Joyce Maynard About the Participants
January 13-16, 2000

JOYCE MAYNARD was born in Exeter, New Hampshire in 1953, passed out daisy bumper stickers for Eugene McCarthy in 1968, graduated from the first co-ed class of Phillips Exeter Academy in 1971, and dropped out of Yale in 1972 to write her first book. She then became the unofficial spokesperson for her generation that same year with the publication of a New York Times Magazine cover story, “An Eighteen Year Old Looks Back on Life,” followed the next year by her first book, Looking Back, a memoir about growing up in the sixties. In the twenty five years since, Maynard has published three novels and hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles for such publications as Newsweek, The New York Times, Self, Glamour, Mademoiselle and Vogue. She has been a regular commentator on CBS radio, a reporter and columnist with The New York Times, a contributing editor for Parenting Magazine, and currently serves as a commentator on National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered.” For eight years, her nationally syndicated newspaper column, “Domestic Affairs” ran in such papers as The Portland Oregonian, The Minneapolis Star Tribune, The St. Petersburg Times and the Dallas Morning News, exploring the realities of being married--and then divorced--and raising children in the eighties and nineties.

In her years as a journalist, Maynard has written about a vast range of subjects, but her themes nearly always involve the unique issues facing families--particularly women--raising children and then launching them in the world in the nineties, while pursuing lives beyond the kitchen as few of their mothers were able to do. For a generation of baby boomer women, Maynard--now 45--represents a new kind of role model and inspirational figure: an adult child of an alcoholic family, a survivor of divorce, a single parent who doesn’t flinch at discussing the subjects of sexuality, relationships and love.

As a writer of fiction, Maynard is best known as the author of the novel To Die For, made into a film by Gus van Sant starring Nicole Kidman (with Maynard herself playing a cameo role.) She is also the author of Where Love Goes and Baby Love. In Maynard’s most recent book, the memoir At Home in the World, she chronicles not only her young years, but her year-long relationship, at age eighteen, with a mesmerizing man thirty five years older, J.D. Salinger. She tells the story of Salinger’s dismissal, and her painful re-entry into the world, as well as her failed marriage, the loss of her parents, and her struggle to rebuild at mid-life and to free herself from the constraints of a twenty five year silence to confront the most painful truths of her experience. Hers is not a story of devastation or regret. At Home in the World is about redemption and triumph, and the wisdom acquired when at long last a woman embraces the disquieting truths of her history--no longer seeking permission or approval--to speak in her own voice.

  • Looking Back (a memoir), 1973
  • Baby Love (novel), 1981
  • Domestic Affairs (collection of newspaper columns), 1986
  • To Die For (novel), 1991
  • Where Love Goes (novel), 1995
  • At Home in the World (memoir), 1998