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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:
Barnes & Noble College Bookstore and The Bookhouse of Stuyvesant Plaza

Andre Dubus III

Andre Dubus III
September 16 (Tuesday)
Seminar — 4:15 p.m., Standish Room, Science Library
Reading — 8:00 p.m., Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center

Andre Dubus III, fiction writer, is the author of the major international bestselling novel, House of Sand and Fog (1999), an Oprah Book Club selection and National Book Award finalist, which became a DreamWorks Studios motion picture in 2003. His newest novel is The Garden of Last Days (2008), the story of a Florida mother who makes the mistake (on a day when her babysitter gets sick) of bringing her three-year-old daughter to the strip club where she works. Kirkus Reviews said that Dubus “does a masterful job” as he “explores intricacies of faith and fate [and] love in its many dimensions.... Difficult to put down, impossible to forget.” Dubus’s other books include Bluesman (1993) and The Cage Keeper and Other Stories (1989). His short stories have received the Pushcart Prize and the National Magazine Award for Fiction, and have been anthologized in The One Hundred Most Distinguished Stories of 1993 and The Best American Short Stories of 1994


Kate Christensen

Valerie Martin

Kate Christensen and Valerie Martin
September 23 (Tuesday)
Seminar — 4:15 p.m., Standish Room, Science Library
Reading — 8:00 p.m., Assembly Hall, Campus Center

Kate Christensen received the 2008 PEN/Faulkner Award for her bestselling novel, The Great Man (2007), the story of a famous American artist, Oscar Feldman, and the two families he leaves behind after his death— the “public” family of his wife, Abigail, and the “secret” family of his mistress, Teddy St. Cloud. O. magazine said, “Christensen’s writing is clear-eyed, muscular, bitingly funny, and supremely caustic about the niceties of social relations, contemporary American culture, and sexual politics.” Christensen is also the author of The Epicure’s Lament (2004), the tale of Hugo Whittier, an ex-libertine, misanthrope, and failed poet suffering from a terminal illness. People magazine called the book, “A mini-masterpiece,” and said, “Hugo is one of the most memorable creations in recent fiction.” Christensen’s earlier books include Jeremy Thrane (2001) and In the Drink (1999).

Valerie Martin, who writes in many genres, is best known for Mary Reilly (1990), a novel that retells Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde from the point-of-view of a young housekeeper in love with the “good doctor.” The book received the Nebula Award of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America for “Best Novel,” and became the basis of a 1996 film starring John Malkovich and Julia Roberts. Martin’s most recent novel, Trespass (2007), tells the story of two young lovers and their families— one American, one Croatian— as they become increasingly drawn into the unimaginable horrors of ethnic cleansing in the Balkans. The Chicago Tribune reviewer said, “Valerie Martin is an intrepid explorer of human interiors.... Trespass is a literary treasure.” Martin received the United Kingdom’s prestigious Orange Prize for her racially-charged historical novel, Property (2003), about a prosperous female slaveowner in 1820s New Orleans.


Jim Shepard

Jim Shepard
September 25 (Thursday)
Seminar — 4:15 p.m., Campus Center 375
Reading — 8:00 p.m., Standish Room, Science Library

Jim Shepard, fiction writer, is renowned for darkly humorous tales, unusual historical settings, and work that explores the peculiar pain of male adolescence. His newest story collection, Like You’d Understand, Anyway (2007), received the 2008 Story Prize and was a finalist for the National Book Award. Among the protagonists of these 11 stories we meet the Chief Executioner of the French Revolution’s “Reign of Terror”; Nazi scientists searching for Yetis in Tibet; and a Victorian explorer mapping the hellishly hot Great Australian Desert. Daniel Handler (AKA “Lemony Snicket”) said that the collection is “testament not only to Jim Shepard’s talents but also to the power of the short story itself... serving no agenda but literature’s primary and oft-forgotten one: the delight of the reader.” Shepard is also the author of Project X (2004), a probing, compassionate portrayal of a Columbine-style school killing. The New York Times said Shepard “is at his most brilliant in capturing the demented essence of junior high.” His earlier novels include Nosferatu (1998), Paper Doll (1987) and Flights (1983).


Ann Enright

Anne Enright
October 2 (Thursday)
Seminar — 4:15 p.m., Assembly Hall, Campus Center
Reading — 7:30 p.m., Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center

Anne Enright, major contemporary Irish writer, received the 2007 Man Booker Prize, the British Commonwealth’s most prestigious literary award, for The Gathering (2007), a novel about the impact of alcoholism and suicide on a large Irish family. Her newest book is the short story collection, Yesterday’s Weather (2008). Writing advance praise, Colm Tóibín said, “Anne Enright’s style is as sharp and brilliant as Joan Didion’s; the scope of her understanding is as wide as Alice Munro’s . . . her vision of Ireland is as brave and original as Edna O’Brien’s.” Enright is celebrated on both sides of the Atlantic for her eccentric characters, comic touch, and a fragmentary style that suggests “the flashing images of the cinema” (Dictionary of Irish Literature). Her earlier books include the novels The Pleasure of Eliza Lynch (2003), What Are You Like? (2000), The Wig My Father Wore (1995), The Portable Virgin (1991), and the nonfiction book Making Babies: Stumbling Into Motherhood (2004).


F.D. Reeve

F. D. Reeve and The Three Blue Cats jazz band
October 7 (Tuesday)
Seminar with F. D. Reeve — 4:15 p.m., Science Library 340
Reading/Performance — 7:30 p.m., Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue, Downtown Campus

The Three Blue Cats jazz band will present a musical setting for a reading by award-winning poet F. D. Reeve from his new poetry volume, The Blue Cat Walks the Earth (2008). The book is a sequel to the widely-admired collections, The Blue Cat (1972) and The Return of the Blue Cat (2005). A novelist, poet, critic, and noted translator of Russian literature, Reeve is a two-time winner of the PEN Syndicated Fiction Award. Other recent books include the novel, My Sister Life (2005), and the poetry collection, The Toy Soldier and Other Poems (2007). John Drexel said in Contemporary Poetry Review, “[Reeve] writes a poetry that allows us to romanticize the moon and that yet just as surely acknowledges that stars die, and worlds— and we— die with them.” Outside the literary community, Reeve is better known as the father of the late Superman actor and disability activist, Christopher Reeve. The Three Blue Cats band members include Don Davis, saxophone, flute, reed and fife player, and Shakuhachi percussionist, who has played and/or recorded with The Microscopic Septet, NY Gang, and NY Composers Orchestra; and Joe Deleault, composer and pianist, who has cut CDs and DVDs with Jon Bon Jovi and Mighty Sam McLain.


Astrid Cabral

Alexis Levitin

Astrid Cabral and translator Alexis Levitin
October 8 (Wednesday)
Reading/Discussion — 4:15 p.m., Standish Room, Science Library

Astrid Cabral, leading poet and environmentalist from the Amazonian region of Brazil, and Alexis Levitin, award-winning translator, will discuss Cage (2006; English translation 2008), Cabral’s poetry collection about the animals of the Amazon, both real and imaginary. Cabral is a native of Manaus, the capital city of Amazonas State, and a key figure in the Amazonian cultural identity and recovery movement. In 1984, she published Portuguese translations of Henry David Thoreau’s Civil Disobedience and Walden. Alexis Levitin, Professor of English at SUNY Plattsburgh, has translated 25 Portuguese literary works into English, including poetry volumes by Eugénio de Andrade, Egito Gonçalves, Carlos de Oliveira, and the story collection Soulstorm by Clarice Lispector.



Major Jackson

Major Jackson
October 15 (Wednesday)
Seminar — 4:15 p.m., Standish Room, Science Library
Reading — 7:30 p.m., Standish Room, Science Library

The product of a tough Philadelphia neighborhood, Major Jackson transforms the everyday artifacts and pastimes of urban life— empty lots, low-rider jeans, iPods, rap music— into rich and expressive symbols. His second poetry collection, Hoops (2006), was a finalist for the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literature-Poetry. The New Yorker reviewer called Hoops, “witty, musical, and intelligent.” Jackson’s prior collection, Leaving Saturn (2002), was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. He has received several prestigious prizes, including the Whiting Writers’ Award, the Witter Bynner Prize of the Library of Congress, a Pushcart Prize, and the Cave Canem Poetry Prize. A former Arts Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard, Jackson teaches at the University of Vermont and the Bennington Writing Seminars.


Dexter Filkins

Dexter Filkins
October 16 (Thursday)
Seminar — 4:15 p.m., Assembly Hall, Campus Center
Reading — 8:00 p.m., Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center

Dexter Filkins, prize-winning war correspondent for the New York Times, is a major contributor to America’s understanding of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Journalist Jeffrey Goldberg has called him “the preeminent war correspondent of my generation,” and the late David Halberstam praised him for “reporting of the highest quality imaginable.” Filkins is perhaps best-known for his coverage of street-by-street fighting between Iraqi insurgents and U. S. Marines during the Battle of Fallujah in November 2004. His first book, The Forever War (2008), is an epic account of America’s current wars in the Middle East. The New Yorker’s George Packer has said in advance praise, “The Forever War is already a classic—it has the timeless feel of all great war literature.” Filkins is a past winner of the George Polk Award for War Reporting, a Pulitzer Prize finalist, and a recent recipient of a Nieman Fellowship at Harvard.


Paul Stekler

Paul J. Stekler
October 22 (Wednesday)
Seminar — 4:15 p.m., Science Library 340
Discussion and film screening — 8:00 p.m., Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center

Paul J. Stekler, award-winning producer and director of American political documentaries, is co-producer most recently of the PBS “Frontline” special, The Choice 2008 (October 14, 2008), a film that explores the backgrounds and divergent political paths of Barack Obama and John McCain, in order to shed light on their electoral battle. Stekler received the Sundance Film Festival Special Jury Prize for George Wallace: Settin’ the Woods on Fire (2000), which he produced and co-directed. Stekler also produced and co-directed Vote for Me: Politics in America (1996), winner of Emmy, Peabody, and DuPont-Columbia Journalism awards. More recently, he produced, directed, and wrote the PBS special, Last Man Standing: Politics, Texas Style (2004), about a 2002 contest for the Texas State Legislature. Stekler currently serves as director of the newly-founded Center for Politics and Governance at the LBJ School of Public Affairs of the University of Texas at Austin.
Cosponsored by UAlbany’s Documentary Studies Program


Monica Youn

Matthew Thorburn

Witter Bynner Fellowship Poetry Reading by Monica Youn and Matthew Thorburn
October 24 (Friday)
Reading — 7:00 p.m. [NOTE EARLY START TIME], Carole Huxley Theatre, New York State Museum, Albany

U. S. Poet Laureate Charles Simic has chosen two New Yorkers for the Witter Bynner Prize of the Library of Congress. The prize was created in 1980 to support the work of young poets and “new voices in poetry.” The New York Center for the Book and the New York State Library are sponsoring a reading by this year’s honorees, Monica Youn and Matthew Thorburn.

A former Rhodes Scholar and Wallace Stegner Fellow, Monica Youn is a media and entertainment attorney at NYU Law School’s Brennan Center, as well as a creative writing instructor at Columbia University. Her collections include Barter (2003), and the forthcoming Ignatz, which is inspired by the mouse of the early 20th century comic strip, “Krazy Kat.” Her poems have appeared in numerous collections, including the Norton Anthology: Language for a New Century.

Matthew Thorburn, a business writer for an international law firm and founder of the little magazine Good Foot, is a past winner of the Mississippi Review Prize and the Belfast Poetry Festival’s first Festivo Prize. His poems have appeared in Poetry, The Paris Review, and The American Poetry Review. His first collection, Subject to Change (2004), deals with the mutable nature of language, memory, and meaning in everyday life.


David Hackett Fischer

David Hackett Fischer
October 30 (Thursday)
Fossieck Lecture — 4:15 p.m., Standish Room, Science Library
Reading/Discussion — 8:00 p.m., Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center

David Hackett Fischer, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian, is celebrated for a large body of work that seeks to correct errors in traditional understandings of early American history. He is the author most recently of Champlain’s Dream (2008), the authoritative biography of French adventurer and visionary, Samuel de Champlain. The book’s publication coincides with the 400th anniversary of the founding of New France in 1608. He received the Pulitzer Prize for Washington’s Crossing (2004), a strategic and tactical analysis of Washington’s battles in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. The Boston Globe reviewer called it, “history at its best, fascinating in all its details, magisterial in its sweep.” Other notable works include Paul Revere’s Ride (1994), Albion’s Seed (1989), and Historians’ Fallacies: Toward a Logic of Historical Thought (1970). Fischer serves as the Earl Warren Professor of History at Brandeis. Cosponsored by the UAlbany History Department in conjunction with the annual Fossieck Lecture.


Alice Fulton

Alice Fulton
November 11 (Tuesday)
Seminar — 4:15 p.m., Assembly Hall, Campus Center
Reading — 8:00 p.m., Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center

Alice Fulton, major contemporary American poet, is the author of The Nightingales of Troy (2008)— a humorous, deeply moving first collection of stories that take place in her native Troy, NY. Composed of ten interlinked tales, the book features four generations in the family of the colorful Garrahan sisters and their female descendants. In advance praise, Alison Lurie said, “The Nightingales of Troy should establish [Fulton] as one of the best writers of fiction working today.” Winner of a MacArthur Foundation “genius grant,” Fulton is best-known for poetry that explores the semi-random processes of the human mind. Her most recent poetry collections are Cascade Experiment: Selected Poems (2004) and Felt (2001), winner of the Bobbitt National Prize of the Library of Congress. The New York Times reviewer said, “In poems obsessed with identity, yearning and intimacy, the power of Fulton’s verbal pyrotechnics is that they precisely animate these mutable, ever-changing states.”


Nilo Cruz

Nilo Cruz
November 17 (Monday)
Seminar — 4:15 p.m., Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center

Nilo Cruz, Cuba-born playwright, received the Pulitzer Prize for his 2002 play, “Anna in the Tropics.” Set during the Great Depression, the play tells the story of Cuban immigrants who have come to Florida to work as cigar-makers. The play made its Broadway debut with Jimmy Smits in the lead role, and received a 2004 Tony nomination for Best Play. The Miami Herald reviewer said, “The words of Nilo Cruz waft from a stage like a scented breeze, they sparkle and prickle and swirl....” Cruz’s other plays include “The Beauty of the Father” (2006), “Lorca in a Green Dress” (2003), “Two Sisters and a Piano” (1998), and “Night Train to Bolina” (1995).

Cosponsored by Capital Repertory Theatre NOTE: Nilo Cruz’s play “Anna in the Tropics” will be performed at Capital Repertory Theatre, 111 North Pearl Street, Albany, October 31 – November 23. On Monday evening, November 17, Cruz will also speak at a benefit for Capital Rep. For ticket information call 518-445-7469 or go online at www.capitalrep.org.



American Place Theatre Performance of Flight
November 19 (Wednesday)
Performance — 7:30 p.m., [NOTE EARLY START TIME] Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center
$15 general public; $12 seniors & faculty/staff; $10 students
Box Office: (518) 442-5738; [email protected]

Flight (2008) is a new stage adaptation, produced by American Place Theatre, of the 2007 Sherman Alexie novel of the same name. The one-man performance presents the story of a Native American youth nicknamed “Zits”— a likeable, self-deprecating survivor of innumerable foster care families— who acquires the ability to travel through time after he is shot dead during a botched bank robbery. The Publishers Weekly reviewer said, “One quickly surrenders to Zits’s voice, which elegantly mixes free-floating young adult cynicism with a charged, idiosyncratic view of American history.” The play is a production of the American Place Theatre’s “Literature to Life” series, a performance-based literacy program that presents professionally staged adaptations of American literary works. Sponsored by UAlbany’s Performing Arts Center


Muffie Meyer

Ronald Blumer

New York History on Screen with filmmakers Muffie Meyer and Ronald Blumer
November 20 (Thursday)
Discussion and film screening — 7:00 p.m., [NOTE EARLY START TIME] Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center

Producer/director Muffie Meyer co-founded the renowned documentary company Middlemarch Films, which since 1978 has produced more than 100 programs for public television. She and writer/co-producer Ronald Blumer will present excerpts of three very different approaches to New York history. Alexander Hamilton (2007), a widely-praised documentary that aired on the PBS series, “American Experience,” uses dramatizations (featuring Tony Award-winning actor Brían F. O’Byrne), interviews with leading scholars, and digital re-creations of 18th century life to present a compelling portrait of Hamilton, the original (and controversial) architect of our nation’s banking system. The Crash of 1929 (2004), also an “American Experience” program, uses archival footage, including Hollywood features, to capture the unbounded optimism of the 1920s and the shocking consequences when the party on Wall Street comes to an end. An Empire of Reason (1988) asks what it would have been like if television cameras had been present to cover the ratification of the U.S. Constitution, with Walter Cronkite anchoring CTN, the “Continental Television Network.”

This is a featured presentation of the 10th annual Researching New York Conference, held at the University at Albany on November 20–21 and is cosponsored by UAlbany’s Documentary Studies Program, the New York State Writers Institute, and the Department of History. Additional information on the conference is available at http://nystatehistory.org/researchny/rsny.html.


Fence Launch Reading for Fence 20/Fall-Winter 08-09 by Ira Sher, Edward Schwarzschild, and Shelley Jackson
December 4 (Thursday)
Reading — 7:00 p.m., [NOTE EARLY START TIME] Standish Room, Science Library

Long before FENCE joined forces with the Writers Institute and the University at Albany, a scruffy band of young editors (including Caroline Crumpacker, Jonathan Lethem, Rick Moody, Matthew Rohrer, and Rebecca Wolff) conducted editorial activities in what was then the optimistic climate of pre-9/11 New York City. This event celebrates the first nine years of FENCE. Come hear editors and contributors to the anthology as well as to the brand new FENCE 20.

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