A Conversation With Joyce Carol Oates

Sep 9, 2015

Joyce Carol Oates has been writing since before she could read, making "books" by drawing and coloring characters in her tablet. She preferred upright chickens and cats in confrontational poses and tried hard to make her books look like the ones read by adults.  

She's wanted to be a writer since inspired by Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. Those books changed her life and by extension, ours. 

She is one of America's most esteemed writers, writing more than 40 novels and volumes of short stories and poems. She's the recipient of numerous awards including the National Medal of Humanities. After a lifetime of writing, she's ready to look back on her life and examine her family and childhood through adult eyes.

Her new memoir, The Lost Landscape: A Writer's Coming of Ageis not supposed to be a complete memoir of her life, says Oates, but something more precious and elusive: how the "landscape" of her earliest life, both metaphorically and geographically, inspired her wish to write. She toys with inspiration, obsession and the evaporative nature of memory as her natural reticence competes with her desire to share her most private self.


  • Joyce Carol Oates - Author and Distinguished Professor of Humanities at Princeton University, and recipient of multiple awards, including the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Lifetime Achievement Award 


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Colin McEnroe and Chion Wolf contributed to this show.