NYS Writers Institute visiting writers spring 2016

nys writers institute 2016 spring cover composite

The spring lineup for the NYS Writers Institute visiting writers series is out. And, as usual, it's full of notable, award-winning writers and events for which to look ahead.

Here's the full lineup, compressed and expanded...

All blurbage via the NYS Writers Institute.

See also the classic film series slate for the spring.

Compressed schedule

January 29: Their Eyes Were Watching God: Film screening and discussion with film director Darnell Martin and literature scholar Emily Bernard

Febrary 1: Carlotta Walls LaNier, memoirist and civil rights advocate

February 4: Jennifer Verdolin, animal behavior scientist

February 11: New York State Author and Poet Awards and Reading: Edmund White and Yusef Komunyakaa

February 16: Randall Horton and Jacqueline Jones LaMon, poets

February 18: Sherwin Bitsui, poet

February 23: Jon Krakauer, journalist and mountaineer

February 26: Missing People: Film screening and commentary by film director David Shapiro

March 3: Stephen Adly Guirgis, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright

March 21: Charles Duhigg, Pulitzer Prize-winning business writer

March 31: David Gelernter, computer scientist and theorist, and author

April 8: Evolution of a Criminal: Film screening and discussion with director Darius Clark Monroe

April 13: Steven Millhauser, Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist and short story writer

April 15: Sheri Fink, award-winning journalist and nonfiction author

April 18: Pam MacKinnon, Tony Award-winning theatre director

April 21: Laura van den Berg, short story writer and novelist

April 29: Colm Tóibín, Irish fiction and nonfiction writer and journalist

May 6: Richard Russo, Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist

Expanded schedule

January 29: Their Eyes Were Watching God: Film screening and discussion with film director Darnell Martin and literature scholar Emily Bernard
7:00 pm, Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue, UAlbany Downtown Campus
Based on Zora Neale Hurston's classic novel, adapted by playwright Suzan-Lori Parks, and produced by Oprah Winfrey's Harpo Films, this ABC-TV movie features Halle Berry as the free-spirited Janie, whose quest for love and a meaningful life challenges the morals of a small American town in the 1920s.

Darnell Martin was the first Black American woman to write and direct a film for a major Hollywood studio--I LIKE IT LIKE THAT (1994). Her other credits include CADILLAC RECORDS (2008), starring Beyoncé Knowles.

Emily Bernard is an author, and professor and scholar of African American literature. She is the author of the New York Times Notable Book, Remember Me to Harlem (2001).

The NYS Writers Institute is also involved with two other related events as part of the "Eyes on Zora: The Life and Legacy of Zora Neale Hurston" series:
+ January 30 The Folktales of Zora Neale Hurston at the Albany Public Library Washington Ave Branch (11 am) and the Howe Branch (3 pm).
+ January 31: American Place Theatre performance of Zora! at the UAlbany PAC (3 pm). Tickets are $15 ahead / $20 day of / $10 ahead for students / $15 day of for students.

Febrary 1: Carlotta Walls LaNier, memoirist and civil rights advocate
Lecture and Public Reception, 7:00 pm, UAlbany Campus Center Ballroom
Carlotta Walls LaNier will be the keynote speaker for the annual University at Albany Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration. LaNier is the youngest member of the Little Rock Nine, a group of Black students who worked to integrate Little Rock High School over the objections of segregationist Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus-- a landmark event of the Civil Rights Movement. She is also the author (with Lisa Frazier Page) of A Mighty Long Way: My Journey to Justice at Little Rock Central High School (2009). President Bill Clinton, who wrote the Foreword, called it a "wonderful book.... a story we all need to know."

February 4: Jennifer Verdolin, animal behavior scientist
Reading/discussion -- 8:00 pm, UAlbany Campus Center Room 375
Jennifer Verdolin, behavioral scientist, applies her knowledge of animal courtship and mating behaviors to human relationships. Her book on the subject, Wild Connection (2014), grows out of her same-titled blog for Psychology Today. Her work has appeared in National Geographic, The Smithsonian, and on NPR's "All Things Considered."

February 11: New York State Author and Poet Awards and Reading: Edmund White and Yusef Komunyakaa
Inauguration Ceremony and Reading -- 8:00 pm, Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue, Downtown Campus
Edmund White is America's leading author on Gay life. He is best known for his trilogy of autobiographical novels: A Boy's Own Story (1982), The Beautiful Room Is Empty (1988), and The Farewell Symphony (1997). Other novels include The Married Man (2000), Hotel de Dream (2007), and Jack Holmes and His Friends (2013). Dave Eggers praised White as "one of the three or four most virtuosic living writers of sentences in the English language." White is a member of both the American Academies of Arts and Letters, and Arts and Sciences.

Yusef Komunyakaa is the author of more than a dozen books of poetry, including Dien Cai Dau (1988), about his experiences in Vietnam; and Neon Vernacular (1993), winner of the Pulitzer Prize. He received the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize for "extraordinary lifetime accomplishments" in 2001 and the 2011 Wallace Stevens Award of the Academy of American Poets. Other works include Thieves of Paradise (1998), Talking Dirty to the Gods (2000), and The Chameleon Couch (2011), all finalists for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and The Emperor of Water Clocks (2015). The Washington Post Book World said "He enlarges our idea of what poetry is...." (Photo: Tom Wallace)

February 16: Randall Horton and Jacqueline Jones LaMon, poets
Seminar -- 4:15 pm, Standish Room, Science Library
Reading -- 7:00 pm, University Art Museum, Fine Arts Building

Randall Horton, author of the poetry collections Pitch Dark Anarchy (2013) and The Definition of Place (2006), is the recipient of the Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Award and the Bea González Poetry Prize. His memoir, Hook (2015), explores his downward spiral from student to drug addict, cocaine smuggler, and incarcerated felon. Upon release from prison Horton earned a Ph.D. in English at UAlbany.

Jacqueline Jones LaMon is the author of the poetry collections Last Seen (2011), winner of the Felix Pollak Poetry Prize, and Gravity, U.S.A. (2006), winner of the Quercus Review Poetry Series Award. She is the new president of Cave Canem, America's leading Black poetry organization, committed to cultivating the artistic and professional growth of Black poets.

February 18: Sherwin Bitsui, poet
Reading -- 4:15 pm, Standish Room, Science Library, UAlbany uptown campus
Sherwin Bitsui, a Diné (Navajo) from the Navajo Reservation in White Cone, Arizona, is the author of the poetry collections Shapeshift (2003) and Flood Song (2009), described by Publishers Weekly as "a powerful collection from a promising poet." Steeped in Navajo mythology and history, his work explores collisions between Native American culture and contemporary American life. His prizes include the Whiting Writers' Award, American Book Award, PEN Open Book Award, and Lannan Literary Fellowship.

February 23: Jon Krakauer, journalist and mountaineer
Seminar -- 4:15 pm, Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center
Reading -- 8:00 pm, Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue, Downtown Campus

Jon Krakauer, one of America's biggest-selling authors of outdoor adventure nonfiction, is renowned for work that explores lives lived "on the edge." His books include the bestsellers Into the Wild (1996); Into Thin Air (1997), a personal account of a fateful climb of Mt. Everest; and Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman (2009), about the NFL football player killed in the War in Afghanistan. Krakauer's new book is Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town (2015), about a series of rapes that occurred in Missoula over a four-year period. The Los Angeles Times said, "Krakauer's investigation will succeed in altering the conversation around sexual violence."

February 26: Missing People: Film screening and commentary by film director David Shapiro
7:00 pm, Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue, Downtown Campus
MISSING PEOPLE is a nonfiction mystery about a woman who investigates her brother's long unsolved murder. In the process she collects and researches the violent work and life of an artist from New Orleans. The film won the Best Documentary Award at the Hamptons International Film Festival.

David Shapiro, filmmaker, artist, and UAlbany graduate, directed the acclaimed 2000 documentary KEEP THE RIVER ON YOUR RIGHT: A MODERN CANNIBAL TALE, winner of many major film festival awards.

Seminar: David Shapiro will hold an afternoon seminar on documentary filmmaking and art on Friday, February 26 at 4:15 pm in the University Art Museum, Fine Arts Building, on the UAlbany Uptown Campus.

March 3: Stephen Adly Guirgis, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright
Seminar -- 4:15 pm, Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center
Reading -- 8:00 pm, Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center

Stephen Adly Guirgis, a graduate of UAlbany's Theatre Department, won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for drama for his play Between Riverside and Crazy. The Pulitzer Committee called it "a nuanced, beautifully written play... that uses dark comedy to confront questions of life and death." His other plays include Jesus Hopped the A Train (2000), which received Edinburgh's Fringe Festival Award, and Our Lady of 121st Street (2003), which Variety said "confirms Guirgis [as] an exciting talent with a gift for raw but rich dialogue and an entertaining ability to find the absurd humor in emotional extremis." A member of the LAByrinth Theatre Company, Guirgis has worked with director and actor Philip Seymour Hoffman and playwright John Patrick Shanley.

March 10: Robert M. Dowling, Eugene O'Neill scholar and biographer
Reading -- 8:00 pm, Huxley Theatre, NYS Museum, Cultural Education Center, Albany
Robert M. Dowling is the author of the critically acclaimed biography Eugene O'Neill: A Life in Four Acts (2014), a Los Angeles Times Book Prize Finalist, and Publishers Weekly "Top Ten Pick" for Literary Biography. The Irish Times called it "Fast-paced, highly readable...a powerful narrative, with a fresh perspective." The author of the two-volume Critical Companion to Eugene O'Neill (2009), Dowling also serves on the boards of The Eugene O'Neill Review and the Eugene O'Neill Society.

March 21: Charles Duhigg, Pulitzer Prize-winning business writer
Reading -- 8:00 pm, Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue, Downtown Campus
Charles Duhigg is an award-winning investigative reporter for the New York Times and author of the bestselling book The Power of Habit (2012) about the science of habit formation in our lives, companies, and societies. Duhigg's New York Times series on Apple's manufacturing practices, "iEconomy," won the Pulitzer Prize for explanatory reporting in 2013. His new book is Smarter, Faster, Better (2016), which explores the science of productivity. Winner of the National Academies of Science, and the National Journalism awards, Duhigg is a frequent contributor to PBS News Hour, Dr. Oz, and NPR's "This American Life."

March 31: David Gelernter, computer scientist and theorist, and author
Seminar -- 4:15 pm, Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center
Reading -- 8:00 pm, Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center

David Gerlernter, a "rock star" (New York Times) in the computer world, is an expert in the fields of parallel computing, "mirror worlds," artificial intelligence, and cognitive thinking. His new book is The Tides of Mind (2016), a revolutionary explanation of the phenomenon of human consciousness. Other books include The Muse in the Machine (1994), about teaching computers to experience emotion and write poetry, and Mirror Worlds (1991), a prophetic work that predicted the rise of the Internet. In 1993 Gelernter was a victim of a mail bomb sent by the "Unabomber," an experience he recounts in Drawing Life: Surviving the Unabomber (1997).

April 8: Evolution of a Criminal: Film screening and discussion with director Darius Clark Monroe
7:00 pm, Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue, Downtown Campus
Ten years after robbing a bank, filmmaker Darius Clark Monroe takes a personal look at how his actions affected the lives of family, friends, and victims. Screened at over 100 international film festivals, the film received numerous awards including the IDA Emerging Filmmaker Award. The New Yorker said "its images, its shape, its tone, and its implications make it a terrific movie, as well as the birth of an artist."

Darius Clark Monroe was named one of Filmmaker Magazine's "25 New Faces of Independent Film" and "10 Filmmakers to Watch" by The Independent.

April 13: Steven Millhauser, Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist and short story writer
Reading and McKinney Writing Contest Awards -- 8:00 pm, Biotech Auditorium, Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies Building, Rensselaer (RPI), Troy
Steven Millhauser, author of four novels and nine short fiction collections, received the Pulitzer Prize for his 1996 novel Martin Dressler: The Tale of an American Dreamer, about a young entrepreneur in turn-of-the-century New York City. Kirkus Review called the book "A fascinating and provocative portrayal of America that hums with energy and wit." His new book is the story collection Voices in the Night (2015), which the Boston Globe called "Masterful . . . intriguing and disturbingly intoxicating."

April 15: Sheri Fink, award-winning journalist and nonfiction author
Keynote Speaker, Disasters, Ethics, and Social Justice Conference -- 12:30 pm, Ballroom, Campus Center
Sheri Fink, New York Times correspondent, is the author of the bestselling book Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital (2013), about choices made in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The New York Review of Books called it "A stunning feat of journalism." The book won the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. In 2015, Fink and her colleagues received the Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting for coverage of the West Africa Ebola Crisis.

April 18: Pam MacKinnon, Tony Award-winning theatre director
Seminar -- 4:15 pm, Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center
The Burian Lecture -- 8:00 pm, Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center
Pam MacKinnon, theatre director, received the 2013 Tony Award for Best Direction for the 50th Anniversary Broadway revival of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Charles Isherwood of the New York Times praised it for "superlative staging" and "the exhilaration of a fresh encounter with a great work of theater revitalized anew." Widely hailed as a leading interpreter of Edward Albee's work, MacKinnon also helmed the Broadway revival of Albee's A Delicate Balance (2014-15).

April 21: Laura van den Berg, short story writer and novelist
Seminar -- 4:15 pm, Standish Room, Science Library
Reading -- 8:00 pm, Huxley Theatre, NYS Museum, Cultural Education Center, Albany
Laura van den Berg is the author of two story collections, What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us (2009), a Barnes & Noble "Discover Great New Writers" selection, and The Isle of Youth (2013), which was named a "Best Book of 2013" by more than a dozen venues. Her debut novel is Find Me (2015), set in a post-apocalyptic America beset by a plague that erases memory. The Los Angeles Times praised the book for its "radiant prose....," and said, "Laura van den Berg has invented something beautiful indeed."

April 29: Colm Tóibín, Irish fiction and nonfiction writer and journalist
Reading -- 4:15 pm, Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center
Colm Tóibín is one of Ireland's foremost living novelists and journalists. His novels include The Master (2004), winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Award; and The Blackwater Lightship (1999) and The Testament of Mary (2012), both shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. His newest novel is Nora Webster (2014), which Darin Strauss in the Los Angeles Times said "may actually be a perfect work of fiction...There is no pyrotechny in the writing - just compassion and shrewd insight...which is where Tóibín's brilliance lies."

Film screening of BROOKLYN with commentary by Colm Tóibín -- 7:00 pm [Note early start time], Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue, Downtown Campus
BROOKLYN, a hit independent film based on Colm Tóibín's 2009 same-titled novel, tells the tale of a young Irish woman who emigrates to Brooklyn, where she must choose between two countries and her life in each. The Hollywood Reporter said, "Tóibín's superior novel...has been turned into a beautiful and moving film." The film stars Saoirse Ronan, whose performance in BROOKLYN earned her a 2016 Screen Actors Guild nomination for best female actor in a leading role.

May 6: Richard Russo, Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist
Reading -- 8:00 pm, Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue, Downtown Campus
Richard Russo, born in Johnstown and raised in Gloversville, is celebrated for work that fictionalizes small town life. Publishers Weekly has said "when it comes to evoking the cherished hopes and dreams of ordinary people, Russo is unsurpassed." His novels include That Old Cape Magic (2009), Empire Falls (2001), which received the Pulitzer Prize, and Nobody's Fool (1993), which was made into a 1994 film starring Paul Newman. His eighth novel, Everybody's Fool, a sequel to Nobody's Fool, will be released in May 2016.

Comments

Find Me was so very very good.

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