I’m not currently teaching but plan to offer a workshop on writing biography in the coming year. Please watch for announcements of that class.

My most recent workshop focused on books and libraries (described below). Other workshops that I teach include: “The Language of Clothing,” “Cultural Passages,” “Healing and Stories,” “Portraits and Profiles,” “Telling Lives,” among others. For more information, please contact me at mulcahy@lclark.edu.

“Bibliophilia”: A Writing Workshop to Celebrate Books, Libraries, and Learning


Course Description: Rebecca Solnit writes that “the object we call a book is not the real book, but its potential, like a musical score or seed.”

Do you remember the books that ignited your imagination, the seeds that planted hope? Perhaps you want to recapture the wonder of returning home with a stack of library books. Maybe you’ve longed to honor that librarian who urged Little Women or War and Peace into your hands.

In this exploration of books and their guardians, we’ll write to celebrate the word, the text, and the place of libraries in our personal and civic lives. To inspire our own writing, we’ll read essays, excerpts from “biblio-memoirs,” and letters by writers to young readers. We’ll explore ways to ignite reading passion in our students and children, and the means to stay connected to one another through stories.

Participants will come away from the workshop with inspired perspectives, fresh writing, and new ideas to apply toward lesson plans, classrooms and personal practice.


Below are some of my students’ comments:

“If I could take a workshop from Joanne every week I would. Her gentle, warm leadership provides the right balance of structure and free-writing to inspire creativity and bring energy to my writing. Her spot-on prompts unlock fresh ideas for the stories I want to tell.”

Cindy Hudson, author of Book by Book: The Complete Guide to Creating Mother-Daughter Book Clubs (Seal Press) “I have taken as many of Joanne’s writing workshops as I could over the past 10 years. She is a truly gifted teacher, providing the perfect combination of information, excellent prompts, writing time and thoughtful feedback. She manages the class beautifully so that the needs of students at all levels are met. Joanne’s lovely presence brings a very special environment to the classroom, leaving her students feeling fulfilled and inspired. I cannot wait until I can sign up for her next class!”

Ellen Hall Saunders, free-lance writer for The Oregonian and other publications http://www.ellenhallsaunders.com/my-writing/

“I have taken several courses with Joanne Mulcahy over the past few years and she never fails to renew my sense of purpose and commitment to my writing.  Joanne is a masterful guide.  From the very first writing exercise, she establishes trust among the writers, and builds upon that trust to develop a respectful, kind, and open atmosphere.  Joanne is also a perceptive and passionate listener, providing clear and focused advice.  Writers at all levels thrive in this environment.”

Bridgid K. MacSeóin, Duke University Center for Documentary Studies

“Besides being a gifted writer herself and well-grounded academically, Joanne is a generous, supportive and knowledgeable presence in the classroom.  Her sense of humor and upbeat attitude create an atmosphere of fun as well as learning, and she meets each student exactly where that person is in terms of experience and skill level.  When you take a class or workshop from Joanne, you leave as a better and more self-confident writer.”

Leigh Coffey, Documentary Studies Certificate Program, The NW Writing Institute, Lewis and Clark College

“I really appreciate the warm, supportive atmosphere Joanne creates and (to use a counseling term) her “unconditional positive regard” and respect for everyone. She truly has a healing presence.”

Laura Stanley, Graduate Program in Counseling, Documentary Studies Certificate Program, Lewis and Clark College