Beth Peyton's new memoir, Clear Skies, Deep Water: A Chautauqua Memoir (SUNY Press/Excelsior Editions) has been called "A gentle, quietly moving memoir about the power of
nature and the community to heal and inspire" by Will Schwalbe,
author of The End of Your Life Book Club.
Michael Steinberg, author of Still Pitching: A Memoir,
describes it as a "perceptive and deeply sensitive human
Clear Skies, Deep Water depicts Peyton's quest for
a sense of community after years of devastating personal and
financial loss. It's also the published version of the manuscript
she produced in completion of her MFA in Creative Writing at Carlow University—which she received in 2012.
Beth Peyton, MFA in Creative Writing '12, author of Clear Skies, Deep Water
With grace and poetry—and the warmth of a dear friend inviting
you over for a cup of coffee—Peyton depicts human resilience, the
beauty of the lake, and the humor and charm of life in a
quintessential small town.
She's crafted one of those books you just can't put down.
"This book is an exploration about why this place felt like
home," says Peyton. "The community really let us in and welcomed
Far from the tranquil life of Maple Springs, Peyton graduated
from Montana State University with a degree in sociology and spent
almost 20 years working with the sentencing of drug-involved
offenders, first within the State of Delaware's criminal justice
system and then nationally. But she also knew she wanted to
A writer's workshop at Chautauqua led Peyton to Carlow-where she
says she was exposed to "some of the biggest names in nonfiction,"
along with mentors and fellow students who engendered a true sense
"Ellie Wymard runs a really great program," says Peyton. "She
pays attention to all the details. Students are exposed to the
best, and the mentors are all very supportive."
Beth Peyton's new memoir,
Clear Skies, Deep Water: A Chautauqua Memoir (SUNY Press/Excelsior Editions)
She was also attracted by the opportunity to study in Ireland -
one of the signature features of the Carlow program. The Irish
literary tradition and creative use of language drew her in. "They
cherish words," she says.
"I am grateful," she writes in her memoir, "for the ringing
language of the Irish, and for that glorious sky that helped me see
my own sky more clearly."
Peyton's manuscript mentor at Carlow was Jane Candia Coleman,
award-winning author of 22 published books of fiction, poetry, and
memoir and a five-time nominee for the Pulitzer Prize.
Coleman calls Clear Skies, Deep Water a "love song
to life, marriage, and the healing power of place. Honest, tender,
at times hilarious, this is a memoir to be read and savored again
Look for Clear Skies, Deep Water: A Chautauqua Memoir at a bookstore near you!
"Jane was terrific," recalls Peyton. "She helped me realize that
writing nonfiction is really this interesting process of
self-discovery, of finding your own voice, and of tying your own
experience to something larger, more universal."
The publishing process is new for Peyton, but she's getting the
hang of it.
Today, Peyton is immersed in the whirlwind that comes with
having a freshly published book. She describes her current writing
schedule as "sporadic," but her captivating stories, found on her
blog at www.bethpeyton.com, visit
some of the same individuals from her book-who readily welcome
readers back to the transforming community that is Maple
Learn more about Carlow University's MFA in Creative Writing program