Real Good for Free: The New York State Writers Institute’s Spring Schedules of Readings and Films

The New York State Writers Institute has announced its schedule of readings and film screenings for the spring session. All events are free and open to the public (except for American Place Theatre’s production of “The Kite Runner”). All events take place on the University of Albany campus unless otherwise noted. Here’s the complete line-up of events:

Alan Lightman, novelist and science writer
Thursday, February 2
Seminar — 4:15pm, Campus Center Assembly Hall
Reading — 8pm, Campus Center Assembly Hall
The theoretical physicist, best-selling author and explorer of the intersection between the sciences and the humanities reads from his most recent book, “Mr. g: A Novel About the Creation.”

“Slavery by Another Name”
Friday, February 3
Film screening and commentary — 7pm, Peforming Arts Center’s Recital Hall
Director Samuel Pollard’s film is based on Douglas A. Blackmon’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book about the abuse of black laborers in the United States from the end of the Civil War through the middle of the 20th century. Douglas A. Blackmon and Sheila Curran Bernard, who wrote the film, will participate in a Q&A session following the screening.

Teju Cole, novelist and street photographer
Friday, February 10
Seminar — 4:15pm, Campus Center Assembly Hall
Reading — 8pm, Performing Arts Center’s Recital Hall
Born in the US, Raised in Nigeria and returned to the U.S in 1992 at the age of 17, Cole reads from his acclaimed debut novel “Open City,” the story of a young Nigerian-German psychiatrist who wanders the streets of Manhattan exploring the city’s landscapes, people and his own feelings of isolation.

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Adam Johnson, novelist
Tuesday, February 14
Seminar — 4:15pm, Campus Center Assembly Hall
Reading — 8pm, Campus Center Assembly Hall
The award-winning writer reads from his latest book “The Orphan Master’s Son,” a novel set in North Korea that brings to life its prison camps, orphanages, economic misery, routine corruption, and palaces of the bureaucratic elite.

“Honeydripper”
Friday, February 17
Film screening — 7:30pm, Performing Arts Center’s Recital Hall
Director John Sayles’ 2007 musical fable about the death of the blues and the dawn of rock & roll set in a rural Black community and an Alabama roadhouse that is losing its customers to a rival business. Starring Danny Glover, Lisa Gay Hamilton, Yaya DaCosta, Charles S. Dutton.

Michio Kaku, physicist and author
Tuesday, February 21
Reading — 8pm, Campus Center Ballroom
The theoretical physicist, co-founder of “string field theory,” best-selling writer and influential futurist will read from his latest book, “Physics of the Future: How Science Will Shape Human Destiny and Our Daily Lives by the Year 2100.”

“Amigo”
Friday, February 24
Film screening — 7:30pm, Performing Arts Center’s Recital Hall
Director John Sayles examines the predicament of a Filipino village mayor caught between the demands of U.S. occupying forces and the guerrilla insurgency during the Philippine-American War. Starring Joel Torre, Chris Cooper, Ronnie Lazaro.

John Sayles, film director, screenwriter and novelist
Monday, February 27
Seminar — 4:15pm, Campus Center Assembly Hall
Reading — 8pm, Performing Arts Center’s Recital Hall
The Schenectady native and award-winning director of such films as “Matewan,” “Eight Men Out” and “Lone Star” reads from his latest novel, “A Moment in the Sun,” covering many of the events of 1987 and the dawn of U.S. interventionism in world affairs.

Shalom Auslander, fiction writer and memoirist
Thursday, March 1
Seminar — 4:15pm, Science Library’s Standish Room
Reading — 8pm, Science Library’s Standish Room
The humorist and contributor to NPR’s “This American Life” reads from his new debut novel, “Hope: A Tragedy,” which tells the story of a troubled man who discovers an old woman who claims to be Anne Frank living in the attic of his upstate New York home.

“Electric Edwardians: The Films of Mitchell & Kenyon”
Friday, March 2
Film screening — 7:30pm, Page Hall
Directed by Sagar Mitchell and James Kenyon. Set to a modern soundtrack, this compilation of recently rediscovered silent film footage from the earliest days of filmmaking (1900–1913) offers, in the words of Dave Kehr of The New York Times, “An amazingly clear window into a horse-drawn society … a unique, hypnotically involving film.”

Masha Gessen, Russian-American journalist
Thursday, March 8
Seminar — 4:15pm, Science Library’s Standish Room
Reading — 8pm, Performing Arts Center’s Recital Hall
The Moscow-based journalist reads from her new biography, “The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin.”

Margot Livesey, fiction writer; and Jo Page, fiction and nonfiction writer
Tuesday, March 20
Seminar — 4:15pm, Campus Center Assembly Hall
Reading — 7:30pm, Albany Public Library
The Scottish-born Livesey reads from “The Flight of Gemma Hardy,” a modern-day retelling of Charlotte Brontë’s “Jane Eyre.” Page is a memoirist and novelist, as well as a regular columnist for Metroland.

John Matteson, biographer
Thursday, March 22
Seminar — 4:15pm, Campus Center Assembly Hall
Reading — 8pm, New York State Museum’s Huxley Theatre
The Pulitzer Prize-winning author reads from his new biography, “The Lives of Margaret Fuller,” a portrait of the fiery 19th century social critic who was the most famous American woman of her time.

Robert Nickas, art critic and curator
Monday, March 26
Reading — 7pm, University Art Museum
The contemporary art curator and founder of the art magazine index reads from his recent book, “Catalog of the Exhibition,” a retrospective of his exhibitions from 1985 to 2011.

Lauren Groff, novelist and short story writer
Tuesday, March 27
Seminar — 4:15pm, Campus Center Assembly Hall
Reading — 8pm, Campus Center Assembly Hall
Groff reads from her new sophomore novel, “Arcadia,” the story of a Utopian community in upstate New York that falls apart.

“Daddy Long Legs”
Friday, March 30
Film screening — 7:30pm, Page Hall
Director Marshall Neilan’s 1919 rags-to-riches tale starring Mary Pickford as an orphan girl whose life is changed by an anonymous benefactor.

Joseph Lelyveld, journalist, nonfiction author and editor
Tuesday, April 3
Seminar — 4:15pm, Science Library’s Standish Room
Reading — 8pm, Performing Arts Center’s Recital Hall
The Pulitzer Prize-winning author and veteran journalist at The New York Times for nearly 40 years (and as executive editor from 1994-2001) reads from his most recent book, “Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi and His Struggle with India.”

Ghassan Zaqtan, Palestinian poet; with Fady Joudah, poet and translator
Tuesday, April 10
Seminar — 4:15pm, Science Library’s Standish Room
Reading — 8pm, Science Library’s Standish Room
The poet, novelist, journalist, screenwriter and playwright reads from his new collection — the first to appear in English — “Like a Straw Bird It Follows Me,” translated by award-winning Palestinian-American poet Joudah.

“Faust”
Friday, April 13
Film Screening — 7:30pm, Page Hall
F.W. Murnau’s 1926 classic is one of the great achievements of German silent cinema, and replete with astonishing special effects. Emil Jannings stars as the devil Mephisto.

Anne Enright, fiction writer
Wednesday, April 18
Reading and McKinney Award Ceremony — 8pm, RPI’s Biotech Auditorium, Troy
The award-winning winning Irish fiction writer reads from her recent novel, “The Forgotten Waltz,” a story of desire, the sudden drama of everyday life and the volatile connection between people.

American Place Theatre performs “The Kite Runner”
Wednesday, April 18
Performance — 7:30pm, Performing Arts Center’s Recital Hall
Pre-performance discussion at 7 p.m.
A one-man theatrical adaptation of the first half of Khaled Hosseini’s best-selling novel, “The Kite Runner,” which portrays the doomed relationship between two boys growing up in Afghanistan — one a privileged Pashtun, the other a Hazara servant—in a society of severe class division and political turmoil. $15; seniors $12; students $10.

“Bed and Sofa”
Friday, April 20
Film Screening — 7:30pm, Page Hall
Russian director Abram Room’s 1927 silent film with musical accompaniment explores the upheaval of social and sexual norms during the early days of Soviet Communism.

“Erotikon”
Friday, April 27
Film screening — 7:30pm, Page Hall
Swedish director Mauritz Stiller’s 1920 silent film with live musical accompaniment by pianist Mike Schiffer is a pioneering sex comedy in which an entomologist who specializes in the sex life of bugs becomes infatuated with his own niece, while his wife embarks on extramarital affairs with a dashing aviator and a brooding sculptor.

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