Born on November 9, 1945 in Lackawanna, New York, Michael Joyce received a fellowship to the University of Iowa Writers Workshop and graduated with an MFA in 1974. After publishing his first print novel, The War Outside Ireland (1982), Joyce discovered that he wanted to write novels that would change in successive readings. He began a collaboration with Natalie Dehn, receiving one-year fellowship to Yale University in 1984 to experiment with new forms of writing. This work led to his collaboration with Jay Bolter and John B. Smith. Together they developed Storyspace, the hypertext computer software Joyce later used to write his first hypertext fiction piece, afternoon, a story (1987). Writing in The New York Times, Robert Coover described afternoon as "the granddaddy of hypertext fictions . . . a legend."