2015:  Faculty member, San Miguel Writers' Conference, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico 


2010 - 2013:  Co-Director, Peralta Writers Workshop, Tuscany, Italy

2007-2012:  Arizona State University

Instructor, Virginia G. Piper School of Creative Writing

1987-2000:   Squaw Valley Community of Writers, Lake Tahoe, California

Staff member, Workshop Leader, Lecturer, Panel Discussion Participant

1995 - 1996:  University of California, Berkeley Extension

Instructor, Creative Writing Workshop


Mission High School, San Francisco

Volunteer teacher, 9th Grade American Literature.


Mary-Rose Hayes welcomes opportunities to speak or lecture to writing groups, classes or seminars on any subject to do with writing within her experience and expertise.

New Lecture:

Overcoming the destructive legacy of childhood sexual abuse through Changing The Story

Mary-Rose describes the final acknowledgment of damage done by six years of childhood abuse (11 – 17); her refusal to embrace the ‘victim’ label; and her accidental discovery of fiction writing techniques as a means to counteract a lifetime of pain.

Proposed related TED Talk:

There is so much good in the worst of us, and so much bad in the best of us (attrib. Robert Louis Stevenson) and indeed, in fiction or drama, a character portrayed as either monolithically good or evil will appear one dimensional, predictable and dull.

Mary-Rose encountered this problem while writing her latest novel What She Had to Do in which a key character (based on her own father) was an abuser, and she knew she must either explain him or lose readership to boredom.

She thus created a backstory in order to round out and humanize her character and what made him that way, drawing on known elements of her father’s past which included two world wars, the Depression, various family tragedies, alcoholism and undoubted PTSD.

Of course she could never know the real truth, merely the fragments which memory and shared history allowed, but to her surprise the mere consideration of the how and when, and above all the why of her father’s behavior fostered insight, understanding if not forgiveness, and she was able to lay down her life-long burden of rage, shame, and regret.

The process is described, from the onset of abuse aged eleven, to her sudden late in life epiphany, in Mary-Rose’s recently completed memoir Runaway Child.

Other Sample Lectures:

Translating Memoir into Fiction  -  Pitfalls and Rewards

Don't be Afraid of Dialogue!  -  And its many uses, including advancing the action, and adding immediacy, color and drama.

Method Writing  - As in Method Acting, how to draw deep inside yourself, and access a character by mining personal experiences and emotions from your own past.

Is the Writer's Lifestyle for You?  - Ten sensible and practical questions to ask yourself, such as:

1.  Do I mind being alone a lot? Or:

2.  Do I write because I want to and need to, or just because I want to be rich and famous?

Turning Your Worst Moments Into Money, Or, Revenge is the Best Medicine! - How to make productive use of those horrific memories by passing them on to your characters and enriching and galvanizing your work.

Keynote and/or Featured Speaker

(Partial List)

American Association of University Women, Novato Chapter, California

Arizona Authors Association, Phoenix, Arizona.

Atlantic Highlands Arts Council, Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey

Books Inc., Laurel Village, San Francisco, California

California Writers' Club (Berkeley Chapter),  California

California Writers' Club (Marin Chapter), California

California Writers' Club (Peninsula Chapter), California

Fresno Writers' Conference, California

Las Positas College Literary Arts Festival, Livermore, California

Newcomers Club of San Ramon, California

Peninsula Writers' Workshop, San Mateo, California

Peralta Writers' Workshop, Tuscany, Italy

Romance Writers of America, Sacramento Chapter, California

Saint Helena Public Library, St. Helena, California

San Francisco Jewish Community Center,  California

San Francisco Peninsula Press Club, San Mateo, California

San Miguel Writers' Conference, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

Squaw Valley Community of Writers, Lake Tahoe, California

Swords to Plowshares Veterans Association, San Francisco, California

Throckmorton Theater/Depot Bookstore  (with Senator Barbara Boxer)

         Mill Valley, California

Truckee Meadows Writers' Conference, Reno, Nevada

Valley Writers' Conference, Fresno, California

Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing,  Arizona State University,

          Tempe, Arizona

Words Off Paper (Wopff), San Anselmo, California

Why There Are Words, Sausalito, California