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GUILDERLAND: Writer's group holds master class

Past students have said they felt privileged to have an opportunity to have their writing critiqued by such an accomplished writer.

"I've admired Lydia's fiction for years, I think she is an amazing writer," said Susan Bernofsky, an author and college teacher who took the class last fall.

Bernofsky, who holds a master's in writing from Washington University and a doctorate in comparative literature from Princeton, was a German teacher at Bard College when she decided she wanted to get back to writing fiction after a 10-year hiatus. She said Davis's class helped her to learn how to read her own work critically as well as others in the class.

"Lydia was able to respond to work that has so many goals and strategies and aesthetics, she's a very sensitive and intelligent reader," she said.

Bernofsky also commended the Writers Institute for making the fiction master class available to the community for free, since otherwise, it may not have been affordable for everyone.

"It's a complete blessing; a lot of good writers profited from it," she said. Lance said most of the writing workshops are made affordable for members of the community, and result in a "a whole range of people who are turning back to writing."

The New York State Writers Institute was founded in 1984 by novelist William Kennedy, and is considered one of America's premiere sites for celebrating the art of the written word. Its central aim is to celebrate literature and to enhance the role of writers as a community within the larger community.

Bernofsky said the level of diversity she observed in the classroom, which consisted of people of all different education levels and backgrounds, made for a more interesting workshop.

"It was great to be able to meet other writers, people I would have never met," she said. " It was a wonderful experience, I feel very privileged."

The Fiction Master Class Workshop is scheduled for Tuesday evenings on Oct. 23, and 30, and Nov. 6, 13, and 20. The classes will be held at the University at Albany's Uptown Campus. Those interested in being considered for acceptance into the class have until Sept. 19 to mail in manuscripts, or Sept. 24 to deliver them in person.

For a complete list of guidelines and additional info about the fiction master class, call 442-5620 or visit the Web site at www.albany.edu/writers-inst. ""

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