Orlean, Russo lead Writers Institute lineup

Author of "The Orchid Thief" to speak on March 1
Susan Orlean and Richard Russo
Susan Orlean and Richard Russo

Authors, artists and academics from near and far are coming to visit The New York State Writers Institute this spring. 

Susan Orlean, the author of “The Orchid Thief” and more recently, “The Library Book,” is on the roster, as well as T.C. Boyle, Mike Reiss, Samuel Delany, Richard Russo and many others.  

The Institute’s 2019 season kicks off on Jan. 24 with a celebration of the University at Albany’s 175th Anniversary. Neuroscientist and author Steven Pinker will deliver a keynote speech starting at 7:30 p.m. at Page Hall (135 Western Avenue). Pinker’s latest book, “Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress” argues that there is a place for science in a climate of anti-intellectualism.

Orlean will visit a bit later in the season on Friday, Mar. 1 for a conversation with WAMC’s Joe Donahue at the Recital Hall in the Performing Arts Center at the University at Albany. Boyle, author of “World’s End” and the forthcoming book “Outside Looking In,” will appear on  Friday, Apr. 5, along with author Mark Berger at Page Hall. Russo, a Gloversville native and author of “Empire Falls” and most recently “The Destiny Thief: Essays on Writing, Writers and Life,” is slated to visit the CBIS Auditorium at RPI on  Wednesday, Apr. 3. 

Young adult author Ibi Zoboi, a National Book Award finalist, will visit on Tuesday, Feb. 5. Mike Reiss, a writer, producer and showrunner of “The Simpsons,” is scheduled to visit on Friday, Feb. 8. Samuel Delany, a prominent science fiction author, will visit on Thursday, Feb. 21. Pamela Paul, the editor of the New York Times Book Review, will discuss her book “My Life with Bob: Flawed Heroine Keeps Book of Books, Plot Ensues,” on Tuesday, Apr. 9. 

Roger McNamee, an Albany native, will visit on Thursday, Mar. 7 to discuss his book, “Zucked: The Education of an Unlikely Activist.” Charlayne Woodard, an actress and Albany High School graduate, will visit on Monday, Feb. 4. 

A panel discussion of singer-songwriters Taina Asili, Michael Eck, Greg Haynes, and Bryan Thomas will take place on Friday, Apr. 26. Prior to that, there will be a panel discussion on The Lessons of Hurricane Maria on Monday, Jan. 28. 
There will also be other scholars and journalists visiting throughout the season, including Dan-El Padilla Peralta, author of “Undocumented: A Dominican Boy’s Odyssey from a Homeless Shelter to the Ivy League,” on Thursday, Mar. 14, Sarah Kessler, author of “The Gig Economy,” on Wednesday, Mar. 27, Ed Young, author of “I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life,” on Tuesday, Feb. 19 and Rev. Dr. William Barber II “Revive Us Again,” on Wednesday, Feb. 13.

A selection of films is also a part of the schedule, including “Water” on Friday, January 25, “City of Life and Death,” on Friday, Feb. 1, “The Golden Dream” on Friday, Feb. 15, “Dark Money,” on Friday, Feb. 22, “She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry,” on Friday, Mar. 8 and “Restrepo” on Friday, Apr. 12, “The Rights of Nature,” on Apr. 22 and “Won’t You Be My Neighbor” on Friday, May 3. 

 The season wraps up on Saturday, May 4 with “Selected Shorts,” a series of stories by emerging writers that are performed on stage. The events are free and take place at the University at Albany’s Uptown campus unless otherwise specified. For the full schedule of events and author appearances, visit nyswritersinstitute.org

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