Joyce Carol Oates

Novelist, essayist, and poet Joyce Carol Oates was born in Lockport, New York. She earned a BA from Syracuse University, where she graduated valedictorian, and an MA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
 
One of the most prolific American writers of the 20th century, Oates counts historical biographies, depictions of working class families, and magical realist Gothic fiction among her oeuvre. She often depicts hardships and violence in American towns, and has received both critical and popular acclaim in her 50-year career. In an interview for the Paris Review, she says: “I try to write books that can be read in one way by a literal-minded reader, and in quite another way by a reader alert to symbolic abbreviation and parodistic elements. And yet, it's the same book—or nearly. A trompe l'oeil, a work of ‘as if.’”
 
Oates is the author of over 70 books, including the novels them (1969), winner of the National Book Award; Bellefleur (1980); You Must Remember This (1987); Because It Is Bitter, and Because It Is My Heart (1990); We Were the Mulvaneys (1996); Blonde (2000), winner of the National Book Award; The Gravedigger’s Daughter (2007); The Accursed (2013); The Book of American Martyrs (2017); and the story collection Dis mem ber (2017). Her short stories and essays have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, The Atlantic, and Harper’s, and have been widely anthologized.
 
Oates has also authored ten books of poetry, including Women In Love and Other Poems (1968), Love and Its Derangements (1970), The Time Traveler (1989), and Tenderness (1996). On her poetry, critic Doris Earnshaw said, “Oates’s poetry … forms a body of work on its own merits and does not need to be interpreted only as an adjunct to her novels and short stories. … Poetry’s compressed language releases its power more gradually, but intelligence and verbal brilliance combined with the ‘talk style’ rhythm that is not yet much understood should bring a wider audience to these poems.”
 
Oates is the winner of the O. Henry Award, the National Humanities Medal, the Pivano Award, the Norman Mailer Prize for Lifetime Achievement, the Peggy V. Helmerich Distinguished Author Award, the PEN/Malamud Award, the Rae Award for the Short Story, and the Stone Award for Lifetime Literary Achievement. She has taught at the University of Detroit, the University of Windsor, and Princeton University, and has edited The Ontario Review. She is currently a visiting distinguished writer-in-residence in the graduate program at New York University. Her papers are held at Syracuse University Libraries.

  • Appeared in Poetry Magazine