August 15, 2018 - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced Colson Whitehead has been named New York's 12th State Author and Alicia Ostriker has been named New York's 11th State Poet.
Whitehead, novelist, journalist, memoirist, and nonfiction writer will receive the New York State Edith Wharton Citation of Merit for Fiction Writers; and poet Ostriker will receive the New York State Walt Whitman Citation of Merit for Poets.?
The awardees are chosen by panels of jurors convened by the New York State Writers Institute at the University at Albany.
"New York has long been an epicenter for arts and culture, and this award celebrates some of the state's most talented and influential writers in their respective fields," Governor Cuomo said. "I'm proud to name renowned writer Colson Whitehead and acclaimed poet Alicia Ostriker for the prestigious positions of State Author and State Poet, recognizing their collective body of work and the impact it has had on the people of New York and beyond."?
The official inauguration ceremony for Whitehead and Ostriker will be held on Friday, September 28, 2018 at 7:30 p.m. in the Campus Center on the University at Albany Uptown Campus, 1400 Washington Avenue. Free parking will be available in the Dutch Quad University lot.
The event, which will include readings by the two laureates, is free and open to the public. H. Carl McCall, Chairman of the State University of New York Board of Trustees, will preside over the ceremonies. During their two-year terms the state laureates promote and encourage fiction writing and poetry throughout New York by giving public readings and talks within the state.
Whitehead and Ostriker will hold a book signing following Friday's ceremony and then again at 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 29, in the university's Campus Center. ?
Past New York State Authors include Kurt Vonnegut, Norman Mailer, Mary Gordon, Grace Paley and Russell Banks. Past New York State Poets include Audre Lorde, Sharon Olds, John Ashbery, Billy Collins and Jane Cooper.