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Novelist/Poet & Non-fiction Writer

NYS Writers Institute,
November 15, 2005

4:15 p.m. Reading/Signing | Humanities 290

William B. Patrick is an author who works in many genres, from screenplays to nonfiction. His most recent book, We Didn't Come Here for This, a Memoir in Poetry, was published by BOA Editions in February, 1999. Booklist said We Didn't Come Here for This is "a powerful chamber suite for father, mother, and son that begs to be performed." Richard Selzer refers to the collection as "a triumph. Patrick's best and strongest work yet." And in a starred review, Kirkus Reviews called the book a "marvelous memoir-in-poetry and a wonderful hybrid, written in a voice that's compassionate, fresh and American, without ever proclaiming itself such."

An earlier collection of Mr. Patrick's poetry, These Upraised Hands, a book of narrative poems and dramatic monologues, was published by BOA Editions in 1995. One of the poems in that volume, "Kindergarten Day," was featured on Garrison Keillor's Writer's Almanac, on National Public Radio.

Mr. Patrick's novel, Roxa: Voices of the Culver Family, which appeared in 1989, won the 1990 Great Lakes Colleges Association New Writers Award for best first work of fiction.

Saving TroyHis most recent play, Rescue, was commissioned by the BBC for their 1996 Season of American Thirty Minute Plays, and was aired world-wide on BBC 3 early in 1997. An earlier teleplay, Rachel’s Dinner, starring Olympia Dukakis and Peter Gerety, was aired nationally on ABC-TV in 1991, and his third feature-length screenplay, Brand New Me, was optioned by Force Ten Productions of Los Angeles and allegedly used as the basis for the remake of The Nutty Professor, which was the top-grossing hit comedy of the 1996 summer. Patrick reached a successful resolution with Eddie Murphy and Universal Studios over this issue late in 1998.

Having returned to his hometown in 1993, Mr. Patrick spent eighteen months riding with the professional firefighters and paramedics in Troy, accompanying them to fires, rescues, and emergency medical calls. From that experience, Mr. Patrick has written his most recent screenplay, Fire Ground, as well as his radio play, Rescue. He has also shot and edited a ninety minute video documentary titled When No One Else Will, and is currently working on a non-fiction account of his first year there, titled Saving Troy, a book that follows the firefighter paramedics of the Troy Fire Department’s 1st Platoon for one full year, from October 1993 to October 1994. Dennis Smith, author of Report from Engine Co. 82, has already called it "an important, exciting, and extremely well-done narrative."

Mr. Patrick has been Writer-in-Residence at the New York State Writers Institute once before, teaching a course in feature-length screenwriting, in 1996. He has taught the writing of screenplays, poetry, and fiction at Old Dominion University, Onondaga Community College, and Salem State College, and workshops in Screenwriting and Playwriting at the Blue Ridge Writers Conference in Roanoke, Virginia. He currently teaches for Alternative Literary Programs (ALPS), and for The Writer's Voice in Silver Bay, NY, conducting creative writing residences with elementary, middle, and high school students throughout New York State. He has received grants from, among others, the Academy of American Poets, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Massachusetts Artists Foundation, and the Virginia Commission for the Arts.

"We Didn't Come Here For This is poetry, of course it is; but it is poetry on its own terms, a kind of utterance that does not borrow from books the sometimes stilted magnificence of traditional literature or the sometimes exhibitionist quickness of contemporary writing. . .I hear it speaking to me, anyhow, in a voice easy and open, almost casual in tone, and with a level, earnest honesty, saying that, yes, these events are 'regular' not extraordinary in the least--but important as sunlight."
- From the Introduction by Fred Chappell

Additional Articles:
Sunday Times Union Article
Albany Times Union Article
Writers Online Magazine Article

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