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Lorrie Moore, photo by Linda NylindLORRIE MOORE

Author of Short Fiction from Glens Falls

Ricahrd Russo, photo by Elena SeibertRICHARD RUSSO

Pulitzer Prize-Winning Novelist from Gloversville

Previous Visit:
October 5, 2007


NYS Writers Institute, October 15, 2009
8:00 p.m. Reading | Page Hall, 135 Western Ave., Downtown Campus

4:15 p.m. Seminar | Assembly Hall, Campus Center

Richard Russo, Pulitzer Prize-winning author and native of Gloversville, NY, and Lorrie Moore, author of short fiction and native of Glens Falls, NY, will present a joint reading on Thursday, October 15, 2009 at 8:00 p.m. in Page Hall, 135 Western Ave., on the University at Albany’s downtown campus. Earlier that same day, at 4:15 p.m., the authors will offer an informal seminar in the Assembly Hall, Campus Center on the University’s uptown campus. The events are free and open to the public, and sponsored by the New York State Writers Institute.

Two leading American authors born and bred in upstate New York—Lorrie Moore of Glens Falls and Richard Russo of Gloversville— will share the stage under the sponsorship of the New York State Writers Institute.

Lorrie Moore, Glens Falls, NY, native, master of the short story form, and “one of her generation’s wittiest and shrewdest writers” (“Newsweek”), is beloved by fans for her “wry, crackly voice” and “askew sense of humor” (Michiko Kakutani, “New York Times”).

“A Gate at the Stairs” (2009), her first novel in 15 years, tells of the dislocation of a sheltered Midwestern farm girl as she enters college life and adulthood in a seemingly idyllic college town— the “Athens of the Midwest”— at the dawn of the 21st century. To support her studies, Tassie Keltjin takes on a nanny job with a fascinating but emotionally troubled family, and experiences various forms of culture shock as she is initiated into the mysteries of higher education, politics, sex and parenthood.

In a “New York Times” review, novelist Jonathan Lethem said, “Moore may be, exactly, the most irresistible contemporary American writer: brainy, humane, unpretentious and warm; seemingly effortlessly lyrical; Lily-Tomlin-funny. Most of all, Moore is capable of enlisting not just our sympathies but our sorrows.” Writing in Oprah’s “O.” magazine, novelist Vince Passaro called “A Gate at the Stairs,” “a miracle of lyric force, beautiful and beautifully constructed, with a comic touch that transforms itself to a kind of harrowing precision….. Lorrie Moore shows us in this fine book . . .  the mysteries of love, agony, and grace.”

Moore enjoys something of a cult following in literary circles. Her earlier books include the story collections “Self-Help” (1985), “Like Life” (1990), and “Birds of America” (1998), and the novels, “Anagrams” (1986) and “Who Will Run the Frog Hospital” (1994). She is a graduate of St. Lawrence and Cornell universities, and has taught at the University of Wisconsin—Madison since 1984.

Richard Russo, novelist, son of Gloversville, NY, and Pulitzer Prize-winner for “Empire Falls” (2001), is widely regarded as the most important writer about “Main St., USA” since Sherwood Anderson and Sinclair Lewis.

His new novel is “That Old Cape Magic” (2009), the story of a troubled marriage set amid weddings and family reunions on Cape Cod and the Maine coast. The novel is told from the perspective of Jack Griffin, a failed Hollywood screenwriter, the child of unhappy university professors who had vowed never to follow in their footsteps. By late middle age, however, Jack has become a professor of cinema studies at a college back East. Like that of his parents, his own marriage is crumbling, and he worries that his daughter may be doomed to suffer a similar fate.

The “Washington Post” reviewer called it “utterly charming,” and said, “Richard Russo has written a novel for people who are terrified of becoming their parents, which is to say for everybody…. The shelf of books about middle-aged guys going through midlife crises is long, of course, but Russo threads more comedy through this intro-spective genre than we get from John Updike, Richard Ford or Chang-rae Lee. He’s a master of the comic quip and the ridiculous situation.”

Russo’s other novels include “Nobody’s Fool” (1993), which was adapted for the screen starring Paul Newman; “The Risk Pool” (1988), which is currently being adapted for a 2008 film by “Raiders of the Lost Ark” screenwriters Lawrence Kasdan; and “Mohawk” (1986).

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