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New York State Writers Institute Selects the New State Author and Poet

By Florinda Gjypi | September 4, 2023

A panel consisting of jurors, students, and representatives of the New York State Writers Institute, have named children’s author Jacqueline Woodson as the new State Author and noted poet Patricia Spears Jones as the new State Poet. Both will be answering questions at the Albany Book Festival on Sept. 23.

Writers Institute Announcement of new State Author and Poet.

Photo Credit: NYS Writers Institute’s Instagram / @nyswritersinstitute

Both awardees will be receiving $10,000 as a form of gratitude, on top of serving in their honorary positions for the next two years.

“It’s such an honor to be the only university in the country to choose a State Author and a State Poet, and this is by mandate of the New York State legislature and proclamation of the governor,” assistant director for the Writers Institute, Mark Koplik said. “We assemble juries to choose each of the laureates composed of major authors and poets, as well as UAlbany faculty and students, and general Albany community members as well.”

The ceremony of awarding Woodson and Jones with the Edith Wharton Citation of Merit for Fiction and the Walt Whitman Citation of Merit for Poetry, respectively, will be held at the University at Albany’s Campus Center West Auditorium on Friday, Sept. 22, at 7:30 p.m.

The awarding event, held by University at Albany President Dr. Havidán Rodríguez, also coincides with the annual Writer’s Institute Albany Book Festival taking place the next day, Sept. 23.

Both Woodson and Jones will be answering questions from the audience at 10:30 a.m. at the festival. This will be the sixth year the Writers Institute is hosting the Albany Book Festival.

“This is a free and open public event and we encourage fans of our State Author and State Poet to come celebrate with them as they add their names to an illustrious list of State Authors and State Poets,” Paul Grondahl, the Opalka Endowed Director for the Writers Institute said.

The Albany Book Festival, which is held each year in September by Writers Institute at the UAlbany campus, is an event attended by many book lovers, visitors, and students. It includes book signings, meet and greet with the authors, panel discussions, a children’s room with authors and fun activities, and online how-to workshops for aspiring authors. Authors and poets from all over the country attend, including best-selling, award-winning, and local ones.

Albany Book Festival, Sept. 2022

“We created the Albany Book Festival as a celebration of the great literary tradition in Albany, the Capital Region, and to bring together the Writers Institute’s rich community of readers and writers,” Grondahl said. “The Capital City of New York State deserves a first rate book festival, and we have been able to deliver that with the great support from the University at Albany, and we welcome book lovers of all ages on Saturday, Sept. 23rd for our sixth annual.”


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