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New York State Writers Institute announces speakers, films

New York State Writers Institute announces speakers, films

Spring season opens with a tribute to the late author Toni Morrison
New York State Writers Institute announces speakers, films
The author Toni Morrison lectures at the Louvre in Paris on Nov. 10, 2006.
Photographer: (Ed Alcock/The New York Times)

The New York State Writers Institute’s spring season opens with a tribute to the late author Toni Morrison and continues with presentations by the likes of Ryan Russell, the first openly LGBTQ player in the NFL, and Colson Whitehead, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author. 

On Friday, Jan. 24, there will be a screening of “The Pieces I Am,” a film about Morrison’s life featuring interviews with the author as well as Angela Davis, Oprah Winfrey, Walter Mosley and others. 

Morrison was not only a Nobel laureate but a professor at UAlbany and worked in the Writer’s Institute office during its earlier days. While at UAlbany, she penned “Beloved” and premiered her first play “Dreaming Emmett.” 

Following that tribute, the season offers up a wide range of cultural and socio-political events. As a part of the Creative Life series, Pulitzer-prize-winning author Jhumpa Lahiri will be at the Performing Arts Center at UAlbany on Thursday,  Jan. 30, in conversation with WAMC’s Joe Donahue. Lahiri is known for her novels surrounding the East Indian American immigrant experience. Recently, she moved to Italy and has turned her attention to the Italian language, editing and publishing “The Penguin Book of Italian Short Stories.” Her other works include “The Lowland,” “Unaccustomed Earth,” “The Namesake” and “Interpreter of Maladies.”

One of the leading cultural writers of this era, Jerry Saltz, will speak about his forthcoming book “How to be an Artist,” with Donahue on Tuesday, March 24. Saltz has been a senior art critic and columnist for New York Magazine since 2006 and received the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism in 2018. 

As part of the Writing Life and Health series, Sandeep Jauhar will discuss his book “Heart: A History.” There will also be a Latinidades at the Writers Institute series, headlined by author and essayist Valeria Luiselli.

The Institute will also feature a Classic Film Series, with free screenings of films such as “The Seagull,” “I Like It Like That,” “Motherless Brooklyn” and others. The series culminates with the Albany Film Festival on March 28. 

Some other authors and presenters on the spring season line-up are Scott Simon, a longtime host of NPR’s “Weekend Edition”; Lisa Kron, a Tony Award-winning playwright; Sister Helen Prejean, a death penalty activist and nun; Andy Greenberg, a cybersecurity expert; Leymah Gbowee, a Liberian peace activist and Nobel laureate; and Nadina LaSpina, a disability rights activist and author.

These events are free unless otherwise noted. For more info visit nyswritersinstitute.org. 

The schedule:

  • Fri., Jan. 24: Film screening of “The Pieces I Am,” at 7 p.m. at Page Hall, 135 Western Ave.
  • Thu., Jan. 30: Conversation with WAMC’s Joe Donahue and Jhumpa Lahiri, author of “The Penguin Book of Italian Short Stories,” at 7 p.m. in the Recital Hall of the Performing Arts Center.
  • Mon., Feb. 3: Sandeep Jauhar discusses his book “Heart: A History,” at 4:15 p.m. in the Multi-Purpose Room at the Campus Center West Addition and at 7:30 p.m. at Page Hall. 
  • Tue., Feb. 4: Ryan Russell will discuss his book of poetry “Prison or Passion” at 8 p.m. in the Campus Center Ballroom. 
  • Thu., Feb. 6: Wesley Yang, a journalist and essayist, will discuss “The Souls of Yellow Folk,” which delves into biases that Asian Americans face. He will present at 4:15 p.m. in the Standish Room of the Science Library and at 7:30 p.m. in the Multi-Purpose Room, Campus Center West Addition. 
  • Fri., Feb. 7: Film screening of “The Seagull” at 7:30 p.m. at Page Hall
  • Thu., Feb. 13: Damon Young, a journalist and humorist, will discuss his book “What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Blacker,” at 4:15 p.m. in the Multi-Purpose Room, Campus Center West Addition and at 7:30 p.m. at the Campus Center West Auditorium. 
  • Fri., Feb. 14: Film screening of “I Like It Like That,” at 7:30 p.m. at Page Hall. 
  • Wed., Feb. 19: Rick Reilly, a sportswriter and author, will discuss his book “Commander in Cheat,” at 7:30 p.m. at Page Hall. 
  • Thu., Feb. 20: Mahogany Browne, a poet, writer, activist and educator, will present at 7:30 p.m. at the Huxley Theatre, NYS Museum, Cultural Education Center (222 Madison Ave.) and on Fri. Feb. 21 at 6 p.m. at the Hudson Area Library (51 N. 5th St. Hudson). 
  • Fri., Feb. 21: Film screening of “Motherless Brooklyn,” at 7 p.m. at Page Hall
  • Thu., Feb. 27: Yolanda Caraway and Minyon Moore, political strategists and organizers, will present at 4:15 p.m. in the Standish Room, Science Library, and at 7:30 p.m. in the Campus Center Ballroom.
  • Fri., Feb. 28: Film screening of “Do the Right Thing,” at 7:30 p.m. at Page Hall
  • Tue., Mar. 3: Jennifer Block, a healthcare journalist and author of “Everything Below the Waist: Why Women’s Health Care Needs a Feminist Revolution,” will discuss women’s health with fiction author Elisa Albert at 4:15 p.m. in the Multi-Purpose Room of the Campus Center West Addition and 7:30 p.m. at the Huxley Theatre, NYS Museum, Cultural Education Center. 
  • Fri., Mar. 6: Film screening of “Wild Style” at 7 p.m. at Page Hall. 
  • Mon., Mar. 9: Lisa Kron, a Tony Award-Winning playwright and actress will present at 7:30 p.m. at the Campus Center West Auditorium. 
  • Tue., Mar. 10: Scott Simon, “Weekend Edition” host and author, will discuss his forthcoming book “Sunnyside Plaza,” at 4:15 p.m. in the Standish Room of the Science Library and at 7:30 p.m. at Page Hall. 
  • Fri., Mar. 13: Film screening of “The Irishman” at 6:30 p.m. at Page Hall.
  • Mon., Mar. 23: Sister Helen Prejean, a death penalty activist and nun will present at 4:15 p.m. in the Standish Room of the Science Library and at 7:30 p.m. at Page Hall. 
  • Tue., Mar. 24: Jerry Saltz, Pulitzer Prize-winning art critic will host a book signing and reception at 6 p.m. at the University Art Museum and at 7 p.m. will be in conversation with Joe Donahue at the Campus Center West Auditorium. 
  • Tue., Mar. 31: “Eddie’s Perejil,” a solo play written and performed by Edward Paulino will kick off at 7:30 p.m. in the Main Theatre of the Performing Arts Center. It will be followed by a Q&A with Paulino and director Samantha Galarza. 
  • Thu., Apr. 2: Jerome Charyn, who wrote “The Perilous Adventures of Cowboy King,” will be in conversation with Paul Grondahl at 7:30 p.m. at the Huxley Theatre, NYS Museum, Cultural Education Center.
  • Fri. Apr. 3: Film screening of “Purgatorio: A Journey into the Heart of the Border,” at 7:30 p.m. at Page Hall. 
  • Mon., Apr. 6: Staged reading of “Interstate” with equity actors and UAlbany students followed by a Q&A with playwright Amina Henry and director Sarah Blush at 7:30 p.m. in the Arena Theatre of the Performing Arts Center. 
  • Mon., Apr. 13: Colson Whitehead, author of “The Nickel Boys” and “The Underground Railroad” will present at 8 p.m. in the CBIS Auditorium in the Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies Building, Rensselaer.
  • Tue., Apr. 14: Andy Greenberg, a cyberwar expert, will discuss his book “Sandworm: A New Era of Cyberwar and the Hunt for the Kremlin’s Most Dangerous Hackers,” at 4:15 p.m. in the Standish Room in the Science Library and at 7:30 p.m. at Page Hall.
  • Wed., Apr. 15: Leymah Gbowee, a Liberian peace activist and Nobel laureate, will present at noon, location to be determined.
  • Fri., Apr. 17: Nadina LaSpina, a disability rights activist and author, will present at the Disability Resource Center Awards from 3-5 p.m. in the Campus Center Assembly Hall and at 7:30 p.m. at the Huxley Theatre, NYS Museum, Cultural Education Center.
  • Wed., Apr. 22: Valeria Luiselli, author of “Lost Children Archives,” will give a talk at 4:15 p.m. in the Standish Room at the Science Library and will present at 7:30 p.m. at the Capital District LATINOS Fellowship Hall, 160 Central Ave., Albany.
  • Thu., Apr. 23: Psychologist and author B. Janet Hibbs will discuss her book “The Stressed Years of Their Lives: Helping Your Kid Survive and Thrive During Their College Years,” will hold a Q&A at 4:15 p.m. in the Multi-Purpose Room at the Campus Center West Addition, and a presentation at 7:30 p.m. at the Campus Center West Auditorium.
  • Fri., Apr. 24: Zine Festival from 1-3 p.m. at Captain District LATINOS.
  • Fri., Apr. 24: Film screening of “Baby Face” at 7:30 p.m. at Page Hall.
  • Wed., Apr. 29: Author Louise Aronson will present on her book “Elderhood: Redefining Aging, Transforming Medicine, Reimaging Life,” at 10 a.m. at the Carondelet Hospitality Center (385 Watervliet Shaker Rd, Latham), registration is required, and at 4:15 p.m. in the Multi-Purpose Room at the Campus Center West Addition.
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