HarperCollins Speakers Bureau

Joyce Maynard

New York Times Best-Selling Author, Journalist, and Writing Teacher


  • Telling Your Story: The Lessons of Memoir
  • A Writing Life
  • Family Secrets, Family Truths
  • How Learning to Make a Great Pie Can Contribute to the Rest of Your Life
  • An Evening with Joyce Maynard: A Life in Writing from 1972 to Now
  • How to Write a Memoir (a crash course)



Joyce Maynard is the New York Times best-selling author of 11 books, including her latest novel Labor Day (William Morrow). She first came to national attention with the publication of her New York Times cover story, "An Eighteen Year Old Looks Back on Life", in 1973, when she was a freshman at Yale. Since then, she has been a reporter and columnist for the New York Times, a contributor to the CBS program "Spectrum", a syndicated newspaper columnist whose "Domestic Affairs" column appeared in over 50 papers nationwide, a regular contributor to NPR and national magazines including O, The Oprah Magazine, Newsweek, the New York Times Magazine, Forbes, Salon, San Francisco Magazine, USA Weekly, and many more. She is currently a contributing writer with More magazine. Her website - one of the first author websites - is www.joycemaynard.com.

Maynard has appeared on ABC's Good Morning America, NBC's Today Show, CNN, Chris Matthews' Hard Ball, Charlie Rose, and NPR's Fresh Air. She has also been a regular contributor to National Public Radio's All Things Considered. Maynard is a sought after speaker at universities, schools, MFA writing programs, literary festivals, lecture series, and Jewish Community Centers. She is also a performance storyteller and has appeared with The Moth in New York City and in New Haven, and with Porchlight -a similar performance/storytelling series - in San Francisco. She has taught both nonfiction and fiction writing, and because her novel The Usual Rules was discovered by young readers - and some teachers - she frequently speaks at schools about reading and writing.

As a writer of fiction, Maynard has published five novels, including Baby Love, Where Love Goes, The Usual Rules, The Cloud Chamber, and To Die For, a black comedy based loosely on the Pamela Smart murder case. That novel was made into a movie of the same name, directed by Gus van Sant and starring Nicole Kidman (Maynard plays the role of Kidman's lawyer in the film). Her novel, The Usual Rules - a story about surviving loss - has been a favorite of book club audiences of all ages, and was chosen one of the 10 best books for young readers for 2003. Her YA novel, The Cloud Chamber, was chosen Best Young Adult Book of the Year by the Commonwealth Club of California. Her best-selling memoir, At Home in the World, which revealed how her relationship with J.D. Salinger shaped her young life and, in many ways, even her later years, was published in 1998.

When asked to name the single common thread that links her long and varied list of work, Maynard says, "The single bond is my abiding fascination with family and relationships, and what makes people do what they do."

For the last 19 years, since the death of her mother, Maynard has maintained the practice of teaching pie making (specifically, the art of making good pie crust). She has taught the art and craft of pie making all around the country (sometimes at gatherings hosted by longtime readers, and always to raise money for a good cause). Pie making plays a central role in her latest novel, Labor Day. The instructions for making a good pie that Frank offers to the narrator, Henry, are exactly what Maynard has been offering to her pie students, (and the lessons her mother taught her). In addition to providing a good reading experience, Labor Day will also provide the reader with everything he or she needs to make a great pie.

Maynard is the mother of three grown children. She makes her home in Mill Valley, California, and at Lake Atitlan, Guatemala, where (since 2002) she has been running the Lake Atitlan Writing Workshop.

Praise for Maynard's Presentations:

"Joyce Maynard charmed, educated and inspired. Joyce has a range of experiences, a world vision and an eternal flame burning inside her that touches the souls of those fortunate to come into her orbit. We look forward to her next visit."
-- Reid Nagle, CEO, SNL Financial Enterprises, Charlottesville, VA

"For the junior class of Johnston High School, The Usual Rules, our whole class novel, was enhanced, brought to life, and enriched by Joyce's visit. Not only did they feel like her book was different from most others they had been forced to read in school, but they were thrilled to be spending the day with her. She spoke to large groups and worked in workshop settings with small clusters of students; she helped them think of themselves as writers and she swept through our building with a wave of style, positive energy and excitement. Now, when they come back to visit, they write things like, 'Usual Rules Rules!' and 'I love Joyce Maynard!' all over my white board. They even asked if I would invite her to graduation!"
-- Kate Leo, 9th Grade English Teacher, Johnston 8/9 Middle School, Johnston, IA

"Joyce Maynard knows how to lead a discussion, how to get students or her listeners to participate; she is professional, and thorough - she bothers to find out what is expected and then she delivers on her promise to achieve it. She approaches every speaking engagement with joyous ingenuity - deriving the best kind of response from those she works with - a blend of admiration and inspiration. I have been so glad about her work with my students that I have invited her to speak twice, and I plan on having her in again as soon as I can."
-- Robert Bausch, Director of the Visiting Writer Series, C&H Division, Northern Virginia Community College, Woodbridge, VA

Praise for Labor Day:

"Joyce Maynard is in top-notch form with Labor Day. From the perfect pitch of a teenaged boy narrator to the eloquent message of how loneliness can bind people together, this is simply a novel you cannot miss."
-- Jodi Picoult, New York Times best-selling author of My Sister's Keeper and Handle with Care

"Labor Day is a sexy, page turning, poignant story told by a sweetly baffled young hero, perhaps the best kind of hero to narrate any tale. Joyce Maynard is at her finest."
-- Jane Hamilton, author of Laura Rider's Masterpiece and A Map of the World

"Surely Joyce Maynard is one of our best storytellers. And Labor Day is her best novel yet. It is such a generous book, full of love and hope. Long after I finished reading it, I was full of all it gave me: the joys of a perfect pie, of babies, and of love." -- Ann Hood, author of The Knitting Circle and Comfort

"[The] story is moving and fast-moving, affirming Maynard's reputation as a master storyteller and showing her to be a passionate humanist with a gifted ear and heart....Maynard illuminates the human experience."
-- People (Four Stars)

"I ask one thing of a novel: that it makes me feel as if it's a life I am living rather than a book I am reading. Labor Day, for me, is that long-sought-for novel -- smart, wry in all the right places, deeply felt, beautifully observed. I was enthralled and moved and grateful to Joyce Maynard for creating such quirkily lovable and unforgettable characters. What a pleasure."
-- Elinor Lipman, author of The Family Man

"I read the magnificent Joyce Maynard's Labor Day in three hours of pure joy. No one in America writes about love lost and found like Joyce Maynard and everybody knows it."
-- Jacquelyn Mitchard, author of The Deep End of the Ocean and Cage of Stars

"Labor Day is a wise, heartfelt novel that illuminates with subtlety and grace quiet truths about the sometimes fractured beauty of family life and the mysteries of the human heart."
-- Bookreporter.com

"As romantic fantasies go, the premise of Joyce Maynard's new novel, Labor Day is a doozy:...Labor Day works -- despite its implausible Lifetime plot -- by smartly focusing on the blinkered and somewhat naive perspective of Henry."
-- Entertainment Weekly

"Joyce Maynard's Labor Day [is] a story so compelling, many readers will finish it in one sitting. And then read it again...Labor Day is a page-turner, from the beginning lines...to the final chapters...Maynard is in top form in this tale of love, betrayal and forgiveness."
-- Associated Press

"Joyce Maynard is one of those blessed authors who can compress al lifetime's worth of ideas and emotions into a spare piece of work. The closest comparison I can make is Ian McEwan, whose Atonement has some of the same elements as Maynard's latest novel: the pangs of adolescence, the roller-coaster swells and dips of love and loss, a devastating betrayal from an intimate source. . . . Maynard has forged an indelible, precise portrait of early adolescence. It's a perfect late-summer book, a page-turner that also makes you think."
-- Dallas Morning News

"Maynard deftly pulls the reader into the fragile lives of these three vulnerable characters and their preordained march toward the novel's denouement. A marvelous read--perfect for one long sitting--this novel leaves the reader wishing it didn't ever have to end."
-- BookPage

"Beautifully written"
-- New Orleans Times-Picayune

"Maynard offers fresh insight into what constitutes family."
-- USA Today

"It is a testament to Maynard's skill that she makes this ominous setup into a convincing and poignant coming-of-age tale."
-- Washington Post

"Maynard details Henry's roller-coaster emotions for Frank - he is both jealous and grateful - and his mother's emotional journeys - with skill and tenderness for the uncertain willingness of broken hearts to mend. The poignant results are revealing of our ability to forgive and to grow."
-- Smart Money