Jacki Lyden | The Art of the Interview


In this One-Day Intensive, award-winning NPR host Jacki Lyden, author of the acclaimed memoir Daughter of the Queen of Sheba, offers a unique approach to writing prose, fiction or memoir: the art of the interview.

After conducting thousands of interviews over three decades for NPR, Lyden believes most writers should try to acquire some audio — for the experience of voice, place, sound, and texture. Not all writers know how to interview their characters, or how speak to an interviewer, or how to question the motives of their protagonists, family members, or themselves.

We’ll work on the kinds of questions that elicit better, more imaginative responses for your story. We’ll interview each other. Jacki will bring examples of recordings she’s done with her own family members, including her mother, for a podcast to accompany her own pages when her memoir-in-progress, Tell Me Something Good, is published.

Join us to learn new, original ways to enhance your stories with unique voices.


As an award-winning journalist for NPR, many can instantly recognize Jacki Lyden’s voice as she was a host and correspondent for over thirty years. She is passionate about the intersection between mental health and caregiving, a subject that affects almost one-fourth of Americans over 45.

In 1997, Jacki published Daughter of the Queen of Sheba, a critically-acclaimed memoir which chronicles her life growing up in the presence of her mother’s profound mental illness. The memoir, which The New York Times described as “vivid, original, lyrical,” was immediately optioned by Wind Dancer Films for Meryl Streep and Gwyneth Paltrow. She has given a myriad of talks on mental illness and still actively partakes in her mother’s care. Jacki is at work on a new follow-up memoir of caregiving, Tell Me Something Good, which explores the challenges of being an active caregiver for an aging mother.

She is a 2017-2018 recipient of the Rosalynn Carter Fellowship for Mental Health Journalism, and early in her career, she won the Grand Prize from the National Mental Health Foundation for a series on the incarceration of the mentally ill in Montana. An avid traveler, Jacki has been all over the world for her work and covered the Middle East for NPR across three conflicts, including both wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Jacki regards herself first and foremost as a storyteller and looks for the distinctive human voice in a huge range of national and international stories. She has been awarded the Gracie Award for American Women in Radio and Television and has also received the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Award for Broadcasting and Journalism. In 2017, she created “Love Comes in at the Eye,” an annual workshop for memoir and first-person writers and podcasters in Renvyle, Ireland. Jacki is married to the Washington Post photographer, Bill O’Leary and lives in and between her residencies in Washington, D.C., Brooklyn, and rural Wisconsin.


Just $250 per participant, your day includes lunch, Friday night’s Little Bites and Big Libations (appetizers, spirits and desserts) at a social evening with other participants, our instructors and panelists. Your day will also include admission to Friday night’s keynote event.

Or treat yourself to The Whole Shebang for $450. Here’s what you’ll get:

Take in the Story Slam on Thursday night. Join the One Day Intensive of your choosing on Friday, in one of Woodstock’s beautiful private homes, complete with lunch. Then sail into the weekend: attending all the wonderful panels, breakfast, both Little Bites and Big Libations Cocktail Parties, and both evening events. And share the bounty from our always-stuffed goody bag.


Jacki Lyden

Location TBA
Friday March 29, 2019
9AM – 5PM