William Kennedy, Salman Rushdie, Cokie Roberts highlight NYS Writers Institute anniversary year

Cultural institution celebrates Kennedy's 90th birthday and its 35th anniversary in 2018

Related Media

Salman Rushdie, internationally acclaimed author

ALBANY, NY (01/08/2018) (readMedia)-- ( NOTE: Photos of all scheduled speakers available. )

The New York State Writers Institute at the University at Albany's spring season features a celebration of its founder William Kennedy and, after a 30-year postponement, the first Albany appearance of world-renowned author Salman Rushdie.

Rushdie's 1988 appearance had to be canceled at the last minute due to controversies surrounding his novel, The Satanic Verses.

"This is a watershed year at the Writers Institute," said Paul Grondahl, Director of the NYS Writers Institute, "We invite the Capital Region to join us in a yearlong celebration of two important milestones. William Kennedy, our founder and executive director, turns 90 on January 16, 2018. This year also marks the 35th anniversary of the establishment of the Writers Institute. We are honoring both Bill's vision and the legacy of our enduring literary organization."

It was Kennedy who provided the seed money to create the Institute at the University at Albany in 1983. Since then, the Institute has brought more than 1500 authors, poets and filmmakers to Albany for readings, seminars, talks, and panel discussions, and has become a literary center of national stature.

Three spring season events will mark Kennedy's 90th and the Institute's 35th.

  • A public celebration for Kennedy hosted by Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan will be held at Albany's City Hall Rotunda on Wednesday, January 31.
  • Kennedy will be interviewed by Randy Cohen for a Person Place Thing podcast on Wednesday, February 21; and
  • "This Is Your Life, William Kennedy" evening (with special guests to be announced) is being planned for Friday, May 4.

The Writers Institute's Spring 2018 schedule of visiting writer appearances and film series screenings features more than 30 events with headliners who have been honored with Nobel, Pulitzer, Tony, Booker prizes as well as Peabody and Emmy awards. In raw numbers, the next 15 weeks at the Writers Institute will bring two Pulitzer Prize winners, three Tony award winners, five Emmy award winners, one Booker Prize winner, one Peabody Award winner, one National Book Award finalist, 1one Nobel Prize winner, one Grammy Award winner, and one four-time National Poetry Slam winner.

Events take place on the University at Albany uptown and downtown campuses, and other locations in the Capital Region. They are free and open to the public (unless otherwise noted).

Highlights include Salman Rushdie on Thursday, April 19; Garth Fagan on Wednesday, March 28; and Grammy & Tony award-winning actress Patti LuPone on Thursday, April 26.

The first event kicks on Tuesday, January 30, with novelist and nonfiction writer Gish Jen, beloved and prize-winning chronicler of the Chinese-American experience. Pulitzer Prize-winner Junot Diaz proclaimed Gish "the Great American Novelist we're always hearing about." The appearance is co-sponsored by the UAlbany Center for International Education and Global Strategy in association with the launch of its new Global Distinction program.

The complete Spring 2018 Visiting Writers Series, Classic Film Series and special events follows. The listings are also available on www.nyswritersinstitute.org.


January 30 (Tuesday): Gish Jen, novelist and nonfiction writer

Craft talk - 4:15 p.m., Standish Room, Science Library, Uptown Campus

Presentation/Q&A - 7:30 p.m., Huxley Theatre, NYS Museum, Cultural Education Center, Albany

Gish Jen is a beloved and prize-winning chronicler of the Chinese-American experience in fiction. Her new work, The Girl at the Baggage Claim: Explaining the East-West Culture Gap (2017), explores stark differences between Eastern and Western ideas of the "self."

Junot Diaz proclaimed her "the Great American Novelist we're always hearing about," and John Updike, in the millennial issue of TIME magazine, named her his literary successor in the 21st century. Jen's other books include The Love Wife (2004), Mona in the Promised Land (1996), Who's Irish? (1999), and Typical American (1991).

Cosponsored by the State Education Department's Office of Cultural Education, Friends of the New York State Library, and the UAlbany Center for International Education and Global Strategy in association with the launch of its new Global Distinction program

January 31 (Wednesday): A Celebration of William Kennedy's 90th Birthday and the 35th Anniversary of the New York State Writers Institute

Ceremony - 7:00 p.m., Albany City Hall, 24 Eagle Street, Downtown Albany

Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan and the City of Albany invite the public to Albany City Hall to celebrate William Kennedy's transformative impact on the city's life, lore, and literary culture.

Kennedy's "Albany cycle" of novels has helped to establish the city as an internationally recognized capital of the literary imagination.

The New York State Writers Institute, founded by Kennedy in 1983, is responsible for making Albany a famous crossroads on the map of world literature for visiting writers in all genres and fields.

To mark these two significant birthdays, Mayor Sheehan and other political and civic leaders will offer proclamations, followed by a talk by Kennedy. Light refreshments will be served.



Film screening with commentary by writer/director Rodrigo Reyes - 7:00 p.m. Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue, Downtown Campus

(Mexico/United States, 2016, no rating, 78 minutes, color, in Spanish with English subtitles)

Rodrigo Reyes' debut fiction feature, LUPE UNDER THE SUN, won the two top prizes-Best Film and Best Narrative Feature-at the 2017 Brooklyn Film Festival. A first-of-its-kind dramatic film that uses non-actors who are real farm workers, LUPE follows the grinding routine of an aging Mexican migrant worker in southern California as he comes to terms with his past.

Cosponsored by the New York State Migrant Education Program, an affiliate of the SUNY Research Foundation

February 6 (Tuesday): Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration Keynote Speaker Michele Norris

7:00 p.m., Campus Center Ballroom, Uptown Campus

Michele Norris, eminent American broadcast journalist, became the first African-American female host in the history of National Public Radio, serving as anchor of its flagship evening news program All Things Considered from 2002 to 2015.

Previously, she served as an ABC News correspondent, winning both the Emmy and Peabody awards for her coverage of the 9/11 attacks. In 2014, she received a second Peabody for her NPR Race Card Project, which invites listeners to comment on matters of race in exactly six words.

She is also the author of the memoir, The Grace of Silence (2010), which Toni Morrison called, "an insightful, elegant rendering of how the history of an American family illuminates the history of our country." There will be a reception in the Patroon Room from 5:30-6:45 p.m. before the program begins.

Sponsored by the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs, Office of Diversity and Inclusion, the Student Association, and University Auxiliary Services in collaboration with the Writers Institute

February 8 (Thursday): Emily Witt, investigative journalist and author

Presentation/Q&A - 7:30 p.m., Campus Center Room 375, Uptown Campus

Emily Witt is the author of Future Sex (2016), a brave, first-hand investigation of the many varieties of sex and dating in 21st century America. In candid fashion, the 30-something author shares her search for love in a confusing world of dating apps, transient hook-ups, and novel sexual cultures.

The New York Times reviewer called the book, "smart, funny, beautifully written...." The Boston Globe reviewer said, "These gorgeously written essays, linked by tone, style, and a singular ambitious purpose, are brimming with intellect and infused with a caustic, compelling humor."

Sponsored by the Writers Institute in association with UAlbany's Sexuality Month, a program of the Middle Earth Peer Assistance Program of Counseling and Psychological Services

February 9 (Friday): A Celebration of the Life and Legacy of James Baldwin, featuring Darryl Pinckney

Student readings of Baldwin's work with commentary by Darryl Pinckney - 4:15 p.m., Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center, Uptown Campus

Darryl Pinckney, novelist, playwright, essayist, and author of the acclaimed new novel Black Deutschland (2016), will provide commentary on selections from the works of James Baldwin, one of the iconic authors of the 20th century. Selections will be presented on stage by Ken Screven, the first African-American man to be hired as a news reporter for television in the Capital Region, and a group of UAlbany students.

In a Boston Globe review of Black Deutschland, John Freeman said, "The essayist and novelist Darryl Pinckney probably knows Baldwin's life and work better than any living American, and in his long-awaited second novel, Black Deutschland, he pays Baldwin the highest tribute: telling a story in which a man much like Baldwin - a gay, black, alcoholic ex-pat - learns that who he is, who he loves, where he's from can't be disentangled."

February 9 (Friday): I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO

Film screening with commentary by Darryl Pinckney - 7:00 p.m., Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue, Downtown Campus

Directed by Raoul Peck (United States, 2017, 93 minutes, PG-13, color and b/w)

Based on James Baldwin's unfinished memoir, Remember This House, this Oscar-nominated documentary presents his meditations on the history of racism in the United States and his perspectives on slain civil rights leaders Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King, Jr. The Guardian called it, "one of the best movies about the civil rights era ever made."

Presented by the Writers Institute in conjunction with the Performing Arts Center with support provided by The University at Albany Foundation, Office of Intercultural Student Engagement, University Auxiliary Services, English Department, Sexuality Month, and the Diversity Transformation Fund administered through the Office of Diversity and Inclusion

February 16 (Friday): ENTRE NOS

Film screening with commentary by co-directors and screenwriters Gloria La Morte and Paola Mendoza - 7:00 p.m., Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue, Downtown Campus

(United States, 2009, 80 minutes, color, in Spanish with English subtitles)

A powerful film about the experience of new immigrants, ENTRE NOS presents the story of a Colombian woman and her two young children struggling to survive on the streets of New York City.

Based partly on the life story of writer-director Paola Mendoza's mother, the film received an Honorable Mention award at the Tribeca Film Festival, and the Audience Award at the Newport International Film Festival. Filmmaker Magazine called it, "an inspiring story of what a mother does during an unthinkable situation to provide her kids with a better life."

Cosponsored by the UAlbany Department of Latin American, Caribbean and U.S. Latino Studies

February 21 (Wednesday): Randy Cohen, comedy writer and host of the Person Place Thing podcast

Craft talk on making podcasts - 4:15 p.m., Multi-Use Room, Campus Center West Addition, Uptown Campus

Randy Cohen hosts a Person Place Thing podcast with Pulitzer Prize winner, Writers Institute founder and Executive Director William Kennedy - 7:00 p.m., Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center, Uptown Campus

Randy Cohen is a comedy writer, newspaper columnist, and UAlbany alum. He is also the host and creator of the nationally-syndicated Person Place Thing podcast produced by JCC Manhattan and sponsored by WAMC/Northeast Public Radio. The show invites guests to talk about a single person, place, and thing of personal importance.

Cohen won three Emmy Awards for his writing on Late Night with David Letterman and another for his work on Michael Moore's TV Nation. For twelve years he wrote "The Ethicist," a weekly column for The New York Times Magazine.

Cosponsored by the UAlbany Speaker Series and Department of Music and Theatre

February 23 (Friday): MIDNIGHT'S CHILDREN

Film screening - 7:00 p.m., Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue, Downtown Campus

Directed by Deepa Mehta (Canada/UK, 2012, 146 minutes, color)

Starring Satya Bhabha, Shahana Goswami, Rajat Kapoor

Adapted by Salman Rushdie from his landmark novel, MIDNIGHT'S CHILDREN tells the story of two children who grow up in India during its tumultuous transformation from British colonial rule to independence. The film earned six major Canadian Screen awards, including Best Motion Picture, Screenplay, and Direction. NOTE: See April 19 listing for information on Salman Rushdie appearance.

February 28 (Wednesday): American Place Theatre performance of If Beale Street Could Talk

7:30 p.m., Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center, Uptown Campus

Advance tickets: $15 general public / $10 students, seniors & UAlbany faculty-staff

Day of show tickets: $20 general public / $15 students, seniors & UAlbany faculty-staff

Adapted and directed by Elise Thoron for American Place Theatre, this "Literature to Life" offering is a verbatim adaptation of James Baldwin's powerful novel of the same name, one that remains disturbingly poignant even sixty years after it was first published.

A story of abiding love in the face of injustice, this one-person show honors Baldwin's eloquent voice, which spoke of the struggle of African-Americans and the saving power of brotherhood. The program includes pre- and post-show discussions with a teaching artist from American Place Theatre.

Presented by the Performing Arts Center in conjunction with the Writers Institute.


March 2 (Friday): DR. STRANGELOVE

Film screening - 7:30 p.m., Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue, Downtown Campus

Directed by Stanley Kubrick (United States, 1964, 95 minutes, b/w)

Starring Peter Sellers, George C. Scott, Sterling Hayden

DR. STRANGELOVE OR: HOW I LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING AND LOVE THE BOMB is one of the great political satires on film about the escalation of the Cold War between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, and the impending danger of nuclear war. The film was nominated for four Oscars, including Best Picture, Director, Screenplay, and Best Actor in a Leading Role for Peter Sellers.

March 6 (Tuesday): Joachim Frank, poet, fiction writer, and 2017 Nobel Prize winner in Chemistry

Conversation about a life in the arts and sciences - 4:15 p.m., D'Ambra Auditorium, Life Sciences Research Building, LSRB 2095, Uptown Campus

Presentation/Q&A - 7:30 p.m., Huxley Theatre, NYS Museum, Cultural Education Center, Albany

Joachim Frank, long-time UAlbany faculty member in the Department of Biomedical Sciences and founder of the field of single-particle cryo-electron microscopy, shared the 2017 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Currently on faculty at Columbia University, Frank lived and worked in the Capital Region for more than three decades.

Alongside his scientific pursuits, Frank has maintained a lifelong devotion to the art of creative writing. A published poet and fiction writer, he has taken classes with William Kennedy, Steven Millhauser, Eugene Garber, and Jayne Anne Phillips. Much of his literary work appears on his website, franxfiction.com.

Cosponsored by UAlbany's Life Sciences Research Initiative, RNA Institute, State Education Department's Office of Cultural Education, Friends of the New York State Library, and the UAlbany Emeritus Center

The Creative Life Series: March 7, March 28, April 26

The "Creative Life" 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. 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.

The Spring 2018 schedule features three events in the 'Creative Life' series:

• March 7 (Wednesday) Frédéric Brenner, photographer

• March 28 (Wednesday): Garth Fagan, The Lion King choreographer

• April 26 (Thursday): Patti LuPone, Grammy & Tony award-winning actress

Major support 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

March 7 (Wednesday): The Creative Life Series: Frédéric Brenner, photographer

Conversation - 7:00 p.m., Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center, Uptown Campus

Frédéric Brenner, renowned photographer of the Jewish diaspora, is best known for his magnum opus, Diaspora: Homelands in Exile (2004), the result of a 25-year search in forty countries to create a visual record of the Jewish people at the end of the 20th century.

His collaborative project, This Place, on display at the University Art Museum (February 1- April 7), brings together twelve international photographers taking part in a visual survey of Israel and the West Bank. His solo exhibits have appeared at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, International Center of Photography in New York, Musée de l'Elysée in Lausanne, and throughout the world.

March 23 (Friday): Patricia Smith, four-time National Poetry Slam winner

Presentation/Q&A - 6:00 p.m., Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue, Downtown Campus

Patricia Smith, four-time winner and the most successful poet in the history of the National Poetry Slam, is also a playwright, essayist, professor, and journalist. Slam poetry impresario Bob Holman said Smith's poems, "...sweat up the pages, caress the reader's eyes, and set fire to the books they're printed in."

Her newest collection is Incendiary Art (2016), a meditation on the murder of Emmett Till, and its central significance in modern African-American experience. Other collections include Shoulda Been Jimi Savannah (2012), winner of the Lenore Marshall Prize of the Academy of American Poets; Blood Dazzler (2008), a National Book Award finalist; and Teahouse of the Almighty, a 2005 National Poetry Series selection.

Cosponsored by UAlbany's English Graduate Student Organization, English Department, Graduate Student Association, and the Writers Institute

March 23 (Friday): LOUDER THAN A BOMB

Film screening - 8:00 p.m., Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue, Downtown Campus

Directed by Greg Jacobs and Jon Siskel (United States, 2010, 99 minutes, color)

This award-winning documentary tells the story of four Chicago high school poetry teams as they prepare for and compete in the world's largest youth slam. "Packs a greater emotional punch than any film in current release" (Boston Herald).

NOTE: Shown in association with slam poet Patricia Smith's visit on March 23rd

March 27 (Tuesday): Archer Mayor, bestselling mystery author, and Rabi Musah, UAlbany chemist

Q&A about the craft of mystery writing with Archer Mayor - 4:15 p.m., Standish Room, Science Library, Uptown Campus

Conversation, "Corpses, Blow Flies, and Post-Mortem Forensics" with Archer Mayor and Rabi Musah - 7:30 p.m., D'Ambra Auditorium, Life Sciences Research Building, LSRB 2095, Uptown Campus

Archer Mayor, bestselling mystery author, has also worked for decades as a death investigator for Vermont's Office of the Chief Medical Examiner and as a detective for the Windham County Sheriff's Office.

His Joe Gunther detective series, begun in 1988, has become one of the most critically acclaimed police procedural series being written today. Set partly in Albany, the 28th book in the series is Trace (2017). In a starred review, Publishers Weekly called it, "Outstanding."

Rabi Musah is UAlbany Professor of Chemistry and Director of the Musah Research Lab,

where she is pioneering a process to pinpoint a corpse's time-of-death based on a chemical analysis of blow fly eggs. An expert in the scientific evaluation of folk medicine and medicinal plants, Musah has earned national media attention from PBS's NOVA, The Huffington Post, and New Scientist.

Cosponsored by the School of Criminal Justice

March 28 (Wednesday): The Creative Life Series: Garth Fagan, The Lion King choreographer

Conversation - 7:00 p.m., Main Theatre, Performing Arts Center, Uptown Campus

Jamaican-born Garth Fagan is founder and artistic director of the award-winning and internationally acclaimed Garth Fagan Dance, now in its 47th season. His innovative choreography for Disney's musical The Lion King was honored with a Drama Desk Award, Outer Critics Circle Award, Tony Award and the Laurence Olivier Award.

Praised as "one of the great reformers of modern dance," Fagan has forged his own dance language and technique, drawing on influences from modern dance, Afro-Caribbean dance, and ballet. He received the American Dance Guild's Lifetime Achievement Award in 2017.


April 2 (Monday): Authors Theatre presentation of Southern Haunt, followed by Q&A with playwright Kathryn Walat and director Portia Krieger

Staged reading - 7:30 p.m., Studio Theatre, Performing Arts Center, Uptown Campus

Kathryn Walat, playwright and UAlbany Theatre Program Assistant Professor, presents a staged reading of her play-in-progress, Southern Haunt, "a spooky-sexy Southern gothic play set in Savannah." Following a reading by professional actors, the audience will be invited to share reactions with the playwright.

The event is part of the Writers Institute's ongoing "Authors Theatre" series, which features staged readings of original plays-in-progress, and permits audiences an opportunity to participate in the creative process. Kathryn Walat's award-winning plays include Creation, Bleeding Kansas, and See Bat Fly. She also wrote the libretto for the chamber opera, Paul's Case, which The New Yorker named one of "Ten Notable Performances" for 2014.

Portia Krieger is a New York-based director. For the theatre company Clubbed Thumb, she recently directed The Tomb of King Tot (2016), which was named a New York Times "Critics' Pick."

Cosponsored by the Jarka and Grayce Burian Endowment and UAlbany's Theatre Program

April 3 (Tuesday): Rosa Alice Branco, Portuguese poet, with translator Alexis Levitin

Presentation/Q&A - 4:15 p.m., Standish Room, Science Library, Uptown Campus

Rosa Alice Branco is a major Portuguese poet whose work has appeared in translation in more than forty literary journals around the world. Her collection Cattle of the Lord, translated in 2016 by Alexis Levitin and presented in both Portuguese and English, won the prestigious Espiral Maior de Poesia Award in 2009.

Alexis Levitin has translated more than thirty works of writers from Portugal, Brazil, and Ecuador and his translations have appeared in well over 200 magazines, including Partisan Review, Kenyon Review, and Prairie Schooner. He is a Distinguished Professor at SUNY Plattsburgh.

Cosponsored by the Portuguese Program of UAlbany's Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures

April 6 (Friday): "Incarcerating Girls and Women: Past and Present"


Film screening and discussion with Susan Burton, former inmate, author, and prison reform activist - 7:00 p.m., Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue, Downtown Campus

(United States, 2013, 60 minutes, color)

Film screening and discussion is the keynote event of the University at Albany symposium, "Incarcerating Girls and Women: Past and Present."

In this edition of Moyers & Company, broadcaster Bill Moyers speaks with author and legal scholar Michelle Alexander to discuss issues of racial injustice and mass incarceration in America. The segment features a substantial excerpt from the documentary SUSAN, by Tessa Blake and Emma Hewitt, about former inmate Susan Burton.

After serving six prison terms in 17 years, Susan Burton has turned her life around and dedicated herself to helping other women overcome personal histories of incarceration, poverty, and addiction. Burton is the founder and executive director of A New Way of Life, a reentry project for former inmates.

Her memoir, Becoming Ms. Burton, recounts her life-struggles after her five-year-old son was killed by a van driving down their street and, consumed by grief, she turned to drugs.

For more information about the symposium, contact the School of Criminal Justice at (518) 442-5210.

Sponsored by UAlbany's School of Criminal Justice's Justice and Multiculturalism in the 21st Century project, and cosponsored by the Prison Public Memory Project

April 10 (Tuesday): Andrea J. Buchanan, bestselling YA and children's author, and memoirist

Conversation about her memoir of overcoming neurological illness - 4:15 p.m., Campus Center Room 375, Uptown Campus

Conversation on writing for children and young adults - 7:00 p.m., Guilderland Public Library, 2228 Western Avenue, Guilderland

Andrea J. Buchanan is the co-author of the million-selling The Daring Book for Girls series, an empowering set of how-to manuals for girls with a sense of adventure. Her multimedia YA novel Gift, a sci-fi story that comes with its own fully playable Minecraft map, was named one of Kirkus Review's Best Books of 2012.

Her new memoir, The Beginning of Everything (2018), recounts her harrowing experience with a real-life neurological mystery after a coughing fit led to brain trauma and months of cognitive impairment.

Cosponsored by Guilderland Public Library and UAlbany Women in Science and Health

April 12 (Thursday): Paul Harding, Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist

Reading and McKinney Writing Contest Awards - 8:00 p.m., CBIS (Biotech) Auditorium, Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies Building, Rensselaer (RPI), Troy

Paul Harding received the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for Tinkers (2009), a father-and-son story about itinerant peddlers in the backwoods of Maine. The Pulitzer jury described it as "a powerful celebration of life [that] offers new ways of perceiving the world and mortality."

His second novel, Enon (2013), is the story of one man's enduring love for his daughter, and was named a best novel of the year by The Wall Street Journal and the American Library Association. The Chicago Tribune said: "Enon confirms what the Pulitzer jury decided: Paul Harding-no longer a 'find'-is a major voice in American fiction."

Sponsored by Rensselaer's 77th Annual McKinney Writing Contest and Reading and the Vollmer W. Fries Lecture

For directions see: http://www.rpi.edu/tour/index.html

April 13 (Friday): A MASTER BUILDER

Film screening - 7:00 p.m., Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue, Downtown Campus

Directed by Jonathan Demme (United States, 2013, 130 minutes, color)

Starring Wallace Shawn, Julie Hagerty

This film was adapted from Henrik Ibsen's play for a contemporary setting by Wallace Shawn, who plays the architect Halvard Solness, an egomaniac who enjoys manipulating and bullying everyone around him, especially his wife and mistresses.

NOTE: Shown in association with the April 30 visit of Eugene Lee, who created the film's production design

April 17 (Tuesday): Sara Novi? and Peter Golden, acclaimed novelists

Craft talk - 4:15 p.m., Standish Room, Science Library, Uptown Campus

Presentation/Q&A - 7:30 p.m., Huxley Theatre, NYS Museum, Cultural Education Center, Albany

Sara Novi?, acclaimed first-time novelist, is a notable figure in the American deaf community, founder of the deaf rights and culture website, REDEAFINED.com, and an eloquent explainer of the riches of the deaf experience. Her debut novel, Girl at War (2012), a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, tells the story of a girl's coming of age during the collapse of the former Yugoslavia. The New York Times Book Review said: "Girl at War performs the miracle of making the stories of broken lives in a distant country feel as large and universal as myth."

Peter Golden is the author of the new novel, Nothing Is Forgotten (2018), about a young man from New Jersey who travels to Khrushchev's Russia, where he discovers love and the long-buried secrets of his heritage.

His previous novels include Wherever There Is Light (2015), which The Washington Post reviewer praised for "vivid characters and strong storytelling," and Comeback Love (2012). An award-winning journalist, Golden has interviewed many world leaders, including Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Henry Kissinger, Yitzhak Rabin, and Mikhail Gorbachev.

Cosponsored by UAlbany's Disability Resource Center, State Education Department's Office of Cultural Education, and Friends of the New York State Library

April 19 (Thursday): Salman Rushdie, award-winning novelist

Craft talk - 4:15 p.m., Lecture Center 25, Uptown Campus

Presentation/Q&A - 7:30 p.m., Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue, Downtown Campus

Salman Rushdie is widely recognized as a leading figure of world literature. His 1981 novel, Midnight's Children, received not only the Booker Prize, but also the 1993 "Booker of Bookers" and the 2008 "Best of the Booker," selected from all 41 winners since the prize's inception in 1969.

This will be Rushdie's first visit to the Institute since cancelling his scheduled 1988 appearance due to the controversies surrounding his novel, The Satanic Verses. His new novel is The New York Times bestseller, The Golden House (2017), a parable of contemporary America set against the backdrop of current American culture and politics. The AP reviewer called it, "a modern masterpiece."

Cosponsored by the UAlbany Speaker Series

April 20 (Friday): Marc Guggenheim, screenwriter, TV producer, comic book writer, and novelist

Presentation - 7:00 p.m., Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue, Downtown Campus

Marc Guggenheim, UAlbany alum, has helped to transform the landscape of American primetime television as a developer and "showrunner" of imaginative TV shows inspired by DC comic book worlds, including Arrow (2012-present) and Legends of Tomorrow (2016-present), two of the most popular shows on The CW network. He is also the creator of the TV show, Eli Stone (2008-9), and screenwriter of the films, Green Lantern (2011), and Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters (2013).

His writing for Marvel Comics includes several series within the X-Men franchise. He is also the author of the novel, Overwatch (2014), a CIA legal thriller that Mystery Scene called, "a paranoid's delight." In an interview with UAlbany Magazine, Guggenheim said, "My time at UAlbany opened me up socially and intellectually.... It was four wonderful years of my life." Guggenheim will screen clips of his work for TV and film with commentary and Q&A.

Cosponsored by the UAlbany Speaker Series

April 24 (Tuesday): "Women and Power in America" with Cokie Roberts, Jill Stein, Danielle Belton, and Mayor Kathy Sheehan

Craft talk with Cokie Roberts on writing about women's history - 4:15 p.m., Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center, Uptown Campus

Panel Discussion on "Women and Power in America" - 7:30 p.m., Hearst Media Center, 645 Albany Shaker Road, Albany

Influential women in the fields of broadcasting, journalism, and politics will discuss the challenges and opportunities facing women in America today.

Moderator: Cokie Roberts, one of America's leading broadcast journalists, is a long-time reporter, news analyst, and commentator for National Public Radio; a commentator and analyst for ABC News; and a regular roundtable analyst for This Week with George Stephanopoulos. Her journalism honors include the Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite awards. She is also the author of notable books of women's history, including Founding Mothers (2004) and Capital Dames (2015).

Panelists: Danielle Belton is editor-in-chief of The Root, the Internet's most-visited African-American news and culture site, founded by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Donald E. Graham. Prior to joining The Root, Belton created and wrote the acclaimed blog, The Black Snob, followed by millions of readers. She served formerly as editor-in-chief of Clutch magazine, and head writer for BET's Don't Sleep, hosted by T. J. Holmes.

Jill Stein was the Green Party's nominee for President of the United States in the 2016 and 2012 elections. She also ran as the Green Party candidate for Governor of Massachusetts in 2010 and 2002. A physician and graduate of Harvard Medical School, she is a noted crusader for progressive causes including voter rights, children's health, and climate change prevention.

Kathy Sheehan, the first female mayor of Albany, NY, (2014-present) is an attorney and former Albany City treasurer.

Cosponsored by the Times Union Women@Work network of business and professional women (http://tuwomenatwork.com)

April 26 (Thursday): The Creative Life Series: Patti LuPone, Grammy and Tony award-winning actress

Conversation - 7:00 p.m., Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue, Downtown Campus

Patti LuPone, one of musical theatre's most beloved leading ladies, returned to Broadway in 2017 with a Tony-nominated performance as cosmetics pioneer Helena Rubinstein in War Paint. LuPone's Broadway career accolades span decades, and include the Tony Award for her leading role in Evita (1980) and the Tony, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle awards for her performance as Rose in the Broadway revival of Gypsy (2008).

Her autobiography, Patti LuPone: A Memoir (2010), was a New York Times bestseller that shared the intimate story of her life both onstage and off - through the dizzying highs and darkest lows - with the humor and outspokenness that have become her trademarks.

April 27 (Friday): Nina G, comedian, disability rights activist, and author

Comedy performance - 7:00 p.m., Campus Center Ballroom, Uptown Campus

Nina G, the "Stuttering Comedian," is also a professional speaker, storyteller, writer, and educator. She brings her humor to help people confront and understand disability culture, access, and empowerment. A member of the comedy troupe, The Comedians with Disabilities Act, she is also the author of a children's book, Once Upon An Accommodation: A Book About Learning Disabilities (2013), and of the forthcoming memoir Stutterer Interrupted (2018).

Sponsored by UAlbany's Disability Resource Center, University Auxiliary Services, and Division of Student Affairs

The 22nd Annual Burian Lecture: Funded by the Jarka and Grayce Burian Endowment

April 30 (Monday): Eugene Lee, set designer for Wicked and Saturday Night Live

Craft talk - 4:15 p.m., Studio Theatre, Performing Arts Center, Uptown Campus

The Burian Lecture - 7:30 p.m., Studio Theatre, Performing Arts Center, Uptown Campus

Eugene Lee, legendary Broadway set designer, has won three Tony Awards for his work on Leonard Bernstein's Candide, Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd, and Gregory Maguire's Wicked. Lee has also served as the production designer for Saturday Night Live for more than forty years since its 1975 premiere.

Lee has also served as set designer for late-night shows featuring SNL alums, including The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and Late Night with Seth Meyers. His memoir, The Adventures of Eugene Lee, with an afterword by SNL creator Lorne Michaels, was published in 2014.

Cosponsored by the Jarka and Grayce Burian Endowment and UAlbany's Theatre Program


May 1 (Tuesday): David Tomas Martinez, poet

Craft talk - 4:15 p.m., Standish Room, Science Library, Uptown Campus

Presentation/Q&A - 7:00 p.m., Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center, Uptown Campus

David Tomas Martinez, prize-winning poet, is a former San Diego gang member and teenage father whose work addresses themes of street life, poverty, masculinity, drugs, and violence in the barrio, and the redemptive potential of art, poetry, and self-knowledge. Major poet Tony Hoagland calls Martinez, "one of the most exciting and visceral poets of his generation."

Currently a professor of creative writing at Columbia University, Martinez is the author of the new poetry collection, Post Traumatic Hood Disorder (2018). His previous collection was Hustle (2014), which BuzzFeed named one of "The 14 Must-Read Works of Chicano Literature." UAlbany students will join Martinez on stage in the evening to perform their own spoken word poetry.

Cosponsored by the Writing Center of the UAlbany English Department and the student performance troupe, Phenomenal Voices

May 4 (Friday): "This Is Your Life, William Kennedy" Celebration

7:00 p.m., Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue, Downtown Campus

The Writers Institute will celebrate its founder in his 90th year with appearances by special guests, to be announced, prerecorded video tributes by major authors and filmmakers, and a slideshow of photographs documenting significant milestones in a singular and eventful life. We invite you all to join the fun. A reception with light refreshments to follow.

For additional information, contact the Writers Institute at 518-442-5620 or online at www.nyswritersinstitute.org.