NYS Writers Institute Videos

University at Albany Campus
Maps and Directions




Fall 2015 Visiting Writers Series
Events are free and open to the public and located at Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue, on UAlbany’s Downtown Campus,
unless otherwise noted.

Tom Junod

Tom Junod, award-winning journalist
September 10 (Thursday)
Seminar on magazine journalism — 4:15 p.m., Standish Room, Science Library

Tom Junod,
UAlbany graduate and a writer-at-large for Esquire, is the author of some of the most celebrated pieces in American magazine writing. He has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award a record 11 times, winning twice. Many of his articles are widely republished and frequently assigned in college journalism classes. He has also written for Atlantic Magazine, Sports Illustrated, and GQ.

Note: On Friday, September 11th, Tom Junod will appear at the Huxley Theatre, NYS Museum, Albany, at 7 p.m. to read from and discuss his article “The Falling Man,” a 2003 meditation on AP photographer Richard Drew’s iconic image of a 9/11 victim plunging to his death. For additional information on Junod’s presentation call (518) 442-3083.

Cosponsored by the University at Albany and New York State Museum

Bradford Morrow
Photo: Jessamine Chan

Ann Lauterbach

Peter Straub

Conjunctions reading with Bradford Morrow, Ann Lauterbach, and Peter Straub
September 24 (Thursday)
Reading — 8:00 p.m., Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center

Conjunctions, a literary magazine based at Bard College, has been called “One of our most distinctive and valuable literary magazines….innovative, daring, indispensable, and beautiful” (PEN American Center). Three major writers involved with the magazine will read from their own work.

Bradford Morrow, founding editor of Conjunctions, novelist, essayist, and poet
Morrow’s latest novel is The Forgers (2014), a literary thriller about books, murder, and forgery, and a Publishers Weekly Top 10 Mystery/Thriller for 2014. Joyce Carol Oates called it, “brilliantly written…. lethally enthralling.” Other novels by Morrow include The Diviner’s Tale (2011), and The Almanac Branch (1991), a PEN/Faulkner Award finalist. For his work at Conjunctions, Morrow received the PEN/Magid Award for Magazine Editing.

Ann Lauterbach, poet, essayist, and contributing editor of Conjunctions
Celebrated for poetry of ravishing intensity, Lauterbach is a past winner of a MacArthur Fellowship. Her recent collections include Under the Sign (2013), and Or to Begin Again (2009), a National Book Award finalist. Novelist Don DeLillo has said “Ann Lauterbach’s poetry is quantum-packed inside its own reality, releasing beams of light and time that bend across the world of human beauty.”

Peter Straub, horror writer, poet, and contributing editor of Conjunctions
One of America’s preeminent authors of horror fiction, Peter Straub received the Bram Stoker Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2005. Five of his books have also won the Bram Stoker Award, including A Dark Matter (2010), 5 Stories (2007), In the Night Room (2004), Lost Boy, Lost Girl (2003), Mr. X (1999), and The Throat (1993). Other bestselling novels include Ghost Story (1979) and Julia (1975), as well as two coauthored with Stephen King: Black House (2001) and The Talisman (1984).


Rachel Grady

September 25 (Friday)
Film screening and discussion with director Rachel Grady — 7:00 p.m. [note early start time],
Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue, Downtown Campus

Directed by Rachel Grady and Heidi Ewing (United States, 2012, 90 minutes, color)
Nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance and winner of the Editing Award, DETROPIA is a visually stunning exploration of the disintegration of Detroit. The New Yorker’s David Denby called it “the most moving documentary I’ve seen in years….an ardent love letter to past vitality….a beautiful film.”

Rachel Grady and collaborator Heidi Ewing shared a 2007 Best Documentary Oscar nomination for JESUS CAMP, about children attending an evangelical Christian summer program. Other films by Grady and Ewing include 12TH & DELAWARE (2010), winner of a prestigious Peabody Award, and THE BOYS OF BARAKA (2005), winner of the Gold Hugo for Best Documentary at the Chicago International Film Festival, and an NAACP Image Award.

Cosponsored in conjunction with UAlbany’s School of Criminal Justice’s Crime, Justice, and Social Structure Film Series

Ann Beattie
Photo: Sigrid Estrada

Peg Boyers

Ann Beattie, novelist and short story writer, and Peg Boyers, poet
September 29 (Tuesday)
Seminar — 4:15 p.m., Standish Room, Science Library
Reading — 8:00 p.m., Recital Hall, Performning Arts Center

Ann Beattie is one of America’s most celebrated practitioners of the short story form. She has received the 2000 PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in Short Fiction and the 2005 Rea Award for the Short Story in addition to having work featured in numerous prize anthologies. Her newest book is The State We’re In: Maine Stories (2015), set in her adopted home state. In a starred review, Publishers Weekly praised Beattie’s “craftsmanship, precise language, and her knack for revealing psychological truths.”

A selection of the
Times Union Book Club

Peg Boyers spent her adolescence in Venice, Italy, which is the subject of her new poetry collection, To Forget Venice (2014). Poet Chase Twichell called it “a tour de force of ventriloquism…elegant, contemporary, and wry.” Boyers’ earlier collections include Honey With Tobacco (2007), and Hard Bread (2002). She teaches creative writing at Skidmore College and the NYS Summer Writers Institute, and is executive editor of Salmagundi.

Casey Schwartz

Casey Schwartz, science writer
October 6 (Tuesday)
Seminar — 4:15 p.m., D’Ambra Auditorium, Life Sciencex Building (LSRB 2095)
Reading — 8:00 p.m., Huxley Theatre, NYS Museum, Cultural Education Center, downtown Albany

Casey Schwartz is the author of the new book, In the Mind Fields: Exploring the New Science of Neuropsychoanalysis (2015), a witty, accessible, and entertaining introduction to new developments in brain science—notably the reconciliation of neuroscience and psychoanalysis. Scott Stossel, editor of The Atlantic, called it “a brilliant and enthralling exploration of a scientific and philosophical conundrum that has preoccupied thinkers from Descartes to Freud to Oliver Sacks:  the relationship between brain and mind.” A graduate of University College London with an MA in neuroscience, Schwartz has worked as a science and health reporter for Newsweek/The Daily Beast and other publications.

Cosponsored in conjunction with the launch of UAlbany’s Women in Science and Health group (WISH), in association with the RNA Institute and the School of Public Health

Adam Johnson
Photo: Samson Yee


Adam Johnson, Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist, and short story writer
October 13 (Tuesday)
Seminar — 4:15 p.m., Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center
Reading — 8:00 p.m., Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center

Adam Johnson
received the Pulitzer Prize for The Orphan Master’s Son (2012). The Pulitzer Board described it as “an exquisitely crafted novel that carries the reader on an adventuresome journey into the depths of totalitarian North Korea and into the most intimate spaces of the human heart.” Johnson’s earlier books include the novel, Parasites Like Us (2003), and the story collection, Emporium (2002). His new story collection is Fortune Smiles (2015). Publishers Weekly said “Often funny, even when they’re wrenchingly sad, the stories provide one of the truest satisfactions of reading: the opportunity to sink into worlds we otherwise would know little or nothing about.”

Presented in conjunction with the department-wide reading project of UAlbany’s English Department


Sean Dunne


October 16 (Friday)
Film screening and discussion with director Sean Dunne — 7:00 p.m. [note early start time],
Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue, Downtown Campus

Directed by Sean Dunne (United States, 2013, 78 minutes, color)
OXYANA is a harrowing profile of Oceana, West Virginia—a once-thriving coal town that has become the “capital” of the Oxycontin drug abuse epidemic. Featuring candid interviews with members of the shattered community, the film won two major awards at the Tribeca Film Festival:  Best New Documentary Director, and Best Documentary Feature–Special Jury Mention.

Sean Dunne, a native of Peekskill, is known for films that focus on socially marginalized individuals, and for his ability to get his subjects to “open up” and share their stories. A former writer and producer for The History Channel, Dunne received an Emmy nomination for his short film, THE ARCHIVE.

Cosponsored in conjunction with UAlbany’s School of Criminal Justice’s Crime, Justice, and Social Structure Film Series

Josh Innerst at Brutus in Julius Caesar
Photo: Michael Bailey of Josh Innerst as Brutus in JULIUS CAESAR

American Shakespeare Center performance of Julius Caesar
October 20 (Tuesday)
Performance — 7:30 p.m., Main Theatre, Performing Arts Center

Live music beginning at 7:00 p.m. Advance Tickets: $15 general public / $10 students, seniors & UAlbany faculty-staff. Day of Show Tickets: $20 general public / $15 students, seniors & UAlbany faculty-staff.
For tickets email: [email protected] or call the PAC Box Office at: (518) 442-3997

In this thrilling, and deeply human play, Shakespeare shows us a world on fire; a world where some of history’s heroes commit horrific crimes in the name of patriotism and honor. A masterpiece of betrayal, violence, and perhaps most surprisingly, love, Julius Caesar will be presented in classic Shakespearean style with actors playing multiple roles, and surrounded by the audience on three sides.

Presented by the Performing Arts Center with support provided by University Auxiliary Services and the Holiday Inn Express

Mark Bitman
Fred Conrad
Mark Bittman, food writer and New York Times columnist
October 22 (Thursday)
Seminar — 4:15 p.m., Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center
Presentation/interview — 7:30 p.m., Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue, Downtown Campus

Mark Bittman
is one of America’s best-known food writers. His 1998 bestseller, How to Cook Everything, which launched a series of best-selling sequels, has been described as “the bible of basic cooking for millions of Americans” (PBS). His newest book is A Bone to Pick—The good and bad news about food, with wisdom and advice on diets, food safety, GMOs, farming, and more (2015). Salon magazine said that the book “is destined to become a staple for those who want to consider, more deeply, what’s on their plate.” The author for 13 years of the widely-read New York Times food column, “The Minimalist,” Bittman writes about food for the Opinion, Dining, and Magazine sections of the New York Times.

Cosponsored by the Albany Times Union, and UAlbany’s School of Public Health

Mary Gaitskill
Photo: Derek Shapton
Mary Gaitskill, novelist and short story writer
October 29 (Thursday)

Seminar — 4:15 p.m., Campus Center Room 375
Reading — 8:00 p.m., Campus Center Room 375.

Mary Gaitskill received a National Book Award nomination for her 2005 novel, Veronica, and a PEN/Faulkner Award nomination for her 1997 story collection, Because They Wanted To. Her new novel, The Mare (2015), explores the evolving relationships among a Dominican girl from the inner city, a middle-aged white woman in Upstate New York, and the abused and spirited mare who transforms their lives. Bookshout! called the novel “Gaitskill’s most poignant and powerful work yet…raw, striking, and completely original.”

A selection of the Times Union Book Club

Donald AntrimPhoto: Ulrike Schamoni Donald Antrim, fiction writer and memoirist
November 5 (Thursday)
Reading — 4:15 p.m., Assembly Hall, Campus Center

Donald Antrim,
2013 MacArthur Fellow and frequent New Yorker contributor, has acquired a cult following for brilliant and wildly inventive fiction, including the novels, The Verificationist (2000) and The Hundred Brothers (1998), which was nominated for a PEN/Faulkner Award. His newest story collection is The Emerald Light in the Air (2014). Writing in Publishers Weekly, Joseph O’Neill called the stories “brilliant, antic, emotional… tremendously funny and moving” and said “I read them with that dreadful exhilaration that only the best writers can elicit.”

Public Morals

Ed BurnsPhoto: William Rexer

November 6 (Friday)
Film screening and discussion with actor/director Edward Burns — 7:00 p.m., [Note early start time]
Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue, Downtown Campus

Written and Directed by Edward Burns (United States, 2015 - , TNT TV series)
Starring Edward Burns, Michael Rapaport, Elizabeth Masucci, Brian Dennehy

PUBLIC MORALS is set in the early 1960s in New York City's Public Morals Division, where cops walk the line between morality and criminality as the temptations that come from dealing with all kinds of vice can get the better of them. Newsday describes the series as “raw, interesting, intelligent, … and unlike anything on TV at the moment.” The Los Angeles Times calls it “a picaresque, briskly written and quickly captivating series that is neither afraid nor ashamed of entertaining its audience.

Reading — 4:15 p.m., Lecture Center 5, Academic Podium
Edward Burns is an award-winning filmmaker, actor, screenwriter, and former UAlbany student. His many films include THE BROTHER'S MCMULLEN(1995), winner of “Best Dramatic Film” at Sundance, and SHE'S THE ONE (1996), which helped launch the careers of Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Aniston, and Amanda Peet. In 1998, Burns starred in Steven Spielberg’s Oscar-winning war epic, SAVING PRIVATE RYAN. His new memoir, Independent Ed (2015), provides a candid chronicle of the ups and downs of his career. Today’s Matt Lauer said “Every young, hungry, creative person should view this as a textbook.... It’s a how-to.”

Tina Howe “A Celebration of Women in the Arts,” featuring playwright Tina Howe
November 7 (Saturday)
Musical and theatrical presentations — 7:00 p.m., Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center

Tina Howe,
2015 recipient of the Master American Dramatist Award of the PEN/Laura Pels Foundation, will be the featured speaker at “A Celebration of Women in the Arts,” which will also present a choral performance by students, and a staged reading of Howe’s short comedy, Water Music (2000). Howe’s other plays include two Pulitzer Prize finalists Painting Churches (1982) and Pride’s Crossing (1997)— winner of the New York Drama Critics Circle Award—and Coastal Disturbances (1986), which was nominated for a Best Play Tony Award.

Sponsored by UAlbany’s Department of Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies

Bernard Conners
Photo:Supplied by author
Bernard F. Conners, novelist, memoirist, and publisher

November 12 (Thursday)
Conversation with Paul Grondahl — 8:00 p.m., Huxley Theatre, NYS Museum,
Cultural Education Center, downtown Albany

Bernard F. Conners is a former FBI agent, Golden Gloves boxing champion, bestselling novelist, and Emmy-winning TV producer. He is also the former publisher of The Paris Review, one of the literary world’s leading magazines. He recounts his remarkable rags-to-riches life story, his cloak-and-dagger escapades in Hoover’s FBI, and his notable encounters with New York’s “literati” in his new memoir, Cruising with Kate: A Parvenu in Xanadu (2015). His previous books include the true crime story, Tailspin (2001), and the novels The Hampton Sisters (1987) and Dancehall (1983).

Cosponsored by Friends of the New York State Library

Jason ReynoldsPhoto:Supplied by author


Jason Reynolds, young adult novelist and poet
November 17 (Tuesday)
Reading — 7:00 p.m., Huxley Theatre, NYS Museum, Cultural Education Center, downtown Albany

Jason Reynolds, YA novelist, writes smart, engaging books for “teenage boys who don’t like to read.” He received the American Library Association’s Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award for When I Was the Greatest (2014), which Booklist called “urban fiction with heart, a meditation on the meaning of family, the power of friendship, and the value of loyalty.” His new novels include The Boy in the Black Suit (2015), about a teenager coping with his mother’s death, and All American Boys (2015, with Brendan Kiely), the story of two teens—one black, one white—and the repercussions of a single violent act.

Cosponsored by Albany High School, The Center for Law and Justice, The African American Cultural Center of the Capital Region, and UAlbany’s Department of Literacy Teaching & Learning, Friends of the New York State Library

Ginger Strand
Photo: Orianna Riley

Ginger Strand, fiction and nonfiction author
November 19 (Thursday)

Seminar “A Writer in the Archive” — 2:00 p.m., M. E. Grenander Special Collections Research Room, Science Library 350
Keynote Lecture, “The Brothers Vonnegut: Bernard Vonnegut and Kurt Vonnegut in GE’s House of Magic” — 7:30 p.m., Clark Auditorium, NYS Museum, Cultural Education Center, downtown Albany

Ginger Strand will talk about her new book The Brothers Vonnegut (2015), a wild collision of science and literature set against the backdrop of atomic anxiety, would-be weather warriors, and the dawn of the digital world. She will discuss using manuscripts, letters, GE dossiers, and interviews to trace the fascinating story of two brothers grappling with the moral dilemmas of their time. Part biography, part cultural history, her book chronicles how a desire to control the natural world shaped one of our most inventive novelists.

Ginger Strand’s talk is a featured public event of the annual Researching New York Conference and is sponsored by the New York State Writers Institute; the University at Albany’s Department of History and M.E. Grenander Archives and Special Collections; and the New York State Archives Partnership Trust. Further information on the entire Researching New York Conference, is available at:

A selection of the Times Union Book Club


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