The New York State Writers Institute is getting two large gifts for its future

NYS Writers Institute offices

Many of the walls in the offices of the NYS Writers Institute in the Science Library on UAlbany's uptown campus are covered with posters touting appearances from the history of the visiting writers series. It's a remarkable a list of well-known and notable authors.

The New York State Writers Institute announced this week that it's received two large financial contributions from UAlbany alumni that will allow it to continue and expand its events.

Gregory Maguire -- the author of Wicked, an Albany native, and 1976 UAlbany grad -- is giving the institute $500,000. The The Maguire Family Endowment will support the institute's hosting of writers. And it says the gift will also allow it to grow the Albany Book Festival.

Marc Guggenheim -- a screenwriter, author, co-creator of the TV show Green Arrow, and 1992 UAlbany grad -- has pledged $100,000 to the NYSWI Classic Film Series endowment.

The Writers Institute is one of the area's most prominent and important cultural institutions. And it's been going through some big changes over the past year.

Paul Grondahl took over as director, and with assistant director Mark Koplik they've been working to widen the field of writers brought in as part the popular visiting writers series. The institute staged the first Albany Book Festival, which included a ton of high-profile authors and drew thousands of people. The institute also honored William Kennedy, who founded the institute with money from his MacArthur "genius" grant, for his 90th birthday. It also made day-to-day changes, like launching a new website.

And, as Grondahl told us earlier this year, part of laying the groundwork for these transitions and the future of the institute is finding the funding to keep it all afloat. These gifts sounds like an important step toward that goal.

Earlier: Here's how the NYS Writers Institute gets all those great authors to visit

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