Joyce Carol Oates has penned bestselling novels, critically acclaimed collections of short fiction, as well as essays, plays, poetry, a memoir, "A Widow's Story", and an unlikely bestseller, "On Boxing." Her remarkable literary industry—which includes work as an editor and anthologist—spans forms, themes, topics, and genres. Writing in The Nation, critic Henry Louis Gates Jr. said, "A future archeologist equipped only with her oeuvre could easily piece together the whole of postwar America." In 2010, reflecting the widespread esteem in which her work is held, President Barack Obama awarded Oates the National Humanities Medal.
Best known for her fiction, Oates' novels include "them", which won the National Book Award; "Blonde", a bold reimagining of the inner life of Marilyn Monroe; "The Falls", which won the France's Prix Femina; "The Gravedigger’s Daughter" and "Little Bird of Heaven", each set in upstate New York; and "We Were the Mulvaneys", which follows the disintegration of an American family and which became a bestseller after being selected by Oprah's Book Club. In 2019 she will release a novel, "My Life as a Rat" (Ecco Press, June 4, 2019), and a children’s book "The New Kitten" (HarperCollins, June 25, 2019).
Since 1963, forty of Oates’s books have been included on the New York Times list of notable books of the year. Among her many honors are two O. Henry Prizes and two Bram Stoker Awards, the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in Short Fiction, World Fantasy Award, and M. L. Rosenthal Award from the National Institute of Arts and Letters. In 2009, Oates was given the Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award by the National Book Critics Circle. In 2012, she was awarded both the Mailer Prize for Lifetime Achievement and the PEN Center USA Award for Lifetime Achievement. In March 2014 she was awarded the Poets & Writers Distinguished Lifetime Award, and in 2017 the Bilbao BBK Ja! Prize.
Oates is the Roger S. Berlind Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at Princeton University, and since 1978, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Ms. Oates’ will deliver the Gould Center for Humanistic Studies' 2019 Quinones Lecture.
Photo credit: Dustin Cohen
Food for Thought: Podcast with Joyce Carol Oates