Buffalo State alum and travel writer returns to Buffalo for first area book tour


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Writer and Buffalo State alum Dan Szczesny has published five books including a collection of short stories and a book of poems. He’s currently on his first Western New York book tour.

Nadiya Roache, Staff Writer

After experiencing adventures such as living atop Mount Washington, getting married in Nepal and exploring the vast Alaskan landscape, writer and SUNY Buffalo State alum Dan Szczesny will be returning to Western New York May 8-12 for his first book tour in the area.

Szczesny, who graduated from Buffalo State in 1988 with a bachelor’s degree in English Literature, grew up in Cheektowaga and lived in Buffalo before moving to New Hampshire in 2000, where he now works as associate publisher of “The Hippo, the state’s largest arts and entertainment journal.

Szczesny has been writing short stories since fifth grade and worked in public relations before taking jobs as a reporter, editor, and publisher. His first book was published in 2013. Szczesny says writing books was something that came about organically.

“We fostered two kids – two eight year olds,” Szczesny said. “And as a way to sort of bond with one of them, the girl, my foster daughter Janelle, we started hiking. Her and I took a six-month sabbatical from work to write this book on our experiences, and I never actually thought of it as a travel book. It was just more of a memoir of my learning how to be a dad, and her learning how to be a daughter.

“When the book finally came out, it was fairly well received and I started doing library shows and so forth. I realized that was that was the window, you know; that was my opportunity now, to take the leap and to actually start writing books for a living.”

Since publishing his first book, “The Adventures of Buffalo and Tough Cookie, Szczesny has published four others including a collection of short stories and a book of poems.

Szczesny’s Western New York tour will include six stops in five days. Each presentation will cover a different topic.

“If anyone wants to come out, my bet is there’s a possibility that one of the topics will interest them,” Szczesny said. “I’m going to be talking about a wide variety of experiences and a wide variety of places, and I like sharing my experiences because being an amateur traveler is the next best thing to actually doing the travelling.

“It opens people’s minds and hearts, and shows them a culture and things that are outside of their sort of normal every day life in a safe way: You go and you sit in a library and you can learn about something. Maybe it will inspire you to go and see it for yourself. That would sort of be the ultimate goal.”

Szczesny’s tour begins on May 8 at the Hamburg Public Library, where he will discuss his trips to India and Turkey. He will then appear at the Audobon Branch Library, where he will talk about travel issues and what it means to be a global citizen; the Amherst Center for Senior Services to give a presentation about his trip to Nepal; the Canterbury Woods Assisted Living Community for a presentation on short fiction and his book of short stories, Sing; and the Villa Maria College Student Center, where he will be giving a lecture for the Polish Genealogical Society of New York State including discussion of his own experience learning about his Polish roots through a journey around Buffalo. The tour will conclude in Erie, Pennsylvania on May 12 where Szczesny will be a guest reader at Poets’ Hall Friday Reading Series. After the reading, he will be signing books for those in attendance.

All of the events, except the reading and book signing in Erie, are free and open to the public.

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