule information, visit

In the New York Times Book Review, Hannah Rosin writes of Fantasyland, "Fake news. Post-truth. Alternative facts. For Andersen, these are not momentary perversions but habits baked into our DNA, the ultimate expressions of attitudes 'that have made America exceptional for its entire history.' The country's initial devotion to religious and intellectual freedom, Andersen argues, has over the centuries morphed into a fierce entitlement to custom-made reality."

Why are Americans enamored with what Andersen calls the "promiscuous devotion to the untrue?" He writes in Fantasyland, "The short answer is because we're Americans,because being American means we can believe any damn thing we want, that our beliefs are equal or superior to anyone else's, experts be damned. Once people commit to that approach, the world turns inside out... The credible becomes incredible and the incredible credible."

Anderson's novels include True Believers (2012), Heyday: A Novel (2007), winner of the Langum Prize for Historical Fiction and a New York Times bestseller, and the national bestseller Turn of the Century (2000). He is also the author of Reset: How This Crisis Can Restore Our Values (2009) and The Real Thing (2008). In addition, Andersen is host and co-creator of the Peabody Award-winning public radio program and podcast Studio 360.

He also co-founded Spy magazine and has been a critic and cultural columnist for The New Yorkerand contributes regularly to Vanity FairTime, and The New York Times.

Andersen's collaboration with Alec Baldwin -- You Can't Spell America Without Me: The Really Tremendous Inside Story of My Fantastic First Year as President Donald J. Trump (A So-Called Parody). -- will be published in November, 2017. The disregard between Trump and Andersen is mutual and long-standing. In 2009, Trump expressed his opinion of Andersen in The New York Post: "He's always been a third-rate writer and an unsuccessful one at that.

For additional information, contact the Writers Institute at 518-442-5620 or online at