Links Awards Bibliography Biography Preliminary Events Lecture

 
the first visiting author in a new campus literary series called The Writer's Voice.


Southwestern University enjoyed a public reading by Joyce Carol Oates, who read from her poetry volume titled Tenderness, and also from work in progress on Tuesday, November 14, in the Alma Thomas Theater.

Ms. Oates' reading was open to the public with no admission fee.

Following Ms. Oates' reading, she answered a number of questions from the audience. A reception and book signing followed in Caldwell-Carvey Foyer. The Southwestern Bookstore offered books for sale at the reception.


Biography

Joyce Carol Oates is the author of many distinguished books in several genres. In addition to numerous novels and short story collections, she has published volumes of poetry, books of plays, five books of literary criticism, and the book-length essay On Boxing. John Gardner has called her "one of the greatest writers of our time."

Ms. Oates is currently a finalist for the National Book Award for her most recent book, Blonde: A Novel (Ecco Press, 2000). The winner of the National Book Award will be announced in New York the evening following Ms. Oates' visit to Southwestern. Blonde is a fictionalized autobiography of Marilyn Monroe that draws on biographical and historical sources to evoke "the distinct consciousness of the woman and the unsparing reflection of the myth."

Ms. Oates' fiction documents a highly complex America populated with presumably ordinary families who experience common yet intense emotions and relationships and who frequently encounter violence. Her ambition is to create a fictional world that mirrors the ambiguity and felt experience of the real world of her time.  Her work incisively addresses issues of race, class, and sex.

"As Oates stated in a Chicago Tribune Book World discussion of her themes, 'I am concerned with only one thing: the moral and social conditions of my generation.'  Henry Louis Gates, Jr. of the Nation suggests that 'a future archeologist equipped with only her oeuvre could easily piece together the whole of postwar America.'" (–Contemporary Authors)

Ms. Oates' first book, a collection of short stories, was published in 1963 when she was 25, and since then she has published on average two books per year. With the publication of her novel them (Vanguard Press, 1969), Ms. Oates became one of the youngest writers to receive the National Book Award. The novel depicts three decades in the life of a poor family trapped in a cycle of violence and poverty in Detroit, and its publication secured her reputation.

On the occasion of the publication of You Must Remember This, critic James Atlas called it "an American Masterpiece." Many of Ms. Oates' short stories have been anthologized and become standards in survey courses on American literature.

Joyce Carol Oates is also a playwright whose plays have been performed widely in the United States and abroad. She has been involved with student productions and readings of her plays at Northwestern University, the University of Pennsylvania, Williams College, Brown University, and the Los Angeles Theatre Academy. Her plays have been collected in Twelve Plays (NAL/Dutton, 1991), The Perfectionist And Other Plays (Ecco Press, 1995), and New Plays (Ontario Review Press, 1998). In spring 1999 her book-length play The Passion of Henry David Thoreau was produced by the Northwestern University Drama School. She wrote the libretto for an opera made of her novel Black Water, most recently performed at L.A. Theater Works.

Recent books of poetry include The Time Traveller (Dutton, 1989) and The Invisible Woman: New and Selected Poems (Ontario Review Press, 1982).

Ms. Oates has also written several Gothic novels, and novels, including mysteries, under the pseudonym Rosamond Smith.

Born in upstate New York in 1938, Joyce Carol Oates received her BA from Syracuse University in 1960 and her MA from the University of Wisconsin in 1961. Since 1987 she has been Roger S. Berlind Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at Princeton University.

compiled from "Joyce Carol Oates" in Contemporary Authors, New Revision Series, volume 74, p.268-76 (Gale Group, 1999) and from various promotional materials and book reviews.


Awards/Honors

Mademoiselle college fiction award, 1959, for "In the Old World"
National Endowment for the Arts grants, 1966 and 1968
Guggenheim fellowship, 1967
O. Henry Award, 1967, for "In the Region of Ice," and 1973, for "The Dead" and 1983, for "My Warszawa"
Rosenthal Award, National Institute of Arts and Letters, 1968, for A Garden of Earthly Delights
National Book Award nomination, 1968, for A Garden of Earthly Delights and 1969, for Expensive People
National Book Award for fiction, 1970, for them
O. Henry Special Award for Continuing Achievement 1970 and 1986
Lotos Club Award of Merit, 1975
Pushcart Prize, 1976
Unholy Loves was selected by the American Library Association as a notable book of 1979
Bellefleur was nominated for a Los Angeles Times Book Prize in fiction, 1980
St. Louis Literary Award, 1988
Rhea Award for the short story, Dungannon Foundation, 1990
Alan Swallow Award for fiction, 1990
Cowinner, Heidemann Award for one-act plays, 1990
Bobst Award for Lifetime Achievement in fiction, 1990
National Book Award nomination, 1990, for Because It Is Bitter, and Because It Is My Heart
National Book Critics Circle Award nomination, 1993, for Black Water
Pulitzer Prize finalist, 1993, for Black Water
Bram Stoker Lifetime Achievement Award for horror fiction, 1994
Best new play nomination, American Theatre Critics Association, 1994, for The Perfectionist
Pulitzer Prize finalist, 1995, for What I Lived For
Bram Stoker Award for Horror, Horror Writers of America, 1996, Zombie
Fisk Fiction Prize, 1996, Zombie


Writings: Novels

With Shuddering Fall, 1964
A Garden of Earthly Delights, 1967
Expensive People, 1967
them, 1969
Wonderland, 1971
Do with Me What You Will, 1973
The Assassins: A Book of Hours, 1975
Triumph of the Spider Monkey: The First Person Confession of the Maniac Bobby Gotteson as Told to Joyce Carol Oates, 1976
Childwold, 1976
Son of the Morning, 1978
Unholy Loves, 1979
Cybele, 1979
Bellefleur, 1980
Angel of Light, 1981
A Bloodsmoor Romance, 1982
Mysteries of Winterthurn, 1984
Solstice, 1985
Marya: A Life, 1986
You Must Remember This, 1987
Lives of the Twins, 1988 (under pseudonym Rosamond Smith)
American Appetites, 1989
Soul/Mate, 1989 (under pseudonym Rosamond Smith)
Because It Is Bitter, and Because It Is My Heart, 1990
Nemesis, 1990 (under pseudonym Rosamond Smith)
I Lock the Door upon Myself, 1990
The Rise of Life on Earth, 1991
Snake Eyes, 1992 (under pseudonym Rosamond Smith)
Black Water, 1992
Foxfire: Confessions of a Girl Gang, 1993
What I Lived For, 1994
You Can't Catch Me, 1995 (under pseudonym Rosamond Smith)
Zombie, 1995
We Were the Mulvaneys, 1996
First Love: A Gothic Tale, 1996
Double Delight, 1997 (under pseudonym Rosamond Smith)
Man Crazy, 1997
My Heart Laid Bare, 1998
Starr Bright Will Be with You Soon, 1999 (under pseudonym Rosamond Smith)


Writings: Stories

By the North Gate, 1963
Upon the Sweeping Flood and Other Stories, 1966
The Wheel of Love and Other Stories, 1970
Marriages and Infidelities, 1972
The Goddess and Other Women, 1974
Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?: Stories of Young America, 1994 (expanded edition)
The Hungry Ghosts: Seven Allusive Comedies, 1974
The Poisoned Kiss and Other Stories from the Portuguese, 1975
The Seduction and Other Stories, 1975
Crossing the Border: Fifteen Tales, 1976
Night Side: Eighteen Tales, 1977
All the Good People I've Left Behind, 1978
The Lamb of Abyssalia, 1980
A Sentimental Education: Stories, 1981
Last Days: Stories, 1984
Wild Nights, 1985
Raven's Wing: Stories, 1986
The Assignation: Stories, 1988
Where Is Here?: Stories, 1992
Heat: And Other Stories, 1992
Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?: Selected Early Stories, 1993
Haunted: Tales of the Grotesque, 1994
Will You Always Love Me? and Other Stories, 1995


Writings: Poems

Women in Love and Other Poems, 1968
Anonymous Sins and Other Poems, 1969
Love and Its Derangements: Poems, 1970
Angel Fire, 1973
Dreaming America, 1973
Love And Its Derangements and Other Poems, 1974
The Fabulous Beasts, 1975
Season of Peril, 1977
Women Whose Lives Are Food, Men Whose Lives Are Money: Poems, 1978
The Stepfather, 1978
Celestial Timepiece, 1981
Invisible Woman: New and Selected Poems, 1970-1972, 1982
The Luxury of Sin, 1983
The Time Traveler, 1989
Tenderness, 1996


Writings: Nonfiction

The Edge of Impossibility: Tragic Forms in Literature, 1972
The Hostile Sun: The Poetry of D. H. Lawrence, 1973
New Heaven, New Earth: The Visionary Experience in Literature, 1974
Contraries: Essays, 1981
The Profane Art: Essays and Reviews, 1983
On Boxing, 1994 (expanded edition)
Artist in Residence, 1987 (with Eileen T. Bender)
(Woman) Writer: Occasions and Opportunities, 1988
Conversations with Joyce Carol Oates, 1989 (edited by Lee Milazzo)


Writings: Plays

The Sweet Enemy, 1965
Sunday Dinner, 1970
Ontological Proof of My Existence, 1970
Miracle Play, 1974
Three Plays, 1980
Presque Isle, 1984
Triumph of the Spider Monkey, 1985
American Holiday, 1990
In Darkest America: Two Plays, 1991
I Stand Before You Naked, 1991
How Do You Like Your Meat?, 1991
Twelve Plays, 1991
Black, 1992
Gulf War, 1992
The Secret Mirror, 1992
The Rehearsal, 1993
The Perfectionist, 1993
The Truth-Teller, 1993
The Perfectionist and Other Plays, 1995
HERE SHE IS!, 1995
New Plays, 1998


Writings: Other

Contributor of fiction, poetry, and nonfiction to periodicals, including New York Times Book Review, New York Times Magazine, New York Review of Books, New Yorker, Harper's, Times Literary Supplement, Michigan Quarterly Review, Mademoiselle, Vogue, Hudson Review, Paris Review, Grand Street, Atlantic, Poetry, and Esquire.

Editor with husband, Raymond Smith, of Ontario Review.


Links

Celestial Timepiece: A Joyce Carol Oates Home Page" - a resource for fans, students, and scholars of Joyce Carol Oates's work. Features news, works, research, biography, discussion, awards, photos, et al.


Preliminary Events

During her visit last November, Ms. Oates met with students and faculty in classes and in social events. Before her visit to campus, the library sponsored informal book discussions and a panel discussion which centered around Ms. Oates' works On Boxing and Solstice.

On Boxing (Ecco Press, 1994), a book-length essay, is a fascinating study of the 'sweet science.' It has been widely lauded for its powerful insights on the brutal sport.  Oates explores boxing from multiple perspectives: historical, political, and sociological, to name just a few. Her multifaceted approach makes this book "good fare for fans and haters alike," according to a reviewer.

Solstice, (Dutton, 1985), a novel, explores the obsessive friendship that develops between two very different women. Recently divorced Monica Jensen is blond, sweet and conventional, while painter Sheila Trask is a dark, aloof nonconformist. The twisted course of their relationship over a number of months provides a gripping psychological drama.

    Monday, October 9, from noon to 1 p.m. in McCombs Campus Center
    Faculty Forum–Book Discussion Group–On Boxing
    Facilitators: Walt Herbert, Laura Hobgood-Oster, Bob Brody, Dan Hilliard

    Friday, October 27, from 4 to 5 p.m. in the SLC Prothro Room
    Homecoming Faculty Panel Discussion–On Boxing
    Panel: Walt Herbert, Laura Hobgood-Oster, Bob Brody, Dan Hilliard

    Wednesday, November 1, from 4 to 5 p.m. in the SLC Prothro Room
    Book Discussion Group–Solstice
    Facilitators: Shannon Winnubst, David Olson, Karen Habib


Ms. Oates' reading was funded by the Susan Vaughan Foundation, Inc. of Houston. This is the first in what we hope to establish as an annual series. It is our intent that the series will bring a writer of national or international prominence to the Southwestern University campus each year.

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