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The NYS Writers Institute’s 3rd Annual Albany Book Festival will be held September 10th through the 24th with all events taking place online, free, and open to the public.

The festival will feature engrossing conversations with amazing featured authors, including National Book Award winner Colum McCann; National Book Award finalist Edwidge Danticat; Noam Chomsky, one of the most cited scholars in modern history; Sister Helen Prejean, author of "Dead Man Walking;" and many more.

This year’s lineup reinforces the institute’s commitment to diversity and inclusion and offering voices across the spectrum. The Virtual Writers Institute will present their fall programming online on the NYS Writers Institute’s YouTube channel and at albanybookfestival.com.

To tell us more, we welcome Writers Institute Director Paul Grondahl.

John Waters is an iconic filmmaker, actor, and author whose credits include "Pink Flamingos," "Hairspray," "Crybaby," "A Dirty Shame" and best selling books including "Role Models, and "Carsick."

His new book is just out in paperback. It's called "Mr. Know-It-All." It's a collection of essays where Waters reflects on everything from overcoming unexpected respectability to becoming a rebel in the autumn of your years.

Elizabeth George is one of the most acclaimed mystery writers of the last two decades. The books in her Inspector Lindley series are mainstays on bestseller lists across the country, with each installment garnering rave reviews, an incredible feat for an American writer tackling British crime fiction.

Her ability to create characters who grow and evolve over two dozen novels develop scenes that take readers into a picture ask English setting and construct intricate plot twists that make her novels the definition of a page turner that has cemented her as one of the great crime novelists writing today at events Elizabeth George is often asked: "How do you do it?"

So, in her new book, "Mastering the Process: From Idea to Novel," she shares her method to creating one of the most beloved mystery series ever written.

Joe Donahue: Emily St. John Mandel is the award winning author of “Station 11”. Her new novel, “The Glass Hotel” is set at the glittering intersection of two seemingly disparate events, a massive Ponzi scheme collapse and the mysterious disappearance of a woman from a ship at sea. In the story of crisis and survival, Mandel takes readers through often hidden landscapes, campgrounds for the near homeless, underground electronica clubs, the business of international shipping service and luxury hotels, and life in a federal prison. “The Glass Hotel” is a portrait of greed and guilt, love and delusion, ghosts and unintended consequences and the infinite ways we search for meaning in our lives.

Welcome to the Book Show, a celebration of reading and writers, I'm Joe Donahue. Anne Tyler is one of America's very best living novelists, and one of the world's most loved. She has written 23 novels, sold more than 11 million copies. Her 20th book “A Spool of Blue Thread” was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. Her 11th, “Breathing Lessons” won the Pulitzer Prize. Her other bestsellers include “The Accidental Tourist”, “Say Maybe”, “Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant” and most recently, “Vinegar Girl” and “Clock Dance”.

The themes she continues to return to involve marriage, family dynamics, sibling relationships, growing old, and dying. She sets her stories where she lives in Baltimore, Maryland. Her latest titled “Redhead by the Side of the Road” is no exception. The novel focuses on routine-obsessed 44 year-old Micah Mortimer, whose life is about to be thrown out of whack. The novel is about misperception second chances and the sometimes elusive power of human connections. Again, the new novel is “Redhead by the Side of the Road” and it is a great thrill to welcome Anne Tyler to The Book Show.

James McBride is the author of the National Book Award winning "The Good Lord Bird" and the modern classic "The Color of Water." His new book is "Deacon King Kong," a wise and witty tale about what happens to the witnesses of a shooting. 

Amitava Kumar's "Every Day I Write the Book" features interviews with an array of writers whose distinct work offers inspiring examples for students and academics alike, the book's pages are full of practical advice about everything from how to write criticism to making use of a kitchen timer.

Amitava Kumar is Helen D. Lockwood Professor of English at Vassar College and the author of numerous books, including "Lunch with a Bigot;" "A Matter of Rats;" "Nobody Does the Right Thing," and "Immigrant, Montana: A Novel."

Lydia Davis is a writer whose originality, influence, and wit are beyond compare. Best known for her masterful short stories and translations, Davis’s gifts extend equally to her nonfiction. In “Essays One” Davis has, for the first time, gathered a selection of essays, commentaries, and lectures composed over the past five decades.

Being able to hold one’s head high and call oneself a writer is the goal of many a passionate storyteller. But how does one get published? And what happens after that? Critical or sales success (or being published again) is far from a foregone conclusion.

Courtney Maum is the author of the novels “Costalegre,” “Touch,” and “I’m Having So Much Fun Here Without You.” She brings her personal experience and input and insight from many other accomplished writers to her new book, “Before and After The Book Deal;” an all-inclusive guide for writers about how to navigate and, importantly, survive the publishing world.

With chapters like “Getting and Right” and “Getting it Out There” and down-to-Earth sub-headings like “Can I stay in my corporate job without losing my creative edge?” and “My book sales are sluggish - should I crawl under a rock and die?,” Maum peels back the gauzy romantic curtain of a working author’s life - and replaces it with clarity and detailed advice.

“Before and After The Book Deal: A Writer’s Guide to Finishing, Publishing, Promoting, and Surviving Your First Book” was published by Catapult earlier this month, and Maum will be at Oblong Books and Music in Rhinebeck, New York on Thursday, January 23 at 6 p.m.

Alison Lurie, who won the Pulitzer Prize for her novel, "Foreign Affairs," has published ten books of fiction, four works of non-fiction, and three collections of tales for children.

"Words and Worlds: From Autobiography to Zippers" gathers together her reflections on the writing life; fond recollections of inspiring friends; and perceptive, playful commentary on preoccupations ranging from children’s literature to fashion and feminism. Citing her husband’s comment to her that “Nobody asked you to write a novel,” Lurie goes on to eloquently explain why there was never another choice for her.

For 5 years, Trish Hall set the high standard for which opinion pieces ultimately landed on the New York Times Op-Ed page. Her new book is "Writing to Persuade: How to Bring People Over to Your Side" and in it she shares her wisdom and lays it out in terms easy to emulate.

As the person in charge of the Op-Ed page for the New York Times, Hall spent years immersed in argument, passion, and trendsetting ideas but also in tangled sentences, migraine-inducing jargon, and dull-as-dishwater writing.

In the book she draws on her vast experience and presents the ultimate guide to writing persuasively for students, job applicants, and rookie authors looking to get published.

Adam Rapp’s play “The Sound Inside” is currently in previews on Broadway produced by Jeffrey Richards and co-produced by Lincoln Center at Studio 54, directed by David Cromer. It stars Mary Louise Parker as Bella Lee Baird, a Creative Writing professor at Yale University, and Will Hochman as Christopher Dunn - one of her students. It had its world premiere production with the same cast and director at The Williamstown Theatre Festival in 2018.

Adam Rapp is an award-winning playwright and director. He is the author of numerous plays including “Red Light Winter” which was a Pulitzer Prize finalist. “The Sound Inside” is the first of his plays to be produced on Broadway.

In “The Sound Inside” Bella, 53, conducts her life in solitude and work. Early in the play, we find out she’s been diagnosed with aggressive stomach cancer. As a college freshman, Christopher Dunn is alienated by his peers and societal expectations. The two meet and connect over a shared interest in writing and the profound capability of literature to inspire.

It may be hard to believe, but this year marks the 10th annual Woodstock Bookfest and they will be busily igniting the conversation by bringing readers and writers together for a weekend of discussion and celebration.

Taking place from March 28–31, the festival hosts classes, panels, keynotes, Story Slams, parties and more, all in the unique surroundings of Woodstock.

Martha Frankel is the Executive Director of the Woodstock Bookfest and she joins us this morning along with award winning novelist, James Lasdun.

Susan Orlean’s latest bestseller, “The Library Book,” is an investigation into a 1986 fire at the Los Angeles Central Library that consumed 400,000 volumes and damaged another 700,000. In addition to shedding light on what happened, it is a celebration for an institution she’s cherished since she was a kid.

George Saunders is the author of eight books, including the story collections “Pastoralia” and “Tenth of December,” which was a finalist for the National Book Award. His first novel, “Lincoln in the Bardo,” was released last year and won the Man Book Prize.

The book visits the cemetery where President Abraham and First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln’s son, Willie, has just been entombed. The other characters are the less-recently dead who encourage the boy to cross over. “Lincoln in the Bardo” is an astonishing feat of imagination and a bold step forward from one of the most important and influential writers of his generation. 

Listener Essay - Taking Note

Jan 16, 2019
Bob Slack

Debbie Slack was honored to be a recipient of the 2018 Edwin Way Teale Artist in Residence at Trail Wood sponsored by the Connecticut Audubon Society.

Inspired by the residency, Debbie has been writing a series of essays which has expanded into a memoir titled "Trail Wood: A Love Story." Debbie is also focused on publishing her novel, "Margaret Mary and the Gutsy Girls." She is excited for their story to leave the comforts of home and venture out into the hearts of girls everywhere. Outside of writing, Debbie enjoys exploring nature with her husband, Bob, and their two Labradors.

~Taking Note~

This is the third time I visited Edwin Way Teale’s office at Trail Wood, in Hampton, Connecticut, however, it is the first time I arrived without my husband, Bob, and his camera. I am alone, prepared to work, to observe and take note. Previously I had arranged this appointment with Vern Pursley, the caretaker. His warm smile greets me and welcomes me into the home. Vern leaves the front door open and the breeze caresses the screen. Entering Edwin’s office, I gently set my backpack down and remove my paper and pens. Vern tells me to make myself at home and stepping away he says if I need anything to give him a shout. I can’t imagine shouting in this space. I can barely imagine sitting at Edwin’s desk and actually writing. The last time I stepped inside and sat down, I was in such a state that I trembled.

Sigrid Nunez’s novel, “The Friend,” is a moving story of love, friendship, grief, healing, and the magical bond between a woman and her dog. The book won this year's National Book Award for fiction.

Nunez’s previous novels include “Salvation City,” “The Last of Her Kind” and “A Feather on the Breath of God.”

wikipedia commons/Gustav.jg

Today on Vox Pop, songwriter Reggie Harris joins novelist and storyteller Barbara Chepaitis to answer your questions about songwriting and more. WAMC's Ray Graf hosts.

Nancy Pearl has worked as a librarian and a bookseller for more than three decades, she is regularly featured on NPR’s Morning Edition talking about her favorite books.

The author of several works on non-fiction, she has now written her first novel, George & Lizzie, an emotional novel about an unlikely marriage as a crossroads.

World-renowned writing teacher Natalie Goldberg’s new memoir, “Let the Whole Thundering World Come Home” shares her experience with cancer grounded in her practice of writing and Zen. It is a reflection on being in love with your life even when life brings illness.

Summer Writing Series Adds Advocacy Program For Teens

May 11, 2018
Courtesy of SUNY NP/Hudson Valley Writing Project

There is a new program in the lineup for the Hudson Valley Writing Project’s summer writing workshops. The aim is to support young people as they write about and advocate for issues that matter to them.

For many today, retirement and the leisure said to accompany it have become vestiges of a slower, long‑lost time. In a world where the sense of identity is tied to work and careers, to stop working often is to become nobody.

In this "Last Works: Lessons in Leaving," Mark C. Taylor explores the final reflections of writers and thinkers from Kierkegaard to David Foster Wallace. How did they either face or avoid ending and leaving? What do their lessons in ending teach us about living in the time that remains for us?

Mark C. Taylor is professor of religion at Columbia University and a frequent contributor to the New York Times and NPR.

David Goehring, flickr

The focus of today's program is writing. In the studio is novelist Barbara Chepaitis and poet Dan Wilcox. They are here to answer your questions about the process of creative writing. WAMC’s Ray Graf hosts.

old Smith Premier typewriter
Jon Sullivan / Public Domain

The focus of today's program is writing. In the studio is novelist Barbara Chepaitis. She is here to answer your questions about the process of creative writing. WAMC’s Ray Graf hosts.

Flickr

On today’s program, it’s a writers forum. In the studio are novelist Barbara Chepaitis and reviewer Steve Sawicki. They are here to answer your questions about the process of creative writing. WAMC’s Brian Shields hosts.

Colm Tóibín is the author of seven novels, his latest is House of Names. The book is his reimagining of one of the most famous Greek tragedies – the stories of Agamemnon, Clytemnestra, Iphigeneia, Electra, and Orestes.

Author Jim Shepard is the author of seven novels and four short story collections. He now has brought his amazing talents as a fiction writer with an intimate approach to real historical subjects to ten new short stories in his latest, The World to Come.

The new book includes powerful tales of courageous responsibility and criminal indifference set in the past and present.

Jonathan Lethem is the New York Times bestselling author of ten novels, including Dissident Gardens, The Fortress of Solitude, and Motherless Brooklyn; as well as several short story and essay collections.

He has a pair of new books - More Alive and Less Lonely is his collection of writing on writing.  He is also the co-editor of Shake It Up which spotlights landmark music writing.

Neil Gaiman has long been inspired by ancient mythology in creating the fantastical realms of his fiction – including his classics The Sandman and American Gods.

Now he turns his attention back to the source in his new book: Norse Mythology, where he fashions these primeval stories into a novelistic arc.

When Stéphane Gerson’s eight year old son, Owen, died in a rafting accident, he found himself in uncharted territory. In the weeks that followed, he started to write about life without his son. Eventually, those writings took shape as the new book, Disaster Falls: A Family Story. 

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