Joyce Carol Oates celebrates the 40th novel in her 50-year writing career at the National Book Fest
Journalist, author, and literary critic for The Washington Post and National Public Radio's Fresh AirMaureen Corrigan introduced one of America's most prolific and widely acclaimed, award-winning authors, Joyce Carol Oates, to a standing room only audience under a big tent on the National Mall on a rainy Sunday afternoon at the 2013 National Book Festival. Beginning with reflections on her creative roots, from crayons to reading and storytelling and her childhood with only one book of Edgar Allen Poe short stories and a radio for entertainment on a farm in Lockport, NY, where she attended a one room schoolhouse with a windowsill for a library. Oates then introduced her latest bestseller, The Accursed, recently released in trade paperback (HarperCollins; November, 2013), the 40th novel in her illustrious writing career that began in 1963, and the last in her post-modern Gothic Saga, which began with Bellefleur in 1980, and was followed by A Bloodsmoor Romance (1982), and Mysteries of Winterthurn (1984). Oates then took questions from the audience on meta-linguistics, speech vs. written language, and literacy among today's youth; her views on adolescence, female maturation, and morality as portrayed in her famous 1996 short story , Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?; the differences in perspectives on life between youth and their elders; the response to The Accursed of her Princeton University colleagues, where she has been a professor since 1978 and a comparison of Woodrow Wilson's Princeton and the Princeton of today; the purpose and effects of her 'cooling off periods' in her writing process; identity issues in the context of the roles we play; and the work of Mark Twain.
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