Remembering Graham Joyce

Today I remember Graham Joyce, one of my teachers at Clarion West, who passed away this afternoon after a long battle with cancer.

Graham was the instructor the week we critiqued the original short story version of “Shield and Crocus.” Graham encouraged me to go and write the story as a novel. He also taught me about dialogue and about how to break apart revision tasks in a way that made it seem doable.

He was with us for the third week of the workshop, when nearly all of us were locked into a somber routine of spending all of our time writing and critiquing. Graham gathered us up and took us out to the pub – he took us out pretty much every day that week, leading by example to show us how to build community as writers, how to balance work and play, to enjoy ourselves after putting a hard day’s work.

I got to see Graham last fall at World Fantasy in Brighton, along with several of my Clarion West classmates. As ever, Graham was warm, smart, and supportive, giving generously of his time to catch up with us.

Graham brought great work into this world, and his warmth and insights moved many in the community. He will be remembered.

If you’re not familiar with Graham’s work, I’d recommend The Tooth Fairy, which I read before heading to Clarion West. You might also try his recent The Year of the Ladybird.

2 thoughts on “Remembering Graham Joyce

  1. The only Joyce novel I’ve read to date is Dreamside.

    His next novel after that, Smoking Poppy, didn’t seem to be my taste, and he fell off my radar subsequently.

  2. He was a man who combined outstanding ability as a writer with the ability to inspire others and many other wonderful human qualities.

    When I think of his writing I remember particularly the first pages of Smoking Poppy, where he describes the quality of love a parent feels for a child. That description has stayed with me for years.

    He gave the first novel writing workshop I ever attended. And years later, he was still helping, kindly offering to read my work. Reading the many tributes already circulating online the magnitude of this loss hits home to me.

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