One day workshop in Lafayette, CA

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“Today's workshop was one of the richest and most fun times I've ever had. Even though it was by the clock a long day, it felt so quick and refreshing. A special thanks to you, Joyce, for creating the arc of the day so beautifully and with such astuteness and generosity.”

- Lorrie Goldin

For anyone who has wanted to move up to a new level with his or her writing by studying with Joyce—but lacks the time for a longer experience—this workshop is a great place to start. 

As with all of Joyce’s workshops, she asks that each writer submit—a couple of weeks in advance of the class—a manuscript of a first person true story (a self-contained essay or an excerpt from a longer piece of work), no more than 2,500 words. These essays will be shared with the group in advance of the workshop, so by the time the group gathers, everyone is familiar with each others’ story. In some cases, a participant may opt, instead, to send a letter describing the story he or she wants to tell—but hasn’t yet written. 

The class takes place over a single intense day (plus an evening to get acquainted, the night before).  Because the group is limited to just eight writers—male and female both welcome—each person have his or her work discussed in depth by Joyce.  Equally important, each member of the group will benefit (a lot, Joyce says) from participating in the workshopping of their fellow writers’ stories. 

By the end of the day, everyone will have seen how Joyce takes apart—and puts back together—eight pieces of memoir, in a way that is just about guaranteed to transform everyone in the group into a stronger, clearer, and more authentic writer.   That’s a big promise to make, but it comes from Joyce’s 20+ years of experience in teaching the art of memoir in workshops like this one. Just about every writer or writer-in-the-making who has attended one of Joyce’s one day workshops describes this as an experience that has changed and deepened her (or his) as a writer.  For many, it serves as a breakthrough.

The group will meet at Joyce’s New Haven apartment on the Friday night prior (April 12th) for wine or club soda, appetizers, and a chance to get to know each other and share a little of where each person is coming from as a writer.

The next morning, at 8 am sharp, the group will gather again at Joyce’s for coffee, tea, and coffeecake to begin the work of examining each person’s story.  Unlike some writing workshops, Joyce takes a very strong role in directing the discussion of each person’s manuscript (generally involving work on Joyce’s giant white board)—though there will be plenty of opportunity for participation from the group.

The group will disperse for an hour at lunchtime to pick up something to eat at one of the many great, affordable little restaurants within a few blocks of Joyce’s apartment, then get back to work. We’ll finish up around 6 pm with a well deserved meal from the legendary Pepe’s Pizza.

To be considered for this workshop, send a writing sample of no more than 500 words, accompanied by a short letter about your writing goals.  For those who prefer, it’s also fine to send only a letter if it clearly describes the writer’s goals for coming to the workshop, and the story he or she would like to explore.

Applications should be sent to 

A NOTE ON HOUSING AND TRANSPORTATION: The workshop coordinator, Peggy Cook, is always available to answer questions about the workshop, but cannot be responsible for assisting with travel arrangements or hotel. (It’s not difficult to get to New Haven.  The Hartford airport is a one hour drive away. Metro North trains from Grand Central station run all day and into the night and take just under 2 hours. A quick Uber or Lyft ride from New Haven’s Union Station can get you to to Joyce’s apartment, very near the Yale campus. For those who drive, parking is easy. For accommodations, the Courtyard Marriott hotel is just a block away from Joyce’s apartment.  Another option—particularly recommended for those able to spend a little more—is The Study, also a nice, easy walk to Joyce’s. Airbnb lists a number of inexpensive rooms. For those who go that route, look for a place described as close to the main Yale campus.)


Group size: 8

Cost: $495

Apply: As with all of Joyce’s workshops, she asks that each writer submit a manuscript of a true, first-person story of no more than 2,500 words, which may be a self-contained essay or an excerpt from a longer piece of work. Students may also opt to send a letter describing the story they want to tell but haven’t yet written.

Please send applications to