NYS Writers Institute Videos

Search The New York State Writers Institute:

University at Albany Campus
Maps and Directions



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:
The University Bookstore at the University at Albany and The Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza

The Creative Life logo

Joyce Carol Oates
Photo: Dustin Cohen



Savion Glover
Photo: Courtesy of Savon Glover Productions

The Creative life: A Conversation Series at UAlbany
Created and produced by the New York State Writers Institute, University Art Museum, and UAlbany Performing Arts Center in collaboration with WAMC Public Radio this new series features leading figures from a variety of artistic disciplines in conversation about their creative inspiration, their craft, and their careers. WAMC’s “Roundtable” host
Joe Donahue will lead the discussion followed by a Q&A with the audience.

Joyce Carol Oates, fiction writer, essayist, poet, and playwright
September 15 (Thursday)

Conversation — 7:30 p.m., Main Theatre, Performing Arts Center
Joyce Carol Oates, prolific author of more than 160 books, is a perennial favorite to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. She is the author of 44 novels, including them (1969), winner of the National Book Award, Black Water (1992), Foxfire (1993), We Were the Mulvaneys (1996), and Blonde (2000). Her recent works include the novel The Man Without a Shadow (2016), the memoir The Lost Landscape: A Writer’s Coming of Age (2015), and the essay collection Soul at the White Heat: Inspiration, Obsession, and the Writing Life (2016). Oates received the National Humanities Medal from President Obama in 2010. Read more

Savion Glover, tap dancer, choreographer, and actor
October 15 (Saturday)
Conversation — 1:00 p.m., Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue, Downtown Campus

Savion Glover is a Tony award-winning choreographer and “the greatest tap dancer to ever lace up a pair of tap shoes” (Gregory Hines). At the age of 10 he starred in the Broadway musical The Tap Dance Kid. He both starred in and choreographed the musical Bring in ’da Noise, Bring in ’da Funk, for which he received a Tony Award for choreography. Glover has made numerous appearances on Sesame Street and also performed the live captured dancing moves for “Mumble,” the penguin in the Disney film HAPPY FEET. Read more
NOTE: Glover will premiere his latest work New Soundz, at The Egg on October 15 at 8:00 p.m.
(For information contact The Egg Box Office at 518-473-1845)

Joseph LeDoux
Photo: Diemut Strebe
Joseph LeDoux, neuroscientist and author
September 27 (Tuesday)
Seminar — 4:15 p.m., Standish Room, Science Library
Reading — 8:00 p.m., Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center

Joseph LeDoux is a world-renowned expert on the neurobiology of anxiety and fear. Director of the Emotional Brain Institute at NYU, he has helped to redefine the current understanding of those psychological states and their associated disorders. His new book is Anxious: Using the Brain to Understand and Treat Fear and Anxiety (2015), an accessible, elegantly written guide to the history and science of his field. Calling LeDoux “the William James of our era…,” Nobel Prize-winning neuroscientist Eric Kandel said, “This marvelous book is science at its best.”
Read more

Cosponsored by the Science Library of the University at Albany Libraries

Stephen Burt
Photo: Alex Dakoulas

Stephen Burt, poet and literary critic
September 29 (Thursday)
Seminar — 4:15 p.m., Standish Room, Science Library
Reading — 8:00 p.m., Huxley Theatre, NYS Museum, Cultural Education Center, Albany

Stephen Burt is “one of the most influential poetry critics of his generation” (The New York Times Magazine). His books of criticism include Close Calls with Nonsense: Reading New Poetry (2009), a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist, and The Poem is You: 60 Contemporary American Poems and How to Read Them (2016), “a guide to the diverse magnificences of American poetry today.” His poetry collections include Popular Music (1999), Parallel Play (2006), and Belmont (2013), named a “Best Book of 2013” by Publishers Weekly and NPR.
Read more

Cosponsored by Friends of the NYS Library





Imbolo Mbue
Photo:Kiriko Sano



Anne Fadiman
Photo: Matt Valentine

The New Americans: Recent Immigrant Experiences in Fiction, Nonfiction, and Film
The events with Imbolo Mbue (October 6) and Anne Fadiman (October 28) are part of this series that examines the experiences of recent immigrant groups in the United States, the challenges they face, and their contributions and achievements.

Funding support for the series is provided by University Auxiliary Services, and UAlbany’s College of Arts & Sciences and School of Public Health

Imbolo Mbue, novelist
October 6 (Thursday)
Seminar — 4:15 p.m., Assembly Hall, Campus Center
Reading — 8:00 p.m., Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center

Imbolo Mbue, Cameroonian-American, is the author of the highly anticipated first novel Behold the Dreamers (2016), a riveting story about a young Cameroonian couple making a new life in New York just as the Great Recession of the 2000s upends the economy. In advance praise, bestselling author Jacqueline Woodson called it, “startlingly beautiful, thoughtful, and both timely and timeless.”
Read more

October 28 (Friday)
Anne Fadiman
Interview/Discussion — 7:30 p.m., Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue, Downtown Campus

Anne Fadiman is the author of the bestselling nonfiction book The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down (1997). Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award, the book explores the clash between Western medicine and the holistic healing traditions of a Hmong refugee family from Laos over the care of their epileptic child. The Washington Post Book World called it, “Superb, informal cultural anthropology—eye-opening, readable, utterly engaging.” Elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences in 2015, Fadiman has won National Magazine Awards for reporting and essays.
Read more

(For additional events in “The New American” series see Classic Film Series listing)

Cosponsored by UAlbany’s School of Public Health

Who Killed Vincent Chin? October 14 (Friday):  WHO KILLED VINCENT CHIN?
Film screening with commentary by director Christine Choy — 7:30 p.m., Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue, Downtown Campus

Directed by Christine Choy (United States, 1987, 87 minutes, color)

A Chinese automotive engineer is mistaken as Japanese and murdered by two autoworkers who blame him for the competition from the Japanese auto industry. The film, which was nominated for a Best Feature Documentary Oscar, recounts the repercussions for the families and the failures of the American justice system.

Christine ChoyChristine Choy
is a director and producer whose films include A SHOT HEARD ’ROUND THE WORLD (1998), which won best documentary at the Bangkok International Film Festival, and RODNEY KING: KOREATOWN REACTS (2016).
Read more

Sponsored in conjunction with UAlbany’s School of Criminal Justice’s
Justice & Multiculturalism in the 21st Century: Crime, Justice, and Public Memory Film Series


Special Event
October 15 (Saturday):  Roscoe: An American Grand Opera
Albany Symphony performance — 7:30 p.m., Palace Theatre, 19 Clinton Avenue, Albany

The Albany Symphony Orchestra, conducted by David Alan Miller, will present Roscoe, a new American opera based on William Kennedy’s acclaimed novel. Roscoe Conway, after years as the motor of Albany’s political machine, longs to retire. But just when he thinks he is out, events pull him back in. Composed by Evan Mack, with libretto by Joshua McGuire, the performance will feature opera superstar soprano Deborah Voigt as “Veronica.”
For tickets contact the Albany Symphony Box Office at 518-694-3300.

Romeo and Juliet
Photo:Michael Bailey
Josh Clark and Zoe Speas in Romeo
and Juliet

American Shakespeare Center performance of Romeo and Juliet
October 18 (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 e-mail: [email protected] or call the PAC Box Office at: (518) 442-3997

With ravishing language Shakespeare celebrated love’s triumphs and its trivialities in perhaps his most popular tragedy. The play explores the volatility of youth as well as the wisdom and restraint that often escape young and old alike. Presented in classic Shakespearean style, American Shakespeare Center’s production features dance and thumb-biting swordplay as well as sonnets, bawdy wit, and soul-searching speeches.

Presented by the Performing Arts Center in conjunction with the Writers Institute. Support provided by the Department of English and University Auxiliary Services

Snowpiercer October 21 (Friday):  SNOWPIERCER
Film screening with commentary by screenwriter Kelly Masterson — 7:00 p.m. [Note early start time],
Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue, Downtown Campus

Directed by Bong Joon-ho (South Korea/Czech Republic/United States/France, 2013, 126 minutes, color and b/w)
Starring Chris Evans, Ed Harris, John Hurt, Song Kang-ho, Tilda Swinton

Based on the French graphic novel, Le Transperceneige, SNOWPIERCER is widely hailed as a classic of the new climate fiction genre (“cli-fi”). Survivors of a future Ice Age live out their lives on a train as it travels in a continuous loop around the globe. USA Today called it, “a rare hybrid that perfectly blends the dazzle of a futuristic action thriller with the intellectual substance of an art film.” Nominated for 94 film awards, it received a total of 19.

Kelly MastersonKelly Masterson
, screenwriter of SNOWPIERCER, also wrote the screenplays for BEFORE THE DEVIL KNOWS YOU’RE DEAD (2007, see October 7 listing), GOOD PEOPLE (2014), starring James Franco, and KILLING KENNEDY (2013), starring Rob Lowe.
Read more

Sponsored in conjunction with the UAlbany Art Museum’s exhibition
Future Perfect: Picturing the Anthropocene (on display through December 10, 2016)

Howard Frank Mosher
Howard Frank Mosher, novelist
November 1 (Tuesday)
Seminar — 4:15 p.m., Assembly Hall, Campus Center
Reading — 8:00 p.m., Huxley Theatre, NYS Museum, Cultural Education Center, Albany

Howard Frank Mosher is the author of ten acclaimed novels set in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom. The novel A Stranger in the Kingdom (1989) won the New England Book Award and was made into a movie as were his books Disappearances (1977), and Where the Rivers Flow North (1978). His most recent novel is God’s Kingdom (2015), of which Stephen King said “This is American fiction at its very best, a rip-roaring story full of hilarity and heartbreak…honest and emotionally resonant. Don’t miss it.”
Read more

Jeff Goodell


Jennifer Haigh
Photo: Rob Arnold

Jeff Goodell, journalist and nonfiction writer, and Jennifer Haigh, fiction writer
November 10 (Thursday)
Reading/Discussion — 7:00 p.m., Art Museum, Fine Arts Building

Jeff Goodell is a contributing editor for Rolling Stone and a frequent contributor to The New York Times Magazine. He is the author of Big Coal: The Dirty Secret Behind America’s Energy Future (2006), a look at the economic, environmental, and social issues surrounding the coal industry. His new book is How to Cool the Planet: Geoengineering and the Audacious Quest to Fix Earth’s Climate (paperback, 2016). In a starred review Booklist called it, “…a lively and invaluable introduction of the simultaneously alarming and promising field of geoengineering.”

Jennifer Haigh
is the author of four critically acclaimed novels: Mrs. Kimble (2003), which received the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award for distinguished first book of fiction; Baker Towers (2005), The Condition (2008), and Faith (2011). In her new novel Heat and Light (2016), Haigh explores the allure of fracking for the residents of a ravaged coal town. The Washington Post called it “the best fracking novel ever…. a tour-de-force of multiple point-of-view narration.”
Read more

Sponsored in conjunction with the UAlbany Art Museum’s exhibition
Future Perfect: Picturing the Anthropocene
(on display through December 10, 2016)

Charles Baxter
Photo: Keri Pickett


James Lasdun

Charles Baxter and James Lasdun, fiction writers
November 15 (Tuesday)
Seminar — 4:15 p.m., Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center
Reading — 8:00 p.m., Assembly Hall, Campus Center

Charles Baxter is widely celebrated as a master of the short story form, for which he has won numerous awards. His newest collection, There’s Something I Want You to Do (2015), was a finalist for the 2016 Story Prize. Fiction writer Julie Orringer said, “To read these stories—hilarious, tragic, surprising, and indelibly human—is to receive revelation at the hands of a master.” Baxter’s bestselling novel The Feast of Love (2000) was a finalist for the National Book Award.

James Lasdun
is a fiction and nonfiction writer, poet, and screenwriter. His works include Bluestone: New and Selected Poems (2015); the story collection It’s Beginning to Hurt, listed by The Atlantic Monthly as one of its top five books of 2009; and the novel The Horned Man (2002), a New York Times Notable Book. His most recent book is the psychological thriller The Fall Guy (Oct 2016). In advance praise novelist Joseph O’Neill said “What a sinister and searching novel this is—and what a delight. James Lasdun is one of our great writers.”
Read more

Garth Risk Hallberg
Photo: Mark Vessey


Garth Risk Hallberg, novelist
November 29 (Tuesday)
Seminar — 4:15 p.m., Assembly Hall, Campus Center
Reading — 8:00 p.m., Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue, Downtown Campus

Garth Risk Hallberg is the author of the national bestseller City on Fire (2015), his sweeping debut novel about New York City in the 1970s where the lives of the wealthy, punks, artists, cops, and runaway teens collide. The novel was named a “Best Book of the Year” by the New York Times, Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, NPR, and The Atlantic. In her New York Times review Michiko Kakutani praised the book as “A novel of head-snapping ambition and heart stopping power—a novel that attests to its young author’s boundless and unflagging talents.”
Read more

UAlbany logo

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