Borges said he lived in New York City in the late 1980s and always enjoyed "New York is Book Country," so he approached state Sen. Neil Breslin, D-Delmar, about securing funding for a similar festival. Breslin was enthusiastic and helped secure some money, Borges said, and sponsors pledged additional funds, which helped ensure there will be no admission fee.
"Most book festivals are free," Borges noted. He then added with a laugh, "We're always looking for donations."
While the festival itself is free, there is another component to the weekend that carries a price tag. On Friday, April 9, the New York Library Association will induct the first members to the New York Writers Hall of Fame at the Crown Plaza in Albany. Tickets for the invitation-only gala are $75.
Borges said there are all kinds of other halls of fame in this country, but this is the first writer's hall of fame.
"There's no way to recognize the contributions of some of our most famous authors from New York state," he said.
The 12 inductees are being recognized for their lasting contributions to literature. There are 10 late authors: James Baldwin, Elizabeth Bishop, Robert Caro, Fredrick Douglass, Mary Gordon, Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Issac B. Singer, Edith Wharton, E.B. White and Walt Whitman. The two living writers, Robert Caro and Mary Gordon, are scheduled to attend the gala.
Staino said the committee that selected the inductees went through several rounds of blind, weighted voting.
"We discussed many, many authors," he said. "These were the people that came out on top."
Since the state has such a rich literary history, it was inevitable that some big names, such as James Fenimore Cooper and Washington Iriving, didn't make the initial cut, Staino said. But they can certainly be inducted in future years.