Albany Book Festival

The 4th Annual Albany Book Festival

The 4th Annual Albany Book Festival, presented by the NYS Writers Institute at the University at Albany, will be held Saturday, September 25, on the University’s Uptown Campus, 1400 Washington Avenue.  

The annual event will be held in person for the first time since 2019. Events will begin at 10:30 a.m. and conclude at 5 p.m. All events are free and open to the public.

“We are proud to announce that we are returning to a live, in-person, and on-campus event for our 4th annual Albany Book Festival. We’ve worked hard to restore all those things we missed, which make a live and in-person Albany Book Festival so magical,” said Writers Institute Director Paul Grondahl.

“After the coronavirus pandemic caused us to pivot to a virtual book festival last year, we are grateful to bring together a community of readers, writers, editors, publishers, and booksellers once again in a celebration of literature.”

The festival will kick off with an awards ceremony honoring the New York State Author and the New York State Poet at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 24. The names of the laureates will be announced later this month. In addition, the winner of the inaugural Bruce Piasecki and Andrea Masters Award on Business and Society Writing will also be announced Friday, Sept. 24.

The book festival will comply with all COVID-19 protocols and follow the guidance of health officials. Up-to-date information will be posted at While the September 25 book festival is planned to be an in-person event, some festival features are going online. “We are expanding accessibility by offering our free writers workshops online this year,” said Grondahl. “It means the best of both worlds.”


Albany Book Festival 2021


This year’s lineup of guest writers includes (attendees subject to change):

  • Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah (Friday Black: Stories),
  • Ayad Akhtar (Homeland Elegies),
  • Robert Boyers (The Tyranny of Virtue: Identity, The Academy, and the Hunt for Political Heresies),
  • Elizabeth Brundage (The Vanishing Point),
  • Mary Gaitskill (This is Pleasure),
  • Garth Greenwell (Cleanness),
  • Farah Jasmine Griffin (Read Until You Understand: The Profound Wisdom of Black Life and Literature),
  • Janell Hobson (When God Lost Her Tongue: Historical Consciousness and the Black Feminist Imagination),
  • Quiara Alegría Hudes (co-wrote “In the Heights” with Lin-Manuel Miranda, My Broken Language: A Memoir),
  • Amitava Kumar (A Time Outside This Time),
  • Reif Larsen (Uma Wimple Charts her House),
  • Emily Layden (All Girls),
  • Ed Lin (David Tung Can’t Have a Girlfriend Until He Gets Into an Ivy League College),
  • George Makari (Of Fear and Strangers: A History of Xenophobia),
  • Bethany C. Morrow (So Many Beginnings: A Little Women Remix),
  • Chris Offutt (The Killing Hills),
  • Peter Osnos (An Especially Good View: Watching History Happen),
  • Jay Parini (Borges and Me: An Encounter),
  • David Pietrusza (Too Long Ago: A Childhood Memoir. A Vanished World.),
  • Nathaniel Philbrick (Travels with George: In Search of Washington and His Legacy),
  • David Rohde (In Deep: The FBI, the CIA, and the Truth about America’s “Deep State”),
  • Ed Schwarzschild (In Security),
  • Dana Spiotta (Wayward),
  • Setsuko Winchester ( and
  • Simon Winchester (How the Hunger for Ownership Shaped the Modern World).

The book festival will also include a Local Authors Marketplace, readings by young local writers published in Skribblers magazine; and readings from banned books to help kick-off Banned Books Week beginning September 26 with the theme, “Books Unite Us. Censorship Divides Us.” The festival’s children’s programming is organized by Skribblers and Albany Public Library.

More information at