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30th Anniversary Celebration of Michael Joyce's afternoon, a story
hosted by the Electronic Literature Lab at Washington State University Vancouver

Michael Joyce

From the "Biographical Sketch, The Michael Joyce Papers, Harry Ransom Humanities Center:

Born on November 9, 1945 in Lackawanna, New York, to Thomas and Joanne Joyce, Michael Thomas Joyce is the eldest son in a family of eight children. Joyce was heavily influenced by his family's Catholic faith and attended Catholic and Jesuit schools, including Canisius College where he received a Bachelor of Arts in 1972. In 1973, Joyce received a fellowship to the University of Iowa Writers Workshop and graduated with an MFA in 1974.

Publication of his first print novel, The War Outside Ireland (1982), was an important turning point in Joyce's career. Though the book was widely reviewed and awarded the Great Lakes New Writers Award in fiction (1983), through the writing process Joyce discovered that he wanted to write novels that would change in successive readings. After reading numerous technology and computer magazines, he came across an article about Natalie Dehn who was working to teach computers to write novels at the Yale Artificial Intelligence Lab. Joyce and Dehn began a correspondence which led to Joyce receiving a one year fellowship to Yale University in 1984, and perhaps more importantly, led to his collaboration with Jay Bolter and John B. Smith. By the end of 1985, Joyce and Bolter had developed a working prototype for Storyspace, the hypertext computer software which Joyce began using with his students in 1986, and later used to write his first hypertext fiction piece, afternoon, a story (1987). Writing in The New York Times, Robert Coover described afternoon as "the granddaddy of hypertext fictions... a legend."

Another hypertext fiction, WOE (1991), was the centerpiece of a special hypertext issue of the journal Writing on the Edge. Joyce's "On the Birthday of the Stranger" was featured as the inaugural work for the Evergreen Experimental Site of the online version of the Evergreen Review in 1999. Two longer hypertext fiction works, Twilight, A Symphony (on CD-ROM) and Twelve Blue (on the World Wide Web), were both published in 1996 by Eastgate Systems, Inc. In 2002, Joyce returned to the "traditional" novel and published the print novel Liam's Going.

Joyce served as coordinator for the Center for Narrative and Technology and associate professor at Jackson Community College, Jackson, Michigan from 1975 to 1992. In 1992, he went to Vassar College as a visiting professor under a Sloan Foundation grant for teaching with technology in the humanities, and in 1995 took a position there as an English and Media Studies professor and as Director of the Center for Electronic Learning and Teaching.

Most of Joyce's academic works have been published in one of three collections of essays: Moral Tales and Meditations: Technological Parables and Refractions (2001), Othermindedness: The Emergence of Network Culture (2000), and Of Two Minds: Hypertext Pedagogy and Poetics (1995). He has lectured and published widely on issues relating to hypertext and writing, and his essays are primary texts in those fields.

Joyce draws some elements from his personal history to his work. His marriage to Martha Petry Joyce, a published hypertext author herself, and their two sons, Eamon and Jeremiah, are sometimes referenced in his essays and novels. He later married author and artist Carolyn Guyer with whom he has co-authored multiple projects.