While at USC, she played a major role with writer-in-residence, the late William Price Fox, in the coordination of the university’s Spring Author Series in the early 1980s. Through this endeavor, she became acquainted with, and was befriended by, such notables as William Styron, Joseph Heller, Kurt Vonnegut, George Garrett, Tom Wolfe, John Irving and Nora Ephron, among many others. She remained close friends with both Joseph Heller and William Styron until the time of their deaths.
While teaching in Cardiff, Wales, on a Fulbright Scholarship, ’94-’95, Blaylock brought British author Nigel Hinton to St. Cyres School in Cardiff, duplicating what she had implemented in the Nashville School System, a scaled down version of the author series at the University of South Carolina. She has maintained contact with Hinton, and for some time, with Count Nikolai Tolstoi, author of The Coming of the King, whom she met at an Arthurian Day celebration at the University of Cardiff. Blaylock was also on location with the filming of John Jakes’ North and South for five weeks in Charleston, South Carolina, St. Francisville, Louisiana and Natchez, Mississippi, researching all the while, and served a four-year term with the Tennessee Film Commission.
Serenity Gerbman of Nashville’s prestigious Southern Festival of Books notes, “Joyce Blaylock has been a key supporter and volunteer for the Southern Festival of Books since its inception 27 years ago. Her knowledge of Southern literature and her dedication to the writing community have helped the Festival to become one of the foremost book events in the nation.”
Blaylock was co-hospitality chair for the Southern Festival of Books during its first ten years. Since that time she has worked with Humanities Tennessee on this extraordinary October Book Festival and was on the planning committee for its 25th Anniversary in 2013.
She currently serves on the Board of Trustees for the Giles County Public Library, (Giles County Tennessee), and enjoys her farm house there, a hands-on project, in Lynnville.
She first heard of Adelicia, at age 16 when she and her teenage peers sat listening to the dean of her high school tell fascinating tales of the 19th century Nashvillian…the most legendary of which was: “She married once for money, once for love and once for fame.” Blaylock was intrigued by Adelicia’s ability to triumph despite the obstacles, her tackling of the unexpected with force, and her perseverance to endure. Blaylock’s desire to tell Adelicia’s story has never wavered.
Joyce is a native of Nashville, Tennessee where she lives with her husband, Steve Wood and Gabby the cat.