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“I expect memoirists to be angsty, but she actually seemed happy,” another said.After her second husband died, in 2016, Maynard began to entertain the prospect more seriously.
After the piece’s publication, she received an admiring letter from J. Their relationship lasted just eleven months, but her involvement with the famous, and famously private, man would come to define much of her life.
In the decades since, Maynard has published more than fifteen books, among them three memoirs, several novels, two children’s books, a young-adult novel, and a true-crime thriller.
Last February, she travelled to Yale for a campus visit.
She was hosted by one of Fadiman’s students, a current senior and English major named Allie Primak.
In the morning, Primak awoke to find that her guest had been leafing through the many novels on her nightstand.
“Joyce was so active and independent during her stay,” Primak told me.
She has married twice, raised three children, and settled outside of San Francisco.
Since 2015, she has appeared as a guest speaker, either in person or via Skype, in a writing workshop at her alma mater taught by Anne Fadiman, a professor and writer-in-residence.
In her first months back, she joined a literary society, learned to row from a classmate on the varsity crew team, and was cast in a student film, playing the part of a grandmother with dementia.
Maynard does not receive a need-based scholarship; to afford tuition, she plans to dig into her late husband’s retirement funds.