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 Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza

The Tell Tale Brain Super Sad True Love Story Colonel Roosevelt The Cosmopolitan Canapy

V.S. Ramachandran
Photo: Beatrice Ring

V. S. Ramachandran, neuroscientist and author
January 31 (Monday)
Reading/Discussion — 4:15 p.m, (Note Room Change) Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center

Vilayanur S. Ramachandran,
one of the world’s foremost neuroscientists and a brilliant writer, is the author of books explaining new discoveries in his field. His most recent book is The Tell-Tale Brain: A Neuroscientist’s Quest for What Makes Us Human (2011). In advance praise, Oliver Sacks said, “No one is better than V. S. Ramachandran at combining minute, careful observation with ingenious experiments and bold, adventurous theorizing. [This] is Ramachandran at his best,...profoundly intriguing and compelling...” His earlier books include A Brief Tour of Human Consciousness (2004) and Phantoms in the Brain (1998, with Sandra Blakeslee).
Cosponsored by UAlbany’s Science Library

Douglas Kearney
Photo: Los Jackson

Tomas Urayoan Noel

[CANCELLED] Douglas Kearney and Tomás Urayoán Noel, poets
February 1 (Tuesday) , Seminar — 4:15 p.m., Reading — 8:00 p.m., Standish Room, Science Library
Douglas Kearney,
performance poet, 2008 National Poetry Series Winner, and recipient of the $50,000 Whiting Writers Award, is the author most recently of The Black Automaton (2009), published by UAlbany partner, Fence Books. 2010 National Book Award-winning poet Terrence Hayes said, “These poems literally vibrate….They hum, they bang, they bite. This is a jaw-dropping, electrifying book.”

Tomás Urayoán Noel,
Puerto Rican poet, authority on Latino, Nuyorican and slam poetics, and Assistant Professor in the UAlbany English Department, is the author of a new poetry volume, Hi-Density Politics (2011). Noted Nuyorican poet Edwin Torres said, “Let’s move, these pages say, let’s breathe the city through our body…. Noel whirls us through an extravagant journey….”
Cosponsored by Fence Books

Julie Orringer
Photo: Christa Parravani

Karen Russell
Photo: Michael Lionstar

Julie Orringer and Karen Russell, fiction writers
February 10 (Thursday)
Seminar — 4:15 p.m., Standish Room, Science Library, Reading — 8:00 p.m., Standish Room, Science Library

Julie Orringer,
fiction writer, is the author of the debut novel and surprise bestseller, The Invisible Bridge (2010), the story of a Hungarian Jewish architecture student and his experiences during the Holocaust. The novel was named one of the 100 Notable Books of 2010 by the New York Times. Michael Chabon said, “To bring an entire lost world…to vivid life between the covers of a novel is an accomplishment; to invest that world, and everyone who inhabits it, with a soul,… takes something more like genius.” She is also the author of the critically acclaimed story collection, How to Breathe Underwater (2003).

Karen Russell, fiction writer and Miami native, was featured in New York magazine’s “25 People to Watch Under the Age of 26,” based on the success of her debut story collection, St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves (2006). She also received one of the National Book Foundation’s “5 under 35” young writer awards and was selected as one of Granta’s Best Young Novelists. Her first novel, Swamplandia! (2011), is set in a “gator wrestling” roadside attraction in the Florida Everglades. In a starred review, Library Journal said, “This wildly imaginative debut novel delivers….”

Gary Shteyngart
Photo: Lacombe

Gary Shteyngart, novelist and satirist
February 17 (Thursday)
Seminar — 4:15 p.m., Standish Room, Science Library
Reading — 8:00 p.m., Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center

Gary Shteyngart,
Russian-American humorist, is the author most recently of Super Sad True Love Story (2010), a tragi-comic romance set in a not-too-distant, but extremely screwed-up America of the future. Michiko Kakutani of the New York Times, who named it one of the top ten books of 2010, called it “wonderful… a supersad, superfunny, superaffecting performance….” Shteyngart received the Stephen Crane Award for First Fiction and the National Jewish Book Award for his first novel, The Russian Debutante’s Handbook (2002). Both the New York Times and Time magazine named his second novel, Absurdistan (2006), one of the “10 Best Books of the Year.”

James Gleick
Photo: Phyllis Rose

James Gleick, journalist and science/technology writer
March 3 (Thursday)
Reading — 8:00 p.m., Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center

James Gleick,
leading American science writer, transformed the nation’s consciousness with his 1987 book, Chaos, a popular and accessible introduction to the complex field of chaos theory. His newest book, The Information: A History, A Theory, A Flood (2011), is a magisterial popular history that illustrates how information has become “the modern era’s defining quality—the blood, the fuel, the vital principle of our world.” Gleick is the author of numerous books that have earned superlative praise, including Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman (1992), Faster: The Acceleration of Just About Everything (1999), and the biography, Isaac Newton (2003), which John Banville, in the Guardian, called, “A masterpiece of brevity and concentration… the definitive study for a very long time to come.”
Maureen Dowd Maureen Dowd, journalist and political columnist
March 10 (Thursday)
Reading/Discussion — 8:00 p.m., Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue, Downtown Campus

For the second time, the New York State Writers Institute will host a rare public appearance by Maureen Dowd, the Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times columnist renowned for her witty and acerbic commentaries on the culture and politics of Washington, D. C. Dowd is famous for attacking hypocrisy, ridiculing stupidity, making fun of blunders, and pointing out political “no-nos” among Democrats, Republicans, Obama supporters, Tea Party activists, the Bush family, liberals, conservatives, populists, elitists, feminists, and evangelicals. Though sometimes berated for her skepticism, Dowd told a Boston Globe interviewer, “I believe in skepticism because I believe that’s [journalism’s] role in democracy. ...” Dowd joined the New York Times as a metro reporter in 1983, and has served as editorial page columnist since 1995. Two collections of her columns have been published in book form, Bushworld (2004) and Are Men Necessary? (2005). Dowd last visited the Institute in September 2004.

Edmund Morris
Photo: Leslie Lillien Levy

Edmund Morris, presidential biographer
March 15 (Tuesday)
Reading — 8:00 p.m., Clark Auditorium, NYS Museum, Cultural Education Center, Albany, NY

Edmund Morris,
biographer, is the author most recently of Colonel Roosevelt (2010) the final volume in his critically acclaimed trilogy on Theodore Roosevelt. Morris’s first volume, The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt (1979), won the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award. The second volume, Theodore Rex, was published in 2001. The Los Angeles Times declared the trilogy “masterful…among the truly outstanding biographies of the American presidency.” Publishers Weekly described Colonel Roosevelt as “a witty, insightful biography combined with a vivid political history…It is a joy to read.” The authorized biographer of President Reagan, Morris published the bestseller Dutch: A Memoir of Ronald Reagan in (1999).
Cosponsored by the Friends of the New York State Library and the NYS Archives Partnership Trust

Seth Mnookin
Photo: Sara James

Seth Mnookin, journalist and nonfiction author
March 22 (Tuesday)
Seminar — 4:15 p.m., Humanities Building Room 354
Reading — 8:00 p.m., George Education Center Auditorium, School of Public Health, East Campus, Discovery Drive, East Greenbush, NY

Seth Mnookin
is a journalist and award-winning author of books on a wide range of subjects. His latest book is The Panic Virus: A True Story of Medicine, Science, and Fear (2011), which explores the science of vaccination and the claims that vaccines cause autism and other developmental disorders. In advance praise, Jonah Lehrer (How We Decide) said, “This important book should be read by anyone who has a child, cares about public health, or is interested in the state of discourse in 21st century America.” A contributing editor for Vanity Fair, and a former senior writer for Newsweek, Mnookin is also the author of Feeding the Monster (2006), a best-seller about the Boston Red Sox. His book Hard News (2004), a critical look at the journalistic and management practices of the New York Times, was named a Best Book of the Year by the Washington Post.
Cosponsored by the School of Public Health in celebration of its 25th Anniversary
For map and directions see: www.albany.edu/eastcampus/index_map.html

Amitava Kumar
Neeraj Priyadarshi

Amitava Kumar, poet, writer and journalist
March 23 (Wednesday)
— 4:15 p.m., Standish Room, Science Library

Amitava Kumar is the author most recently of A Foreigner Carrying in the Crook of His Arm a Tiny Bomb (2010), a nonfiction meditation on the global war on terror, and its peculiar impact on art, culture and literature. In a starred review, Publishers Weekly said, “An arresting and heartrending work of public protest and valuable social analysis, this work contributes forcefully to a subtle, human-scaled accounting of 21st century geopolitics.” Kumar’s previous works include the New York Times “Editor’s Choice” book, Husband of a Fanatic (2005), an account of his marriage as an India-born Hindu to a Pakistani Muslim wife, and a larger discussion of Hindu-Muslim relations; and Bombay-London-New York (2002), a study of India’s literary diaspora that was named a New Statesman (UK) “Book of the Year.”
Cosponsored by the University at Albany English Department

Elvis American Place Theatre performance of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (by Junot Díaz)
March 24 (Thursday)
Performance — 7:30 p.m., Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center
Pre-performance discussion at 7 p.m.
$15 general public / $12 seniors & faculty-staff / $10 students Box Office: (518) 442-3997; [email protected]

American Place Theatre returns to present a one-person theatrical adaptation of Junot Díaz’s Pulitzer Prize-winning epic story of Oscar Wao, an overweight Dominican boy growing up in New Jersey who is obsessed with science fiction, fantasy novels, comic books, and role-playing games. At the same time, Oscar seeks to escape the “fukú” (family curse) that has plagued his family for generations.
Presented by the Performing Arts Center in conjunction with the New York State Writers Institute
John Crowley John Crowley, science fiction and fantasy author
March 29 (Tuesday)
Seminar — 4:15 p.m., Science Library Room 340
Reading — 7:00 p.m., University Art Museum, Fine Arts Building

John Crowley,
acclaimed author of science fiction, fantasy, and historical fiction, received the Lifetime Achievement Award of the World Fantasy Convention in 2006, and the Award in Literature from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters in 1992. His works include the novels Four Freedoms (2009), Lord Byron’s Novel: The Evening Land (2005), Little, Big (1981), which received the World Fantasy Award for Best Novel, and four volumes of the highly-praised fantasy series AEgypt (1987-2007).
Cosponsored by the University Art Museum in association with the exhibit, “Eunjung Hwang and Ati Maier” (February 1 – April 3, 2011), featuring fantastical figures and virtual landscapes

Lynne Tillman

Tomas Urayoan Noel

Lynne Tillman and Tomás Urayoán Noel
March 30 (Wednesday)
Seminar — 4:15 p.m., Campus Center Room 375, Uptown Campus
Reading — 8:00 p.m., Standish Room, Science Library, Uptown Campus

Lynne Tillman,
author of five novels including American Genius (2006) and No Lease on Life (1997), a New York Times Notable Book, and the new story collection Someday This will Be Funny (2010).

Tomás Urayoán Noel, Puerto Rican poet, authority on Latino, Nuyorican and slam poetics, and Assistant Professor in the UAlbany English Department, is the author of a new poetry volume, Hi-Density Politics (2011). Noted Nuyorican poet Edwin Torres said, “Let’s move, these pages say, let’s breathe the city through our body…. Noel whirls us through an extravagant journey….”

John Patrick Shanley
Photo: Monique Carboni

15th Annual Burian Lecture
Cosponsored by UAlbany’s Theatre Department and funded by the Jarka and Grayce Burian Endowment
John Patrick Shanley, playwright and screenwriter

April 6 (Wednesday)
Seminar — 4:15 p.m., Standish Room, Science Library
The Burian Lecture — 8:00 p.m., Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center

John Patrick Shanley, major contemporary playwright noted especially for his working class New York dramas, received the Pulitzer Prize and the Tony Award for his 2004 play, “Doubt: A Parable,” about allegations of sexual misconduct at a Catholic school in the Bronx. Shanley directed his own adaptation of DOUBT for the screen, starring Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman, in 2008. The film earned five Academy Award nominations, including best screenplay. In 1987, Shanley received an Oscar for his original screenplay for the hit film MOONSTRUCK. His notable plays include “Women of Manhattan” (1986), “Psychopathia Sexualis” (1998), “Dirty Story” (2003), “Defiance” (2005), and “Pirate” (2010).
Ben Katchor Ben Katchor, award-winning cartoonist
April 10 (Sunday)
2:00 p.m., Slide presentation | Albany Institute of History and Art, 125 Washington Avenue, Albany, NY

Ben Katchor,
critically-acclaimed and award-winning American cartoonist, will present a slide show and discussion on the theme of image worship as presented in his book, The Jew of New York (2000). Katchor has published several collections of his weekly comic strips including Cheap Novelties (1991), and two volumes from his Julius Knipl, Real Estate Photographer series (1996 and 2000). The Cardboard Valise, a semi-surreal graphic novel as travelogue, will be released in February 2011.
Cosponsored by UAlbany’s Center for Jewish Studies, the UAlbany Art Department, the New York State Writers Institute, and the Albany Institute of History & Art
Rosanna Warren Rosanna Warren, poet
April 12 (Tuesday):
Seminar — 4:15 p.m., Standish Room, Science Library
Reading — 8:00 p.m., Campus Center Room 375

Rosanna Warren
is the author most recently of Ghost in a Red Hat (2011), a collection of poems that “contemplate wreckage and sorrow” in family life, Hurricane Katrina, and the Trojan War. Rosanna Warren is the winner of the Lavan Younger Poets Prize, the Lamont Poetry Prize, the Witter Bynner Prize, and the Poetry Award of Merit from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, among numerous other honors. She received an L. A. Times Book Award nomination for her 2003 collection, Departure. Critic Harold Bloom has called her, “An important poet . . . beyond the achievement of all but a double handful of living American poets.”

Susan Choi
Photo: Sigrid Estrada

Susan Choi, fiction writer
April 14 (Thursday):
Reading and McKinney Award Ceremony — 8:00 p.m., Biotech Auditoruim, Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies Building, Rensselaer (RPI), Troy, NY

Susan Choi, prize-winning fiction writer, is the author most recently of A Person of Interest (2008), a thriller about a mild-mannered Asian American math professor falsely accused of killing prominent scientists with mail bombs. In a review of the book the L. A. Times said: “With nuance, psychological acuity, and pitch-perfect writing, [Choi] tells the large-canvas story of paranoia in the age of terror and the smaller story of the cost of failed dreams….” Choi was a Pulitzer Prize finalist for American Woman (2003), a novel based on the 1974 kidnapping of heiress Patty Hearst. Choi’s first novel was The Foreign Student (1999), winner of the Asian-American Literary Award.
Cosponsored in conjunction with Rensselaer’s 70th McKinney Writing Contest and Reading
For map and directions see: http://rpi.edu/tour/directions.html

Elijah Anderson
Photo: Martha Spanninger

Elijah Anderson, sociologist and author
April 26 (Tuesday)
Seminar — 4:15 p.m., Standish Room, Science Library
Reading — 7:30 p.m., Albany Public Library, 161 Washington Avenue, Albany, NY

Elijah Anderson
is a key figure of urban sociology and ethnography. His book, A Place on the Corner (1978) — based entirely on observations made about life at Jelly’s Liquor Store, a hangout in Chicago’s tough South Side neighborhood — is a classic in its field. His new book is The Cosmopolitan Canopy: Race and Civility in Everyday Life (2011), an exploration of public spaces — libraries, workplaces, stores, etc. — where racial and ethnic tensions seem to disappear. Other acclaimed works include Code of the Street: Decency, Violence, and the Moral Life of the Inner City (1999) and Streetwise: Race, Class, and Change in an Urban Community (1990).
Cosponsored by Friends of the Albany Public Library

Jonathan Segura

Andrew Foster Altschul

ADDITIONAL EVENT, Andrew Foster Altschul and Jonathan Segura, novelists
May 3 (Tuesday)
Seminar — 4:15 p.m., Humanities 354, Uptown Campus
Reading — 7:00 p.m., The Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza

Andrew Foster Altschul is a former UAlbany PhD student and author of the novels Lady Lazarus (2008) and Deus Ex Machina (2011). His short fiction and essays have appeared in publications including Esquire, McSweeney's, Ploughshares, Fence, One Story, StoryQuarterly, and anthologies such as Best New American Voices and O. Henry Prize Stories. A former music journalist and rock DJ, he is the Books Editor of The Rumpus and director of the Center for Literary Arts at San Jose State University.  The story of a Survivor-style reality TV show gone dangerously awry, Deus Ex Machina has been receiving rave reviews since its publication earlier this year.  The NPR reviewer called it, "Brilliant...One of the best novels about American culture in years." 

Jonathan Segura, Deputy Reviews Editor at Publishers Weekly, is the author of Occupational Hazards (2008), the story of Bernard Cockburn, a troubled, thirty-something crime reporter for a weekly newspaper in Omaha, Nebraska. The Washington Post reviewer said, "[A] savagely funny first novel.... The beauty of [the book] is Segura's ability to walk a line between the comedy and the horror of Bernard Cockburn's story. He's a true louse and a world-class cynic, but he's a better man than the corrupt officials and vice lords he's out to nail. Plus he's one hell of a funny narrator."

Ed Sanders Ed Sanders, poet, journalist, historian, and musician
May 5 (Thursday)
Seminar — 4:15 p.m., Standish Room, Science Library
Reading — 8:00 p.m., Assembly Hall, Campus Center

Ed Sanders is widely regarded by critics and scholars as a transitional figure between the Beat and Hippie generations. Founder of the ‘60s art-rock band, The Fugs, his new memoir, Fug You, will be released in 2011. A major collection of his poetry was published in 2009—Let’s Not Keep Fighting the Trojan War. Sanders is the author of several works of history and biography written in verse, including Chekhov (1995), 1968 (1997), The Poetry and Life of Allen Ginsberg (2000), and America (vols. 1-5, 8-9, 2000-2010). Volumes 6 and 7 of America are currently in development. Sanders also achieved national acclaim for his nonfiction 1971 book, The Family, a study of mass murderer Charles Manson and his followers.

Science Library, SL 320 | University at Albany, NY 12222 | Phone 518-442-5620 | Fax 518-442-5621 | email [email protected]