NYS Writers Institute presents special series on the experiences of recent immigrant groups in the U.S.

"The New Americans" explores the immigrant experience through fiction, nonfiction, and film

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Imbolo Mbue, author of the novel "Behold the Dreamers" (2016) Photo credit: Kiriko Sano

ALBANY, NY (09/19/2016)(readMedia)-- The New York State Writers Institute at the University at Albany presents "The New Americans," a series of events that examine the experiences of recent immigrant groups in the United States, the challenges they face, and their contributions and achievements. Several authors and filmmakers will appear to offer the "new American" perspective through public discussions, book readings, and special film screenings. The series is cosponsored by University Auxiliary Services, and UAlbany's College of Arts & Sciences and School of Public Health.

"The New Americans" series includes the following events:

October 6 (Thursday): Imbolo Mbue, novelist

Seminar - 4:15 p.m., Assembly Hall, Campus Center, UAlbany Uptown Campus

Reading - 8:00 p.m., Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center, UAlbany, Uptown Campus

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."

October 27 (Thursday): SPARE PARTS

Film screening - 7:00 p.m., Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center, UAlbany Uptown Campus

Directed by Sean McNamara (United States, 2015, 114 minutes, color)

Starring George Lopez, Jamie Lee Curtis, Carlos PenaVega, José Julián

SPARE PARTS is based on the true story of four undocumented Hispanic high school students who enter a national robotics competition and take on teams from some of the country's most prestigious universities. UNDERWATER DREAMS (2014), a documentary that recounts the same story, will be screened on Friday, November 4 (see listing).

October 28 (Friday): Anne Fadiman, journalist, and nonfiction author

Interview/Discussion - 7:30 p.m., Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue, UAlbany 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.

Cosponsored by UAlbany's School of Public Health

November 4 (Friday): UNDERWATER DREAMS

Film screening and commentary by director Mary Mazzio, and Lorenzo Santillan - 7:00 p.m. [Note early start time], Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue, UAlbany Downtown Campus

Written and directed by Mary Mazzio (United States, 2014, 86 minutes, color)

UNDERWATER DREAMS is a David and Goliath story about a group of high school students, sons of undocumented Mexican immigrants, who enter a sophisticated underwater robotics competition and take on engineering students from MIT. Gary Goldstein of the Los Angeles Times called the documentary "Moving and insightful...a telling snapshot of our nation's class and cultural divide."

Mary Mazzio is an award-winning documentary filmmaker. Her films include CONTRARIAN (2013), THE APPLE PUSHERS (2011), LEMONADE STORIES (2004), APPLE PIE (2002), and A HERO FOR DAISY (1999).

Lorenzo Santillan was part of the team of high school students who participated in the robotics competition that is the subject of UNDERWATER DREAMS.

Cosponsored by UAlbany's College of Arts & Sciences

For additional information contact the Writers Institute at 518-44-5620 or online at http://www.albany.edu/writers-inst.