Events are free and open to the public and take place on the
University at Albany’s uptown campus, unless otherwise noted.

Books are available in advance of events and at the events,
from the following bookstores:
University at Albany Bookstore and The Bookhouse of Stuyvesant Plaza
classic film series
community writers workshops
nys summer wirters institute
nys summer young writers institute
authors theatre
nys author and poet awards
maps and directions
archive pf previous writers


September 5, Wednesday
7:00pm Reading and Discussion
University Art Museum, Fine Arts Building

Geoffrey Young, poet, and James Siena, visual artist, will discuss the interplay between word and image in their collaborative publication Pockets of Wheat (1996, reissued 2007), featuring poems by Young and black-and-white abstractions by Siena. The University Art Museum’s current exhibition (curated by Geoffrey Young), includes Siena’s drawings from Pockets of Wheat. Young’s most recent poetry collection is Lights Out (2004). The reviewer for Publishers Weekly said, “Young has long been a fringe figure amid the Language Poets and the neo-New York School poets... and this impressive compendium of recent work might put him right at the center.” Young is also publisher of The Figures Press in Great Barrington, MA—one of the oldest small presses in the country. Siena’s work has been featured in numerous exhibitions, including the 2004 Whitney Biennial. He is the recipient of awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation, and The New York Foundation for the Arts.
Cosponsored by the University Art Museum in conjunction with the exhibit James Siena: BIG FAST INK: Drawings, 1996-2007,
July 12 – September 30, 2007

Jane Hamilton

September 18, Tuesday
4:15pm Seminar, Assembly Hall, Campus Center
8:00pm Reading, Page Hall, Downtown Campus

Jane Hamilton, major contemporary fiction writer, is the author most recently of When Madeline Was Young (2006), the tale of a newly married woman who is brain damaged in a cycling accident, and who becomes the de facto child of her husband and his second wife. The Washington Post reviewer said, “only a writer as skillful as Hamilton, as devoted to the manifestations of the observable world, could produce a work so revelatory of the human spirit.” Hamilton received the PEN/Hemingway Award for The Book of Ruth (1988), a novel that enjoyed a “second life” seven years later as an international bestseller and Oprah Book Club selection. Her second novel, A Map of the World (1994), another Oprah Book Club pick and New York Times bestseller, was adapted as a motion picture starring Sigourney Weaver in 2000. Other books include The Short History of a Prince (1998), winner of the Chicago Tribune’s Heartland Prize, and Disobedience (2000).


September 25, Tuesday
4:15pm Seminar, Assembly Hall, Campus Center
8:00pm Reading, Assembly Hall, Campus Center

Judith Ortiz Cofer is an award-winning poet, essayist, and novelist. Born in Puerto Rico and raised in New Jersey, her work explores the experience of being Puerto Rican and living in the United States. Her first novel, The Line of the Sun (1989), was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. The New York Times Book Review applauded Cofer as “a writer of authentic gifts, with a genuine and important story to tell.” Both The Line of the Sun and her essay collection, Silent Dancing (1990), about the challenges of living between two cultures, were listed by the New York Public Library as Outstanding Books of the Year. Cofer is also the author of Woman in Front of the Sun (2000), which recounts how she became a writer, and a second novel, The Meaning of Consuelo (2003), the story of a girl who lives in the suburbs of San Juan in the 1950s. Publishers Weekly described the novel as “richly descriptive of the shifting mores of Puerto Rican culture and the historical particulars of the era.”
Cosponsored by the Latin American, Caribbean and U.S. Latino Studies Department in conjunction with National Hispanic Heritage Month.


September 27, Thursday
4:15pm Seminar, Assembly Hall, Campus Center
8:00pm Reading, Page Hal. Downtown Campusl

Kim Edwards is the author of the runaway bestseller, The Memory Keeper’s Daughter (2005), a novel that explores the consequences of a troubling family secret: a daughter with Down Syndrome who is abandoned at birth and raised in a different city by another family. Writing in the Washington Post, Ron Charles praised the book for its “extraordinary power and sympathy.” The Memory Keeper’s Daughter sold modestly well in hardcover, but became a major publishing phenomenon in paperback in the summer of 2006, ultimately spending a full year on the New York Times Paperback Bestseller List. Edwards is also the author of a short story collection, The Secrets of a Fire King (1997), a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award, which is being re-released in 2007. The New York Times Book Review praised the collection for giving “eloquence to an astonishing range of discoveries” that “leaves the reader entranced.” Edwards teaches writing at the University of Kentucky in Lexington.

Richard Russo

October 5, Friday
4:15pm Seminar, Assembly Hall, Campus Center
8:00pm Reading, Page Hall, Downtown Campus

Richard Russo, Gloversville-raised novelist and screenwriter, is regarded by many leading critics as the most important writer about “Main St., USA” since Sherwood Anderson and Sinclair Lewis. Russo received the Pulitzer Prize for his novel, Empire Falls (2001), which the Christian Science Monitor called, “the last great novel of the 20th century.” Russo explores a clash of cultures in his newest novel, Bridge of Sighs (2007), the story of Louis Charles “Lucy” Lynch, a convenience store mogul in the fictional upstate town of Thomaston, NY. The novel follows Lynch’s efforts to reconnect with the best friend of his youth, a painter who fled New York to pursue a completely different life in the rarefied art circles of Europe. Russo’s other novels include Straight Man (1997), a rollicking academic satire, Nobody’s Fool (1993), which was adapted for the screen starring Paul Newman, The Risk Pool (1988), and Mohawk (1986).
Cosponsored by the Greater Capital Region Teacher Center

Kang Zhengguo

October 11, Thursday
4:15pm Reading, Assembly Hall, Campus Center

Kang Zhengguo is the author of a quirky, highly-praised memoir about life during the Cultural Revolution, Confessions: An Innocent Life in Communist China (2007). A self-described misfit, individualist, contrarian and ne’er-do-well, Kang commits countless minor political offenses with both his tongue and his pen. These offenses eventually lead to his expulsion from university, forced labor in a brickyard, a three-year prison term, and a failed career as a rural laborer in a peasant commune. Writing in the New York Times, William Grimes called the book, “A mesmerizing read.... Like a character in a picaresque novel, Mr. Kang stumbles from one misadventure to the next, his big mouth and relaxed habits ensuring disaster at every turn.... Mr. Kang serves as an extraordinary guide through an extraordinary period of Chinese history.” A poet and scholar of classical Chinese literature, Kang has been Senior Lecturer in Chinese at Yale University since 1994.
NOTE: This event is being sponsored in conjunction with UAlbany’s China Semester.


October 11, Thursday
8:00pm Reading/Talk, Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center

Jonathan Spence, dynamic professor and storyteller, is one of the world’s leading authorities on Chinese civilization. His newest book is Return to Dragon Mountain (2007), a translation and distillation of the writings of Zhang Dai (1597-1689), a brilliant chronicler, historian, and epicure of the Ming era. Publishers Weekly called it, “absorbing and evocative.... Spence retrieves a portrait of a civilization imbued with esoteric obsessions as well as sensuality.” Spence has written over a dozen books on China including Treason by the Book (2001), Mao Zedong (1999); The Chan’s Great Continent (1998); Chinese Roundabout (1992); The Gate of Heavenly Peace (1981), winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Award and the Vursel Prize of the American Academy of Arts and Letters; The Death of Woman Wang (1978); and Emperor of China (1974). A 1988 MacArthur Fellow, Spence was named a Companion of the Distinguished Order of St. Michael and St. George by Queen Elizabeth in 2001.
NOTE: This event is being sponsored in conjunction with UAlbany’s China Semester.


October 16, Tuesday
4:15pm Seminar, Assembly Hall, Campus Center
8:00pm Reading, Recital Hal, Performing Arts Centerl

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie earned widespread international acclaim for her first novel, Purple Hibiscus (2003), a middle class Nigerian coming-of-age story that received the Commonwealth Writers Prize. The Washington Post Book World called it, “a breathtaking debut.” Adichie’s second novel is Half of a Yellow Sun (2006), which follows the fates of three individuals during Nigeria’s bloody Biafran civil war. Novelist and critic Edmund White said the book, “deserves to be nominated for the Booker Prize.” Joyce Carol Oates called it, “a worthy successor to such 20th century classics” as Things Fall Apart and A Bend in the River. Adichie received the 2003 O. Henry Prize for her short story, “American Embassy.” Her work has been featured in Granta, Zoetrope, Iowa Review and Calyx.


October 17, Wednesday
4:15pm Seminar, Standish Room, Science Library

Elizabeth Wong, award-winning Chinese-American playwright, fuses comedy and social commentary in plays that explore Asian American themes. Her breakthrough work was Letters to a Student Revolutionary (1991), a drama based on her personal correspondence with a Chinese woman during the years before the Tianenman Square Massacre. The Seattle Times called it, “engrossing... an animated exchange of soul-searching dispatches.” Other notable plays include The Amazing Adventures of the Marvelous Monkey King (2007), winner of the Mississippi Theatre Festival; The Lovelife of a Eunuch (2004), a lusty tale of Imperial China; China Doll (1995), about silent film star Anna May Wong; and Kimchee & Chitlins (1990), about the African American boycott of Korean-owned grocery stores in Brooklyn.
Note: Elizabeth Wong’s play Letters to a Student Revolutionary is being performed by the UAlbany Theatre Department on October 19 – 27 in conjunction with UAlbany’s China Semester.
For ticket information call 518-442-3997.


October 17, Thursday
4:15pm Seminar, Standish Room, Science Library
8:00pm Reading, Assembly Hall, Campus Center

Nathaniel Mackey is a major American poet and leading authority on the reciprocal impacts of African and African-American music and writing. He received the National Book Award for Poetry for Splay Anthem (2006), an epic work about the lost tribe of “we” in “the imperial, flailing republic of Nub the United States has become, the shrunken place the earth has become, planet Nub.” The collection fuses West African mythology with Modernist poetic traditions, and brings “the attitudes of free jazz and the reverberating patterns of West African ensemble music to... the American encyclopedic long poem” (Publishers Weekly). The Nation called it, “enchanting and haunting, provocative and unsettling.” Mackey’s previous collections include Whatsaid Serif (1998), School of Udhra (1993), and Eroding Witness (1985). A Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, Mackey is a coeditor of the Library of America’s American Poetry: The Twentieth Century (2000), and coeditor of the influential anthology, Moment’s Notice: Jazz in Poetry and Prose (1993).


October 25, Thursday
4:15pm Reading, Assembly Hall, Campus Center

Joydeep Roy-Bhattacharya is the author of the first novel The Gabriel Club (1998), a philosophical murder mystery about the fate of a group of artists in Budapest, Hungary. The action unfolds during the Communist regime in the 1970s, and some twenty years later, after Communism’s fall. Nobel laureate J. M. Coetzee called the novel, “An impressive debut, serious and passionate.” The book received the Grand Jury Prize at the Budapest Book Fair, and has been published in 11 languages. Roy-Bhattacharya will discuss two works-in-progress: Homeland, a two-thousand page novel set in interwar Germany; and The Desert of Love, the story of a couple’s sudden disappearance from a market square in Marrakesh, Morocco. The Desert of Love is the first in a planned trilogy of novels set in various parts of the Muslim world, including modern Iraq, India, and the United States. Born and educated in India, the author presently serves as Writer-in-Residence in the UAlbany English Department.


November 1, Thursday
4:15pm Seminar, Assembly Hall, Campus Center
8:00pm Reading, Assembly Hall, Campus Center

Andrea Barrett, winner of the National Book Award for Ship Fever: Stories (1992), is best-known for fiction about 19th century scientists, naturalists, and explorers. Her newest novel is The Air We Breathe (2007), the story of an isolated Adirondack community of tuberculosis patients as they experience the outbreak of World War I. Servants of the Map (2002), an earlier collection of stories about the romance and trauma of scientific discovery was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. That collection’s title novella—about a timid cartographer in the Himalayas under British rule—appeared in the Best American Short Stories and The O. Henry Awards anthologies. Barrett’s novels include The Voyage of the Narwhal (1998) and The Forms of Water (1993). She is the recipient of a 2001 MacArthur Foundation Fellowship and a 2003 Award in Literature of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.


November 8, Thursday
8:00pm Reading/Talk, Ballroom, Campus Center

Chris Hedges, Pulitzer Prize-winning war correspondent and bestselling author, will be a keynote speaker at The Ecologies of War: Life Technologies and Planetary Conflict, a conference that explores 21st century shifts in the political agendas, social orders, and cultural preoccupations of a new horizon of violence and change. Hedges is the author of War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning (2002), a national bestseller that explores the seductive powers of wartime mythologies. The book was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Hedges shared the 2002 Pulitzer Prize as part of the New York Times reportorial team on global terrorism. His latest book is American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America (2007). Publishers Weekly said, “this urgent book forcefully illuminates what many across the political spectrum will recognize as a serious and growing threat to the very concept and practice of an open society.” Other books by Hedges include Losing Moses on the Freeway (2005) and What Every Person Should Know About War (2003).
Cosponsored by the Department of English. For additional information on the conference go to: http://albany.edu/english/iccc/ecologies_of_war.html

Festival of Chinese Poetry
November 13, Tuesday
4:15pm Classical Poetry Reading, Assembly Hall, Campus Center 8:00pm Contemporary Poetry Reading,
Assembly Hall, Campus Center

Da Chen, author of the best-selling memoir Colors of the Mountain (1999), and the novel Brothers (2006), is also a bamboo flute player and brush calligrapher. He will present the work of such classical poets as Li Po, Du Fu, and Wang Wei, masters of the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD), in words, symbols, and music. In the evening, Quang Bao, Director of the Asian American Writers Workshop, will present three poets of Chinese descent, all of them women and all now living and writing in New York City. They will read from their work and talk about the contemporary Chinese American cultural experience.
Cosponsored by the Asian American Writers Workshop (www.aaww.org) in
conjunction with UAlbany’s
China Semester.

Joe McGinniss

November 15, Thursday
4:15pm Seminar, Campus Center 375
8:00pm Reading, Bernard D. Arbit Lecture Center 25

Joe McGinniss is best-known for his popular classics of the “true crime” genre, including Cruel Doubt (1991), Blind Faith (1988), and Fatal Vision (1983). Never Enough (2007), his first “true crime” book in 16 years, presents the wealthy Kissel family of Greenwich, CT. In 2003, investment banker Robert Kissel’s wife is convicted of bludgeoning him to death after lacing his milkshake with sedatives. Robert’s brother Andrew receives custody of the couple’s three children. Three years later, Andrew is found tied up and beaten to death. The latter murder remains unsolved. In writing Never Enough, McGinniss enjoyed privileged access to numerous Kissel relatives and acquaintances. A former reporter and columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer, McGinniss also wrote the major nonfiction bestseller, The Selling of the President, 1968 (1969), a groundbreaking study of the role of marketing in Richard Nixon’s presidential campaign. His other notable books include The Big Horse (2004) and The Last Brother: The Rise and Fall of Teddy Kennedy (1993).

Victoria Redel

November 27, Tuesday
4:15pm Seminar, Science Library
8:00pm Reading, Assembly Hall, Campus Center

Victoria Redel is a poet, short story writer, and novelist whose work often deals with women’s issues and the experiences of Jewish immigrants. Her story collection Where the Road Bottoms Out and her poetry collection Already the World were both published in 1995 and received strong praise. Publishers Weekly noted that her poetry “fashions a mature, distinctive voice.” Grace Paley said of her story collection, “Only a poet could have written this prose. Only a storyteller could keep a reader turning these pages so greedily.” Redel’s first novel, Loverboy (2001), about a mother’s obsessive love for her child, was made into a movie in 2005, directed by Kevin Bacon and starring Kyra Sedgwick and Matt Dillon. In reviewing the book Library Journal said, “Redel . . .writes like an angel about the darkest edge of obsession. This debut is simply excellent.” Redel’s most recent book is The Border of Truth (2007), which follows the daughter of a Holocaust survivor as she uncovers the secrets of her family’s history. The Publishers Weekly review said, “Redel offers a welcome and fresh perspective on the well-trod subject of the Holocaust.”

Tom Perrotta

November 29, Thursday
4:15pm Seminar, Campus Center 375
8:00pm Reading, Campus Center 375

Tom Perrotta, “one of America’s best-kept literary secrets” (Newsweek), writes biting satires about suburban life and adolescent experience. His newest novel is The Abstinence Teacher (2007), a foray into the world of sex education and the American culture wars. The novel has already been optioned for a film to be directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, the team behind the indie hit Little Miss Sunshine. Perrotta’s previous novels include Little Children (2004), a New York Times and NPR “Best Book of 2004”; Joe College (2000), Election (1998) and The Wishbones (1997). The story of a bitterly fought election for High School Class President, Election became a hit movie starring Reese Witherspoon and Matthew Broderick, and earned an Oscar nomination for “Best Screenplay.” Perrotta is also the author of a story collection, Bad Haircut: Stories of the Seventies (1994).
Cosponsored by the Greater Capital Region Teacher Center


December5 , Wednesday
4:15pm Seminar, Science Library 340
8:00pm Reading, Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center

Darryl Pinckney, prize-winning novelist, playwright, and essayist is the author most recently of Out There: Mavericks of Black Literature (2002), critical and biographical sketches of three Black authors who lived and worked in Europe: J. A. Rogers, Vincent O. Carter, and Caryl Phillips. World Literature Today said the essays, “are eminently readable and flow beautifully.... [Pinckney] is incisive, his touch light but full of conviction.” High Cotton (1992), Pinckney’s semi-autobiographical satirical novel about growing up Black and bourgeois in the 1960s, received the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for fiction. The New York Review of Books said of High Cotton, “Pinckney’s prose—funny, observant, lyrical, self-deprecating—is as good as any now being written in English.” Other works include the collection of critical essays, Sold and Gone: African American Literature and U.S. Society (2001), and the texts for three theatrical works by leading avant-garde director Robert Wilson, “The Forest” (1988), “Orlando” (1989), and “Time Rocker” (1995). Pinckney is a past recipient of the Whiting Writers Award and the Vursell Award of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Science Library, SL 320 | University at Albany, NY 12222 | Phone 518-442-5620 | Fax 518-442-5621 |
email writers @uamail.albany.edu