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Novelist, Poet, Playwright & Essayist


There is no more versatile and accomplished American writer than Joyce Carol Oates. The author of many books, 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.

High Lonesome: New and Selected Stories 1966-2006 gathers Oates' short fiction from earlier collections and includes eleven additional tales that further demonstrate the artistry and originality of a writer who "has imbued the American short story with an edgy vitality and raw social surfaces" (Chicago Tribune). Included in this volume is Oates' most anthologized short story, "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?" Inspired by a song by Bob Dylan, it was later adapted as a film, Smooth Talk. It is one of a handful of Oates' works made into films or movies for television, including Foxfire: Confessions of a Girl Gang (2012), by Palme d'Or winner Laurent Cantet. Oates’ novel Blonde was adapted for the stage by Argia Coppola as Love is Blonde. In 2022 Blonde was adapted as a film for Netflix directed by Andrew Dominik and starring Ana de Armas. 

Her publications include The Accursed which Stephen King described as "the world's first postmodern Gothic novel," Carthage which was a New York Times bestseller, a memoir entitled The Lost Landscape: A Writer's MemoirA Book of American Martyrs, which received the Los Angeles Times book prize, New York Times bestseller My Life as a Rat, Soul at the White Heat: Inspiration, Obsession, and the Writing Life, and Blonde. Her books from 2022 were Extenuating Circumstances which received a 'star' review from Publishers Weekly, and Babysitter. Her books from 2023 were 48 Clues into the Disappearance of My Sister, and Zero Sum: Stories, she also edited a collection titled A Darker Shade of Noir: New Stories of Body Horror by Women Writers. Among her books for 2024 are a collection of letters written with Greg Johnson titled Joyce Carol Oates: Letters to a Biographer, a novel titled Butcher (Knopf, May 21, 2024), and a collection of stories titled Flint Kill Creek: Stories of Mystery and Suspense (Mysterious Press, November 5, 2024).

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. She has received the Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award by the National Book Critics Circle, the Mailer Prize for Lifetime Achievement, the PEN Center USA Award for Lifetime Achievement, the Poets & Writers Distinguished Lifetime Award, the Bilbao BBK Ja! Prize, The Jerusalem Prize, the Prix mondial Cino Del Duca, and the 2023 Taobuk Award for Literary Excellence. She is the subject of a documentary titled A Body in the Service of Mind, directed by Stig Björkman and produced by Mantaray Film.

Joyce Carol 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.

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