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Colson Whitehead, Photo by Erin Patrice O'Brien
Colson Whitehead


NYS Writers Institute, November 1, 2011
4:15 p.m. Seminar | Assembly Hall, Campus Center, Uptown Campus
8:00 p.m. Reading | Assembly Hall, Campus Center, Uptown Campus


Colson Whitehead, prize-winning fiction writer, will speak about Zone One (2011), his new apocalyptic zombie horror novel set in Manhattan, on Tuesday, November 1, 2011 at 8:00 p.m. in the Assembly Hall, Campus Center, on the University at Albany’s uptown campus. Earlier that day at 4:15 p.m., the author will present an informal seminar in the same location. The events are sponsored by the New York State Writers Institute, and are free and open to the public.


Colson Whitehead,
prize-winning fiction writer known for works that explore African American experience and Black middle class life, is the author most recently of Zone One (2011), a post-apocalyptic zombie horror novel set in Manhattan, and one of the most anticipated books of the current publishing season.

magazine called it “The best book of the fall... a book you want to read rather than one you should read.” The reviewer for the New York Observer said, “[Whitehead] takes the genre of horror fiction, mines both its sense of humor and self-seriousness, and emerges with a brilliant allegory of New York living.” In a starred review, Publishers Weekly said, “Whitehead dumpster dives genre tropes, using what he wants and leaving the rest to rot, turning what could have been another gore-fest into the kind of smart, funny, pop culture-filled tale that would make George Romero proud.”

Zone OneWinner of a MacArthur Fellowship and the Whiting Writers’ Award, Whitehead is also the author of Sag Harbor (2009), a tale set in a wealthy Black summer community on Long Island; Apex Hides the Hurt (2006), a satirical novel about marketing to Black consumers; The Colossus of New York (2003), a collection of lyrical essays about New York City and a New York Times Notable Book; John Henry Days (2001), a Pulitzer Prize finalist and winner of the New York Public Library Young Lions Award, a novel that tells the story of a journalist who investigates the myth and meaning of the John Henry stories; and The Intuitionist (1998), winner of the Quality Paperback Book Club’s New Voices Award, an exploration of the meaning of race that follows the life of America’s first Black female elevator inspector.

Writing in Time magazine, Walter Kirn called The Intuitionist, “the freshest racial allegory since Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man and Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye.” Also writing in Time, Paul Gray called John Henry Days, “a narrative tour de force that astonishes on almost every page.” Writing in the Washington Post, Grace Lichenstein called The Colossus of New York, “Pitch-perfect…. utterly authentic…. quite simply the most delicious 13 bites of the Big Apple I’ve taken in ages.”

In bestowing its five hundred thousand dollar “genius award” in 2002, the MacArthur Foundation praised Whitehead’s novels for their inventive plots that weave American folklore and history into the stories.

A former television, film and book reviewer for the Village Voice, Whitehead’s reviews, essays, and fiction have also appeared in the New York Times, The New Yorker, New York Magazine, Harper’s and Granta.

PREVIOUS VISIT: October 17, 2002

For additional information, contact the Writers Institute at 518-442-5620 or online at https://www.albany.edu/writers-inst.