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Courtesy parking for Writers
Institute events on the Uptown
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For Downtown Campus events,
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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:
The University Bookstore at the University at Albany and The Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza



August 31 (Thursday): Awkwafina, rap artist and actress
Conversation — 4:15 p.m., Main Theatre, Performing Arts Center
Awkwafina (AKA Nora Lum) is a multi-talented rap artist, comedian, actress, and author who graduated from UAlbany with a B.A. in Journalism in 2011. She will appear in the upcoming film adaptation of Kevin Kwan’s Crazy Rich Asians, and play a member of the all-female heist team in OCEAN'S EIGHT, alongside Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Rihanna, and Helena Bonham Carter. Formerly a host of MTV’s Girl Code Live, she has also published Awkwafina’s NYC (2015), a travel guide to the hidden gems of the city. Steve Barnes, one of Awkwafina’s former professors at UAlbany, and senior writer, restaurant critic, and author of the “Table Hopping” blog for the Times Union will conduct an on-stage interview with her. Read more.
Cosponsored by UAlbany’s Student Association and University Auxiliary Services


Telling Your Story: The Art of Memoir
September 7 (Thursday): James Hart, writer, poet, and activist
Seminar — 4:15 p.m., Standish Room, Science Library
Reading — 7:00 p.m. [note early start time], Huxley Theatre,
NYS Museum, Cultural Education Center, Albany

James Hart is the author of a powerful new memoir Lucky Jim (2017), an account of his violent childhood, marriage to pop singer superstar Carly Simon, coming to terms with his gay sexuality, and his drug and alcohol addiction and subsequent recovery. William Kennedy said, “Jim writes with candor and clarity, drenching it…with woe and wit and wonderful revelation.” Hart will be joined by several community writers and UAlbany students, who will read short passages of autobiography to further explore the art of memoir. The evening will be hosted by celebrated memoir coach, Marion Roach Smith, author of The Memoir Project: A Thoroughly Non-Standardized Text for Writing & Life (2011). Read more.
Cosponsored by the New York State Office of Cultural Education and the Friends of the New York State Library

Backpack Full of Cash

September 8 (Friday): BACKPACK FULL OF CASH
Film screening with commentary by director/producer Sarah Mondale and producer/editor Vera Aronow — 7:00 p.m. [note early start time], Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue,
Downtown Campus

Directed by Sarah Mondale (United States, 2017, 96 minutes, color)
Narrated by Matt Damon, this feature-length documentary explores the growing privatization of public schools and the resulting impact on America’s most vulnerable children. Filmed in Philadelphia, New Orleans, Nashville, and other cities, it takes viewers through the tumultuous 2013-14 school year, exploring the world of education “reform” and its effects on public education. Read more.

../images/Sarah Mondale is president and co-director of Stone Lantern Films, and a former public school teacher in New York. She directed and co-produced the award-winning PBS series School: The Story of American Public Education (2001); the PBS primetime films Marcel Proust: A Writer’s Life and Asylum, which was nominated for an Emmy award. She also co-directed and co-produced Megamall (2010), which has screened at festivals in the U.S. and abroad.

Vera AronowVera Aronow is an accomplished producer and director. Recent works include co-directing and producing the feature-length documentary, Megamall (2010), about suburban development in the age of sprawl, produced with Stone Lantern Films and now available on Video On Demand.

Sponsored with UAlbany’s Dept.of History and Documentary Studies Program; United University Professions, and School of Education

Jess Tyehimba
Photo: John Midgley

Spoken Word Poetry Celebration
September 14 (Thursday): Tyehimba Jess, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet
Seminar — 4:15 p.m., Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center
Reading — 7:00 p.m. [note early start time], Main Theatre, Performing Arts Center

Tyehimba Jess is a major contemporary poet whose work serves as a bridge between “slam poetry” and other American verse traditions. His first collection, leadbelly (2005), an exploration of the blues musician Huddie “Lead Belly” Ledbetter’s life, was chosen for the National Poetry Series by Brigit Pegeen Kelly. His second collection Olio (2016), which celebrates the unrecorded and largely unknown Black musicians and orators of the 19th and early 20th centuries, won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize. In a starred review, Publishers Weekly called it “encyclopedic, ingenious, and abundant….” UAlbany students will join Jess on stage in the evening to perform their own spoken word poetry. Read More.
Cosponsored by UAlbany’s Student Association, Division of Student Life, and The Writing Center of the English Department


Madeleine Thien
Photo: Babak Salari

October 3, (Tuesday): Madeleine Thien and Peter Ho Davies, award-winning novelists
Seminar — 4:15 p.m., Standish Room, Science Library
Reading — 8:00 p.m., Huxley Theatre, NYS Museum, Cultural Education Center, Albany

Madeleine Thien is celebrated for fiction that explores the surprising hi../images/stories of people living in the Chinese Diaspora. Set in both Canada and China, her newest novel, Do Not Say We Have Nothing (2016), received Canada’s highest literary honor, the Governor General’s Award, and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. Dogs at the Perimeter, her acclaimed 2012 novel about a Canadian survivor of Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge regime, will be re-released in a new U.S. edition in October 2017.

Peter Ho Davies

Peter Ho Davies’ new novel, The Fortunes (2016), examines the diverse experiences of four Chinese-Americans over the course of the previous century. Joyce Carol Oates called it, “A prophetic work, with passages of surpassing beauty… a boldly imagined work of fiction….” The Fortunes received the Anisfield-Wolf Award and Chautauqua Prize, and was named a Best Book of 2016 by NPR, Publishers Weekly, Indie Next, and the New York Times. Born in Britain to Welsh and Chinese parents, Davies is also the author of the novel The Welsh Girl (2007), which was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize.
Cosponsored by the New York State Office of Cultural Education and the Friends of the New York State Library Read More.

Matteo Farinella

October 6 (Friday): Matteo Farinella, neuroscientist, illustrator, and author
Seminar — 3:00 p.m., Life Sciences Building, D’Ambra Auditorium, LSRB 2095

Matteo Farinella, scientist and visual artist, is the illustrator/author of Neurocomic (2013), an accessible “neuroscience comic book,” with text provided by fellow neuroscientist Hana Ros. Wired said, “If you’re interested in taking a surreal but simple trip through the incredibly complicated landscape inside your skull, this might be the rabbit hole you’re looking for.” Farinella is currently a Presidential Scholar in Society and Neuroscience at Columbia University, where he investigates the role of “visual narratives” in science communication, education, and literacy. Read More.
Sponsored by UAlbany’s Department of Biology

Telling the TruthTelling the Truth in a Post-truth World
A multi-event exploration of topics crucial to an open democratic society

What is truth in an era that has been called post-truth?
What does it mean that Oxford Dictionaries declared “post-truth” its international word of the year in 2016? Or that Time magazine recently asked on its cover:
“Is Truth Dead?”

The New York State Writers Institute presents a series of events, culminating in a two-day conference featuring acclaimed journalists, authors, historians, and First Amendment scholars, who will share their views on issues including “fake news;” Constitutional protections for a free press; information overload; the shifting roles of social media; hacking and cybersecurity; and more. Read more.

Harvest of EmpireSeptember 22 (Friday): HARVEST OF EMPIRE
Film screening — 7:30 p.m., Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue, Downtown Campus

Directed by Peter Getzels and Eduardo López (United States, 2012, 90 minutes, color)
Featuring Junot Diaz, Luis Enrique, Juan González
Based on the nonfiction book of the same name by award-winning journalist Juan González, this powerful documentary examines how the influx of immigrants from Latin American countries to the United States has been linked to American foreign policy. González will participate on the panel “Race, Class, and the Future of Democracy” on Saturday October 14.

All the President's MenOctober 6 (Friday): ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN
Film screening and discussion with Harry Rosenfeld, Albany Times Union editor-at-large, and former Metro Editor at The Washington Post in charge of the daily coverage of the Watergate expose — 7:00 p.m. [note early start time], Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue, Downtown Campus

Directed by Alan J. Pakula (United States, 1976, 138 minutes, color)
Starring Dustin Hoffman, Robert Redford, Jack Warden
In this classic political thriller based on true events, The Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein uncover the details of the Watergate scandal that leads to President Richard Nixon’s resignation. The film received four Oscars, including Best Screenplay, and was nominated for Best Picture and Best Director. Read More.
Cosponsored by UAlbany School of Criminal Justice’s Crime, History and Public Memory Film Series

Kurt Andersen
Photo: Thomas Hart Shelby

October 12 (Thursday): Kurt Andersen, award-winning author and journalist, and radio host
Conversation with WAMC’s Joe Donahue — 7:00 p.m., Campus Center Ballroom

Kurt Andersen is a writer, editor, critic, and the host of WNYC’s Peabody-winning public radio program Studio 360. Cofounder of Spy magazine, he contributes to Vanity Fair and The New York Times, and was a cultural columnist for Time and The New Yorker. Andersen is also the coauthor, with Saturday Night Live’s Alec Baldwin, of You Can't Spell America Without Me: The Really Tremendous Inside Story of My Fantastic First Year as President Donald J. Trump (A So-Called Parody). Andersen will discuss his new book, Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire: A 500-Year History (2017), which examines the current phenomenon of “fake news” and the blurred lines between reality and illusion in the culture and politics of 21st century America from a historical perspective.
$30 admission charge, which includes a copy of Fantasyland (UAlbany students free with valid ID). Contact The Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza (518-489-4761) for advance tickets/book, or purchase at the door. Part of the book sale proceeds will fund NYS Writers Institute programming.
Read More.

October 13 and 14, Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue, UAlbany Downtown Campus

October 13 (Friday): 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Panel

Media in the Age of New Technology: Fake News, Information Overload, & Media Literacy

Moderator: Bob Schieffer, moderator of three presidential debates, former anchor of CBS Evening News and Face the Nation, and author of Overload: Finding the Truth in Today’s Deluge of News (2017)
Panelists: Franklin Foer, staff writer of The Atlantic and former editor of The New Republic, and author of World Without Mind: The Existential Threat of Big Tech (2017)
David Goodman, contributor to Mother Jones magazine and co-author with his sister Amy Goodman of the book Democracy Now! Twenty Years Covering the Movements Changing America (2016)
Maria Hinojosa, trailblazing journalist and talk show host, anchor and executive producer of Latino USA and founder of the Futuro Media Group, dedicated to promoting diversity in American media
Tim Wu, professor at Columbia Law School, originator of “net neutrality” and author of Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires (2010), and The Attention Merchants: The Epic Scramble to Get Inside Our Heads (2016)

8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Panel

Presidents and the Press: Trump, Nixon & More
Moderator: Bob Schieffer,
moderator of three presidential debates and former anchor of CBS Evening News and Face the Nation
Panelists: Douglas Brinkley, CNN Presidential historian and biographer of Teddy Roosevelt, FDR, Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford
Amy Goodman, investigative reporter, host and producer of the award-winning news program, Democracy Now! that airs on over 1,400 public television and radio stations worldwide
Harry Rosenfeld, Times Union editor-at-large, and former Metro Editor at The Washington Post who oversaw the paper’s coverage of Watergate
Glenn Thrush, White House correspondent for the New York Times

October 14 (Saturday): 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. Panel

Dirty Deeds: Election Mischief, Cybercrimes & Civil Liberties

Moderator: Victor Asal
, UAlbany faculty expert in terrorism and homeland security and Chair, Department of Public Administration
Panelists: Russell Banks, bestselling novelist, past President of the International Parliament of Writers, and founder and President of Cities of Refuge North America
David Daley, Digital Media Fellow at the University of Georgia, and author of Ratf**ed: The True Story Behind the Secret Plans to Steal America’s Democracy (2016)
James Steiner, ex-CIA official and Program Coordinator for Homeland Security, Cyber Security and Emergency Management at UAlbany’s Rockefeller College
Kelley Vlahos, Managing Editor of The American Conservative, longtime political writer for, and journalist specializing in national security, war policy, and civil liberties

11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Panel

Race, Class, and the Future of Democracy

Moderator: Gilbert King
, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and author of Devil in the Grove (2012)
Panelists: Carol Anderson, professor of African-American History at Emory University and author of the national bestseller, White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide (2016)
José Cruz, Director of UAlbany’s Center for Latino, Latin American, and Caribbean Studies, and author of Puerto Rican Identity, Political Development, and Democracy in New York, 1960-1990 (2017)
Juan González, investigative reporter, co-host of Democracy Now! and author of Harvest of Empire: A History of Latinos in America (2000), and Reclaiming Gotham (2017)
Adrian Nicole LeBlanc, journalist, MacArthur Fellow, and author of Random Family: Love, Drugs, Trouble, and Coming of Age in the Bronx (2003)

2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Panel

The First Amendment & Free Speech Under Attack

Moderator: Ashleigh Banfield
, award-winning journalist and TV personality, host of Primetime Justice on HLN and former anchor of CNN’S Legal View
Panelists: Floyd Abrams, the nation’s pre-eminent First Amendment attorney, senior counsel at Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP, and author of The Soul of the First Amendment (2017)
Anthony Paul Farley, James Campbell Matthews Distinguished Professor of Jurisprudence at Albany Law School, where he teaches Advanced Constitutional Law
Kristina Findikyan, senior counsel at Hearst, one of the nation’s largest media companies, where she specializes in First Amendment and libel law
Richard Honen, corporate attorney in charge of the Albany office of Phillips Lytle LLP and conservative commentator on WAMC’s The Roundtable
Richard Tofel, founding general  manager and current president of ProPublica, the independent, nonprofit newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the public interest, and former assistant publisher of The Wall Street Journal

7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Panel

The End of Newspapers?

Moderator: Rex Smith
, editor of the Albany Times Union and host of “The Media Project” on WAMC/Northeast Public Radio
Bill Keller, former executive editor of The New York Times and director of The Marshall Project, an investigative journalism project on criminal justice issues
Pamela Newkirk, journalist and professor of journalism at NYU, and author of Within the Veil: Black Journalists, White Media (2000)
Jim Rich, Executive Editor of HUFFPOST (The Huffington Post), and former Editor-in-Chief at the NY Daily News.
Richard Tofel, founding general manager and current president of Pro Publica -- the independent, non-profit newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the public interest -- and former assistant publisher of The Wall Street Journal

8:45 p.m. to 10 p.m.: Book signing and public reception

Claire MessudPhoto: Ulf Anderson

October 17 (Tuesday): Claire Messud, novelist../images/
Seminar — 4:15 p.m., Assembly Hall, Campus Center
Reading — 8:00 p.m., Assembly Hall, Campus Center

Claire Messud, major contemporary fiction writer, is the author of the new novel, The Burning Girl (2017), the story of two girlhood best friends as they navigate adolescence, divergent lives, and painful adult realities. Publishers Weekly praised the novel for its “sophisticated intelligence and elegant prose…” calling it “haunting and emotionally gripping.”

Messud’s previous novels are The Woman Upstairs (2013), an international bestseller; The Emperor’s Children (2006), a New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and Washington Post “Best Book of the Year”; and When the World Was Steady (1995), a PEN/Faulkner Award finalist. Read More

Ryan Smithson

October 26 (Thursday): Ryan Smithson, Iraq war veteran and memoirist
Reading/Discussion — 4:15 p.m., Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center

Ryan Smithson, UAlbany graduate (M.A., English, 2015), is an Iraq war veteran whose highly-praised memoir, Ghosts of War: The True Story of a 19-Year-Old GI (2009), is a widely-assigned text at high schools and colleges across the country. Publishers Weekly called it “a fascinating, often humorous—and occasionally devastating—account of the motivations and life of a contemporary soldier.” Smithson received the Outstanding Master's Thesis Award for his play Ten Klicks South of Whiskey, which premiered at Averill Park High School in 2015. Ghosts of War was also adapted for the stage by Bill Massolia of the Griffin Theatre in Chicago as a one-man stage performance [see November 1 event listing].
Cosponsored by UAlbany’s Performing Arts Center and English Department
Funding support provided by University Auxiliary Services, The University at Albany Foundation, and the Hampton Inn.
Read More

Doug Wright

October 30 (Monday): Doug Wright, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright
Seminar — 4:15 p.m., Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center
Reading — 8:00 p.m., Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center

Doug Wright wrote the book for the hit 2017 Broadway musical, War Paint, the recipient of four Tony Award nominations. Starring Patti LuPone and Christine Ebersole, the musical presents the rivalry between cosmetics empire-builders Elizabeth Arden and Helena Rubinstein. Wright received the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award for Best Play for his 2003 one-person play, I Am My Own Wife. His other plays include Posterity (2015), Unwrap Your Candy (2001), and Quills (1995). Wright also wrote the book for the Broadway musicals, Hands on a Hardbody (2013), The Little Mermaid (2007), and Grey Gardens (2006), nominated for ten Tony Awards. Read more.
Cosponsored by UAlbany’s Theatre Program


Ghosts of War

November 1 (Wednesday): Griffin Theatre Company performance of Ghosts of War
Performance — 7:30 p.m., Main Theatre, Performing Arts Center

Advance tickets: $15 general public / $10 students, seniors & UAlbany faculty-staff
Day of show tickets: $20 general public / $15 students, seniors & UAlbany faculty-staff
Chicago’s Griffin Theatre Company adapted Capital Region native and UAlbany alumnus Ryan Smithson’s book of the same name for the stage. The patriotism following 9/11, the author’s experience of enlisting in the Army at the age of 17, the disciplinary harshness of basic training, and the stress of combat are explored in this unflinchingly honest portrayal of the war in Iraq.
Post-show discussion with author Ryan Smithson
Presented in collaboration with the Performing Arts Center and UAlbany’s English Department. Funding support provided by University Auxiliary Services, The University at Albany Foundation, and the Hampton Inn.

Bringing out the DeadNovember 3 (Friday): screening in a conversation about the rewards and perils of serving on an ambulance corps. BRINGING OUT THE DEAD
Film screening with commentary by former paramedic Joe Connelly, on whose novel the film is based, and members of UAlbany’s Five Quad Volunteer Ambulance Service — 7:00 p.m. [note early start time], Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue, Downtown Campus

Directed by Martin Scorsese (United States, 1999, 121 minutes, color)
Starring Nicolas Cage, Patricia Arquette, John Goodman
Joe ConnellyBased on the bestselling autobiographical novel of the same name by Joe Connelly, BRINGING OUT THE DEAD follows a burned-out Manhattan ambulance paramedic working the graveyard shift at the height of the crack epidemic in the early 1990s as he is haunted by the ghosts of the people he couldn’t save. Student volunteers of UAlbany’s award-winning Five Quad Ambulance Service will join Connelly immediately following the screening in a conversation about the rewards and perils of serving on an ambulance corps. Read more.
Cosponsored by UAlbany School of Criminal Justice’s Crime, History, and Public Memory Film Series


Roz Chast
Photo: Bill Hayes

November 9 (Thursday): Roz Chast, The New Yorker cartoonist, and Robert Mankoff, The New Yorker cartoon editor
Seminar — 4:15 p.m., Standish Room, Science Library
Reading — 8:00 p.m., Huxley Theatre, NYS Museum, Cultural Education Center, Albany

Roz Chast has published more than a thousand cartoons in The New Yorker since 1978. Her frantic and disheveled characters have become icons of American humor. Michiko Kakutani of The New York Times said, “Roz Chast feels—and draws—our pain. Our neurotic worries and genuine fears, our mundane and existential anxieties, our daydreams, nightmares, insecurities and guilty regrets.” Her 2014 memoir in cartoons about caring for her aging parents, Can’t We Talk about Something More Pleasant?, spent more than 100 weeks at #1 on The New York Times Bestseller List. Her new book of cartoons is Going Into Town: A Love Letter to New York (2017).

Bob Mankoff

Robert "Bob" Mankoff, cartoonist and influential cartoon editor for The New Yorker, submitted more than 500 of his own cartoons to that publication before getting his first acceptance in 1977. He became cartoon editor in 1997, and is credited with nurturing a new generation of talent before retiring this past April. He currently serves as the Humor and Cartoon Editor at Esquire. He is the author of the memoir, How About Never—Is Never Good for You?: My Life in Cartoons (2014), which The New York Times reviewer called, "lucid, illuminating, and encouraging." Read more.
Cosponsored by the New York State Office of Cultural Education and the Friends of the New York State Library

The Creative Life logoThe Creative Life Series
Created and produced by the New York State Writers Institute, University Art Museum, and UAlbany Performing Arts Center in collaboration with WAMC Northeast Public Radio, this series features leading figures from a variety of artistic disciplines in conversation with WAMC’s “Roundtable” host Joe Donahue about their creative inspiration, craft, and careers.

Lois Lowry
Photo: Rania Matar

November 10 (Friday): Lois Lowry, award-winning children’s author
Conversation — 7:00 p.m. [note early start time], Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue, Downtown Campus

Lois Lowry, leading voice of children’s literature, is the author of more than 30 books. She is known for work that explores such complex issues as racism, terminal illness, murder, and the Holocaust. She received the Newbery Medal for both The Giver (1993), about a futuristic utopian world, and Number the Stars (1989), a historical novel set in Nazi-occupied Denmark. Lowry wrote three companion novels to The Giver, including Gathering Blue (2000), Messenger (2004), and Son (2012). A film adaptation of The Giver, starring Jeff Bridges and Meryl Streep, was released in 2014. In 2007 Lowry received the Margaret Edwards Award from the American Library Association for her lasting contribution to young adult literature. Read more.
Major support for The Creative Life is provided by The University at Albany Foundation with additional support from the UAlbany Alumni Association, College of Arts and Sciences, Office of the Provost and University Auxiliary Services.

Russell ShortoPhoto: Ringel Goslinga

November 13 (Monday): Russell Shorto, author and journalist
Reading/Discussion — 7:00 p.m., Huxley Theatre, NYS Museum, Cultural Education Center
In his epic new book, Revolution Song: A Story of American Freedom, author and historian Russell Shorto takes us back to the founding of the American nation, drawing on diaries, letters and autobiographies to explore six lives that cast the era in a fresh new light. These stories include an African man who freed himself and his family from slavery, a rebellious young woman who abandoned her abusive husband to chart her own course, and a certain Mr. Washington, who was admired for his social graces but harshly criticized for his often-disastrous military strategy.

Through these lives we understand that the revolution was fought over the meaning of individual freedom, a philosophical idea that became a force for violent change. A powerful narrative and a brilliant defense of American values, Revolution Song makes the compelling case that the American Revolution is still being fought today and that its ideals are worth defending.

A book signing will follow the lecture. Books can be purchased at the event. Registration is recommended for this event. Please call (518) 486-3694 to reserve a seat. Read more.

This program is organized by the New York State Office of Cultural Education, with additional support by the New York State Writers Institute.

John Freeman GillPhoto: Dereck Shapton

November 16 (Thursday): John Freeman Gill, journalist and novelist
Reading/Discussion — 7:30 p.m., Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue, Downtown Campus
John Freeman Gill
, The New York Times contributor, is the author of the debut novel The Gargoyle Hunters (2017), a Barnes & Noble “Discover Great New Writers Pick.” A deeply emotional story of a father and son and the obsession that drives their relationship, the novel solves the mystery of a brazen and seemingly impossible architectural heist. In a review of the book author Colum McCann said Gill “strips the mask off New York City in this poignant, incisive, irreverent novel about fatherhood, art, obsession, creation, and destruction. … a wonderful, compelling debut.” Gill, an expert on historical architecture, writes “Edifice Complex,” a monthly column in Avenue that explores the biographies of historic New York City buildings and their occupants. Read more.

John Freeman Gill’s presentation is a featured public event of the University at Albany History Department’s annual Researching New York Conference and is cosponsored by the New York State Writers Institute. Further information on the entire Researching New York Conference is available at

Hisham MatarPhoto: Diana Matar

November 30 (Thursday): Hisham Matar, Pulitzer Prize-winning author
Seminar — 4:15 p.m., Standish Room, Science Library
Reading — 8:00 p.m., Assembly Hall, Campus Center
Hisham Matar,
Libyan-American novelist and nonfiction writer, received the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Autobiography for his memoir, The Return: Fathers, Sons and the Land In Between, an account of the author’s return to the Libya of his family’s origin, and his search for his missing father, a political activist who disappeared during the regime of Muammar Gaddafi. Michiko Kakutani said in The New York Times that Matar “writes with both a novelist’s eye for physical and emotional detail, and a reporter’s tactile sense of place and time.” His 2007 novel, In the Country of Men, was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, and his 2011 novel, Anatomy of a Disappearance, was named a Best Book of the Year by The Guardian and Chicago Tribune. Read more.


Phil Caruso

December 1 (Friday): The Art of Still Photography on the Movie Set
Discussion with photographer Phillip Caruso
— 7:30 p.m., Page Hall,
135 Western Avenue, Downtown Campus

Phillip Caruso, one of the most sought-after still photographers in the motion picture industry, is known for his extensive work with Martin Scorsese, Ron Howard, Francis Ford Coppola, Robert Zemeckis, Terry Gilliam, and other leading directors. Caruso also served as actor Robert De Niro’s personal photographer for 18 films. Caruso’s challenge as a photographer is to tell a film’s story in the singular images that appear on movie posters and in the media. In 2017, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Society of Camera Operators. Read more.

Nic Stone

December 7 (Thursday): Nic Stone, young adult author
Reading — 7:00 p.m., Huxley Theatre, NYS Museum, Cultural Education Center, Albany
Nic Stone
is the author of the debut young adult novel Dear Martin (2017), which is loosely inspired by a series of true events involving the shooting deaths of unarmed African-American teenagers. Shaken by a personal run-in with the police, the book’s main character starts a journal to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in an attempt to determine if King’s teaching remains relevant in the modern world. YA superstar Jason Reynolds called the book, “"Raw and gripping....  An undeniably real feast of fury and forgiveness."
Cosponsored by Albany High School, the New York State Office of Cultural Education, and the Friends of the New York State Library. Read more.

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