When Paul Grondahl clocks his final day at the Albany Times Union newspaper Feb. 17 and begins as director of the New York State Writers Institute at the University of Albany Feb. 21, it will complete a poetic journey. Originally from Seattle, Grondahl came to Albany in 1981 to pursue graduate studies.
From the very end of colleague Amy Biancolli’s piece about this news:
“I got to campus,” Grondahl recalled. “It was the weekend, and I was looking around–everything was locked. It was Labor Day weekend. And finally, I got to the Humanities Building, and I found one door open. I searched around and found the English department, and I was like, ‘Is anyone here, is anyone here?’ And one light at the end was Bill Kennedy — working in his office on a weekend.”
Grondahl told that story in his application letter for the institute gig. “I do believe in fate,” he said. “I think I was always (hoping), ‘I would love to end up there one day.'”
Biancolli’s article does a great job of touching on Grondahl career highlights. Another cool throughline is that over the years, the journalist has interviewed and written about well over a hundred writers passing through the Institute. Check out the official announcement here and, below, video of the aforementioned Kennedy speaking at the Institute last year about the process of adapting Ironweed in Hollywood.