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E.L. Doctorow, photo by Gasper Tringale 
E.L. Doctorow


NYS Writers Institute, February 27, 2014

8:00 p.m. Reading | Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue, Downtown Campus


E. L. Doctorow, major American novelist, author of Ragtime (1975), World’s Fair (1985), Billy Bathgate (1989), The March (2005) and Homer & Langley (2009), will speak about his new novel, Andrew’s Brain (2014) at 8:00 p.m., Thursday, February 27, 2014 in Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue, on the University at Albany’s downtown campus. Free and open to the public, the event is sponsored by the New York State Writers Institute.


E. L. Doctorow,
recipient of the American Academy of Arts and Letters 2013 Gold Medal, and the National Book Foundation’s 2013 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, is “a writer of dazzling gifts and boundless, imaginative energy…. our great chronicler of American mythology” (Joyce Carol Oates writing in the New Yorker). Fiction writer George Saunders has said, “E. L. Doctorow is a national treasure, and I mean this in a very specific sense: He has rewarded us, these forty-five years, with a vision of ourselves, as a people….”

Doctorow’s novels include World’s Fair (1985), winner of the National Book Award, and four other finalists for the same prize—The Book of Daniel (1971), Loon Lake (1980), Billy Bathgate (1989) and The March (2005). A finalist for the Pulitzer, The March also received the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction. Doctorow’s 1975 novel Ragtime became a 1998 Tony Award-winning Broadway musical, as well as a 1981 film directed by Milos Forman, starring Howard E. Rollins, Jr., James Cagney, and Elizabeth McGovern. Billy Bathgate was adapted into a 1991 film starring Dustin Hoffman and Nicole Kidman, with a screenplay by Tom Stoppard.

Andrew's BrainDoctorow’s newest novel is Andrew’s Brain (2014), one man’s reflections on his eventful life, loves, and tragedies, and a probing inquiry into the reliability of memory. The reviewer for USA Today called it, “Too compelling to put down…,” and said, “The novel seamlessly combines Doctorow’s remarkable prowess as a literary stylist with deep psychological storytelling pitting truth against delusion, memory and perception, consciousness and craziness. . . . [Doctorow] takes huge creative risks— the best kind.” The reviewer for the London Sunday Times called it, “A tantalising tour de force… a journey worth taking…,” and said, “It fizzes with intellectual energy, verbal pyrotechnics and satiric flair.”

Doctorow’s most recent novel was Homer & Langley (2009), based on the true story of the Collyer brothers, notorious New York City hoarders who stuffed their late parents’ Fifth Avenue mansion from floor to ceiling with a mixture of collector’s items, science paraphernalia, old newspapers and rotting garbage. The Elle magazine reviewer called it, “Cunningly panoramic…,” and said, “Doctorow has packed this tale with episodes of existential wonder that capture the brothers in all their fascinating wackiness.” The reviewer for Oprah’s O. Magazine said, “Doctorow paints on a sweeping historical canvas, imagining the Collyer brothers as witness to the aspirations and transgressions of 20th century America….”

Previous Visit: New York State Author 1989-1991

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