Joyce Carol Oates is an award-winning American author, poet, and literary critic. Her most famous novels, them (1969), We Were the Mulvaneys (1996), and Blonde (2000), have been adapted into films.
During her writing career, Oates has won numerous professional awards, including the National Book Award, the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in Short Fiction, the National Humanities Medal, and the Jerusalem Prize.
She published several novels under the pen names Rosamond Smith and Lauren Kelly.
Joyce Carol Oates was born in Lockport, New York. She spent her childhood in rural upstate New York, where she developed a passion for literature and writing at a young age.
Oates earned a Bachelor's degree in English from Syracuse University. She received her MA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1961 and her Ph.D. in English in 1963.
Oates began her prolific writing career after completing her doctoral studies. She debuted with the novel, With Shuddering Fall, in 1964. Her first collection of short stories, By the North Gate, came out in 1963 while she was still a graduate student.
Her breakthrough was the novel them (1969), which won the National Book Award for Fiction and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.
Oates is a very prolific author. She has published dozens of novels, poetry collections, hundreds of short stories, and essays. In 1989 The New York Times wrote that Oates's "name is synonymous with productivity." Her works often explore themes of violence, power, and the dark side of human nature.
One of her most notable works is the biographical fiction Blonde, which reimagines the life of Marilyn Monroe. It also was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize (2001) and the National Book Award (2000).
In addition to writing, Oates is a distinguished professor of creative writing at Princeton University, where she has taught since 1978. She is also a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Joyce Carol Oates currently resides in Princeton, New Jersey, and continues to write.