Joyce Carol Oates biography

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Joyce Carol Oates
Photo by Marion Ettlinger

Joyce Carol Oates

Joyce Carol Oates Biography

Joyce Carol Oates was born in Lockport, New York, in 1938 and grew up on the family farm where she developed a love of literature and writing. She earned a scholarship to Syracuse University and graduated valedictorian. She then took a masters degree, after which she started teaching at the University of Detroit where she met her first husband Raymond J Smith. In the late '60s, they moved to the University of Windsor in Canada, where they were co-editors of the literary quaterly publication The Ontario Review. In the late 1970s she took a teaching position at Princeton University where she is currently the Roger S. Berlind Distinguished Professor of the Humanities.

She published her first book in 1963, and has published over 40 novels since as well as many other works including short stories, poetry, plays and nonfiction. She has won many awards including the National Book Award and the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in Short Fiction, and been nominated for a number of others including the Pulitzer Prize twice. She has written some of the most enduring fiction of our time, including the national bestsellers We Were the Mulvaneys and Blonde, which was nominated for the National Book Award. She has been a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters since 1978.

Raymond Smith died in 2008. After a period of intense grieving, Oates remarried in 2009. She recorded thoughts on her 47 year marriage to Smith, and his death in her 2011 memoir A Widow's Story.

Partial Bibliography

A Widow's Story (2011)

With Shuddering Fall (1964)
Wonderland (1971)
Do with Me What You Will (1973)
Miracle Play (1974)
The Assassins: A Book of Hours (1975)
The Childwold (1976)
The Triumph of the Spider Monkey (1976)
Son of the Morning (1978)
Cybele (1979)
Unholy Loves (1979)
Bellefleur (1980)
Angel of Light (1981)
A Bloodsmoor Romance (1982)
Luxury of Sin (1983)
Mysteries of Winterthurn (1984)
Solstice (1984)
Marya: A Life (1986)
Raven's Wing (1986)
You Must Remember This (1987)
American Appetites (1989)
Because It Is Bitter, and Because It Is My Heart (1990)
I Lock My Door Upon Myself (1990)
Black Water (1992)
Foxfire: Confessions of a Girl Gang (1993)
What I Lived For (1994)
Zombie (1995)
First Love (1996)
We Were the Mulvaneys (1996)
Man Crazy (1997)
Come Meet Muffin! (1998)
My Heart Laid Bare (1998)
Broke Heart Blues (1999)
Starr Bright Will Be With You Soon (1999)
Blonde (2000)
The Barrens (2001)
Beasts (2001)
Middle-Age: A Romance (2001)
Big Mouth and Ugly Girl (2002)
I'll Take You There (2002)
Freaky Green Eyes (2003)
Rape: A Love Story (2003)
The Tattooed Girl (2003)
The Falls (2004)
Sexy (2005 - young adults)
Missing Mom (2005)
Black Girl / White Girl (2006)
The Gravedigger's Daughter (2007)
My Sister, My Love (2008)
Little Bird of Heaven (2009)
Mudwoman (2012)
Daddy Love (2013)
The Accursed (2013)
Carthage (2014)
The Sacrifice (2015)
Jack of Spades (2015)

Collections/Short Stories/Poems
By the North Gate (1963)
Upon the Sweeping Flood: And Other Stories (1966)
Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?: Stories of Young America (1966)
Anonymous Sins: And Other Poems (poems) (1969)
Cupid and Psyche (1970)
Love and Its Derangements: Poems (poems) (1970)
The Wheel of Love (1970)
Wild Saturday: And Other Stories (1970)
Marriages and Infidelities (1972)
The Goddess and Other Women (1974)
The Hungry Ghosts: Seven Allusive Comedies (1974)
The Fabulous Beasts (poems) (1975)
The Poisoned Kiss: And Other Stories from the Portuguese (1975) (with Fernandes)
The Seduction: And Other Stories (1975)
Crossing the Border: Fifteen Tales (1976)
Night-Side: 18 Tales (1977)
All the Good People I've Left Behind (1978)
Women Whose Lives Are Food, Men Whose Lives Are Money: Poems (poems) (1978)
Three Plays (1980)
A Sentimental Education (1981)
Invisible Woman (1982)
Last Days (1984)
The Time Traveler: Poems (poems) (1987)
The Assignation (1988)
Oates in Exile (1990)
Demon: And other tales (1991)
aka Demon
Heat: And Other Stories (1991)
Twelve Plays (1991)
Where Is Here?: Stories (1992)
Haunted: Tales of the Grotesque (1994)
Will You Always Love Me?: And Other Stories (1994)
The Perfectionist: And Other Plays (1995)
The Collector of Hearts: New Tales of the Grotesque (1996)
Tenderness: Poems (poems) (1996)
New Plays (1998)
Where I've Been, And Where I'm Going: Essays, Reviews, and Prose (1999)
Faithless: Tales of Transgression (2001)
Small Avalanches: And Other Stories (2003)
I Am No One You Know: Stories (2004)
The Female of the Species: Tales of Mystery and Suspense (2006)
High Lonesome: New & Selected Stories, 1966-2006 (2006)
The Museum of Dr. Moses: Tales of Mystery and Suspense (2007)
Wild Nights! (2008)
Dear Husband (2009)
Sourland: Stories (2010)
In Rough Country (2010)
Give Me Your Heart: Tales of Mystery and Suspense (2011)
The Corn Maiden and Other Nightmares (2011)
Black Dahlia & White Rose (2012)
Evil Eye: Four Novellas of Love Gone Wrong (2013)
High Crime Area: Tales of Darkness and Dread (2014)
Lovely, Dark, Deep (2014)

This biography was last updated on 01/07/2016.

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A Conversation With Joyce Carol Oates

Niagara Falls truly comes alive in the story; you describe its power and beauty in exquisite detail and during different seasons. How did your connection with Niagara Falls contribute to writing the book?
I grew up in the countryside not far from Niagara Falls and we often visited there. Even in western New York State, a region that is haunting to me, Niagara Falls was always special.

For those who have never been to Niagara Falls, would you recommend it? What would you say to encourage people to visit?
This is a difficult question. Of course, the Falls are spectacular. But more spectacular on the Canadian side of the border. The Canadian Niagara Falls is Disneyland-commercial; the American side is somewhat shabby and economically depressed. Only visit in reasonably warm weather.

The reader knows things about Gilbert that Ariah does not, including a first-hand account of what drove him to commit suicide. How does having this information enhance the reading of the story?
Many suicides, especially in the past, have surely been as a consequence of sexual anxiety. The reader understands Gilbert's "secret" to a degree Gilbert doesn't understand himself, while Ariah can ...

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Books by this Author

Books by Joyce Carol Oates at BookBrowse
The Doll-Master and Other Tales of Terror jacket Jack of Spades jacket Carthage jacket Evil Eye jacket
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