Visiting Writers Series

Since its inception, the core of the Writers Institute's programming has been its Visiting Writers Series, public readings, lectures or seminars by internationally renowned writers in the fields of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, playwriting, and journalism. Among the over 350 writers who have appeared for the Writers Institute have been Saul Bellow, Carl Bernstein, Gwendolyn Brooks, E. L. Doctorow, Nadine Gordimer, Seamus Heaney, Stanley Kunitz, Norman Mailer, John Montague, Toni Morrison, Gloria Steinem, William Styron and Richard Wilbur.

Framed around the Visiting Writers Series are a number of diverse programs and special events. Irish poet John Montague is in residence during spring semesters to present lectures, workshops, courses, and public readings statewide. During the fall semesters the Institute has sponsored residencies in varying lengths by writers of wide reputation and teaching experience who conduct community writing workshops and co-teach writing or literature courses through the University at Albany's English Department. Past writers-in-residence have included Antonine Maillet, Carolyn Forche, Jerome Rothenberg, Judith Malina, Angela Carter, and Douglas Glover.



September 12 (Tuesday) 8:00 p.m.
Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue
University at Albany, downtown campus
HAROLD BLOOM, one of America's preeminent literary critics, is Sterling Professor of Humanities at Yale University and Berg Professor of English at New York University. A MacArthur Award fellow, he is the author of more than twenty books including The Anxiety of Influence (1973), The American Religion (1992), and The Western Canon (1994). ". . . no single critic has so provocatively challenged our approach to poetry since T. S. Eliot":-- Gregory Jay


September 15 (Friday) 7:30 p.m.
Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue
University at Albany, downtown campus ANDY ROONEY, syndicated columnist, television writer, essayist and social critic, is best known for his regular commentary on the CBS News program 60 Minutes, for which he received Emmy Awards in 1981 and 1986. His essays have been compiled into best-sellers including A Few Minutes with Andy Rooney (1981), Word for Word (1986), Not That You Asked (1989), and Sweet and Sour (1992). Rooney will read from his most recent book, My War (1995), a memoir of his experiences covering World War II for The Stars and Stripes." Everyman, articulating all the frustrations with modern life that the rest of us Everymen . . . suffer with silence or mumbled oaths".-- Walter Cronkite


September 19 (Tuesday) 8:00 p.m.
Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center
University at Albany, uptown campus
WILLIAM GASS is a critic and fiction writer whose works include the novel Omensetter's Luck (1966), and the literary criticism, The World Within the Word (1978), and The Habitations of the Word (1984), which won the National Book Critics Circle Award for criticism. Gass will read from his new novel, The Tunnel (1995). "Both as an essayist and as a writer of fiction, William Gass has earned the reputation of being one of the most accomplished stylists of his generation.""-- Arthur M. Saltzman in Contemporary Literature


September 28 (Thursday) 7:30 p.m.
Albany Institute of History & Art
125 Washington Avenue, Albany R. W. B. Lewis is a literary critic and biographer. His 1975 biography of Edith Wharton won the Pulitzer Prize and is considered one of the exemplary literary biographies of our time. The Jameses: A Family Narrative (1991), was nominated for the National Book Award. Lewis will present a lecture with slides, American Characters: Portraits Visual and Verbal, based on portraits from the National Portrait Gallery, each with a matching literary quotation. Cosponsored by Albany Institute of History & Art


October 10 (Tuesday) 8:00 p.m.
Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center
University at Albany, uptown campus
LUCI TAPAHONSO is a member of the Navajo Nation. She has published three books of poetry, One More Shiprock Night, Seasonal Woman, and A Breeze Swept Through. Her most recent book, Saanii Dahataal: The Women Are Singing (1993), is a collection of poems and short stories. "Ms. Tapahonso speaks the observed and spiritual world into existence."-- David Biespiel, New York Times Book Review


October 16 (Monday) 5:00 - 7:00 p.m.
University Art Museum, Fine Arts Building
University at Albany, uptown campus
JOHN MONTAGUE is one of the major poets writing in the English language today. Join him for a reception and book signing to celebrate the release of his new Collected Poems. Since his first publications in the 1960s, Montague has received praise as one of the strongest voices in Irish poetry, combining Irish tradition with innovations from American poetry. His Collected Poems affords an opportunity to recognize this major Irish talent as an important international poet.


October 24 (Tuesday) 8:00 p.m.
Assembly Hall, Campus Center
University at Albany, uptown campus
Alice Fulton, a native of Troy, New York, and winner of a MacArthur "genius" grant in 1991, is a poet and critic. Fulton celebrates the nuances of contemporary life with poems that abound with wordplay, puns, and irreverent wit. Fulton's poetry collections include Dance Script with Electric Ballerina (1983), Palladium (1986) and Sensual Math (1995). "The mastery of craft is as profound here as the reach of insight and reference. Fulton is one of America's finest."--A. R. Ammons


November 2 (Thursday) 8:00 p.m.
Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center
University at Albany, uptown campus
ALICE NOTLEY, American poet and author, is known for her sensitive treatment of the nuances in personal relationships. She has published numerous collections of verse including Incidentals in the Day World (1973), When I Was Alive (1980), Margaret and Dusty (1985), At Night the States (1987), The Scarlet Cabinet (1992), and Selected Poems (1993). "Her poetry reflects her intelligence, humor, and commitment to her craft."-- Ann Charters, Contemporary Poets


November 8 (Wednesday) 8:00 p.m.
Assembly Hall, Campus Center
University at Albany, uptown campus
DEIRDRE BAIR is an award-winning biographer. Her first book, Samuel Beckett: A Biography, won the 1981 National Book Award. Simone de Beauvior: A Biography was chosen by The New York Times as one of the ten best books of 1990. With her newest work, Anais Nin: A Biography, Bair attempts to show "the coming of age of a woman writer who was on the cutting edge of every important literary and cultural happening in the twentieth century."


November 30 (Thursday) 8:00 p.m.
Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center
University at Albany, uptown campus
RICHARD FORD, novelist, and short story writer, is the author of A Piece of My Heart (1976), The Ultimate Good Luck (1981), The Sportswriter (1986), Rock Spring (1987), and Wildlife (1990). He is a writer with a keen sense of place, and his work often features cynical humor, and restless and alienated male protagonists, haunted by painful experiences. Ford will read from his acclaimed new novel, Independence Day (1995). ". . . one of the most compelling and eloquent storytellers of his generation." --Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times


December 7 (Thursday) 4:00 p.m.
Assembly Hall, Campus Center
University at Albany, uptown campus
HARRY STALEY, Professor Emeritus at the University at Albany, is known widely as a James Joyce scholar. His poetry has appeared in Groundswell, Pennsylvania Literary Review, Arizona Quarterly, and other periodicals. Staley's recently published volume, The Lives of a Shell-Shocked Chaplin, is the first in a new poetry series, Visions and Prophecies, which features the work of midlife and older poets. "Staley brings his entire life to these prophetic poems. . ."--Judith Johnson


In addition to their evening readings, the following visiting writers will hold informal seminars for students, writers, and the general public at 4:00 p.m. (unless otherwise noted) on the day of their reading in Humanities 290 on the University at Albany's uptown campus. This is a unique opportunity to meet the writers in a more intimate setting to discuss their work and writing in general.

William Gass R. W. B. Lewis(3:30 p.m.) Luci Tapahonso
Alice Fulton Deirdre Bair Richard Ford


The Book Show, a weekly half-hour interview program, airs on Tuesdays at 8:30 p.m. on WAMC-FM (90.3, Albany), WAMK-FM (90.9, Kingston), WCAN-FM (93.3, Canajoharie), and WANC-FM (103.9, Ticonderoga). Hosted by critically acclaimed Canadian novelist and short story writer, Douglas Glover, the show features conversations with some of the most celebrated names in literature. Call the Institute at 518-442-5620 for a schedule, or just tune in.

All Events (Unless Otherwise Noted) Are Free and Open to the Public