Joyce Carol Oates

February 15-16, 2010


Joyce Carol Oates The author of many distinguished books in several genres, Joyce Carol Oates is one of America's most versatile contemporary writers. In addition to numerous novels and short story collections, she has published poetry, plays, literary criticism, and the book-length essay On Boxing.

Ms. Oates's writing has earned her much praise and many awards, including the 2005 Prix Femina, France's literary prize for the best novel published in their country, for The Falls, 2004 Fairfax Prize for Lifetime Achievement in the Literary Arts, PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in short fiction, the Rosenthal Award from the American Academy - Institute of Arts and Letters, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the O'Henry Prize for Continued Achievement in the Short Story, the National Book Award for her novel Them, and in 1978, membership in the American Academy-Institute. What I Lived For was nominated for the 1995 PEN/Faulkner Award. In 1999 Ms. Oates was nominated for the Nobel Prize for the third time. She is the Roger S. Berlind Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at Princeton University.

Often Ms. Oates's vision is that of presumably ordinary American 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. Critic James Atlas said that, "[t]he engine of Oates's immense talent is powered by a fecund imagination and an immense knowledge of literature, as all her writing - both fiction and nonfiction - made plain."

PennSound MP3 Files

Discussion with Joyce Carol Oates, February 16, 2010

  1. on "A Princeton Idyll" (9:03): MP3
  2. reading from and discussing Wild Nights (13:59): MP3
  3. on the thrill of writing about people in extremes (4:14): MP3
  4. on dealing with people's private writings and letters (6:44): MP3
  5. on the difference between inventing characters completely v. writing from biographical material (5:31): MP3
  6. on the ending of "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?" (3:36): MP3
  7. on using a mediated voice (3:27): MP3
  8. on inhabiting her characters and Huckleberry Finn (2:43): MP3
  9. on dramatizing ethical issues (5:47): MP3
  10. on the writing and revision process (2:16): MP3
  11. on writing and boxing (6:09): MP3
  12. reading from On Boxing (4:37): MP3