Virginia Pye, Fiction Instructor

Virginia Pye, Fiction Instructor


In these bittersweet, compelling stories, Virginia Pye’s characters in Shelf Life of Happiness long for that most-elusive of states: happiness. A young skateboarder reaches across an awesome gap to reconnect with his disapproving father; an elderly painter executes one final, violent gesture to memorialize his work; a newly married writer battles the urge to implode his happy marriage; and a confused young man falls for his best friend’s bride and finally learns to love. In each case, Pye’s characters aim to be better people as they strive for happiness—and some even reap the sweet reward of achieving it.


Writing Workshop

Finding Inspiration for Fiction Writing

Wednesday, October 16

4:00 - 5:30 pm

Be Well Be Here

91 Main Street, Suite 302

Concord, MA

Aspiring writers are often encouraged to write what we know, but many great works of fiction are set in times and places not known first-hand by their authors. How do we use our imaginations to take us into territory we’ve never charted before? In this discussion and guided writing session, we’ll explore unexpected sources of inspiration: anecdotes passed down in families, newspaper articles that resemble fictional plots, overheard snippets of conversation, old photographs, and more. We'll train ourselves to spot story ideas in our daily lives and in what we read and experience through art, movies, and even music. We’ll learn from authors Roxana Robinson, Kaitlyn Greenidge, Lily King, and Arthur Golden about what inspired them. Using photos and other writing prompts, we’ll embark on imaginative journeys of our own.


Virginia Pye’s Shelf Life of Happiness won the 2019 IPPY Gold Medal in short fiction. Her two novels, Dreams of the Red Phoenix (2015) and River of Dust (2013) also received literary awards. Her essays and stories have appeared in Literary Hub, New York Times, The Rumpus, Tampa Review, and elsewhere. She’s taught writing at conferences and universities, in high schools and at Grub Street. Visit