Joyce Carol Oates

Joyce Carol Oates in a New Jersey-based essayist, poet, short story writer and novelist.

Selected Works:

ThemBlack WaterWhat I Lived For; Blonde; Bellefluer; You Must Remember This; "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?"


1967 O. Henry Award (In the Region of Ice), 1970 National Book Award for Fiction (Them), 1973 O. Henry Award (The Dead), Nominee for 1993, 1995, 2001 Pulitzer Prizes for Fiction (Black Water, What I Lived For, Blonde), Nominee for 2007 National Book Critics Circle Award in Fiction (The Gravedigger's Daughter)

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Which one or two American books or plays would you yourself recommend to the foreign leaders?

I would choose three books: Moby Dick, Leaves of Grass and The Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson.

Who in your childhood—for example, parent or teacher—encouraged you to read books, and which one or two books do you remember most fondly?

My grandmother gave me a handsome illustrated copy of Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass when I was about nine years old. This was probably the most important book of my childhood—virtually memorized by me at a young age.

Which books by writers of the other G8 countries (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom) have been most important to you as a writer?

Books from abroad especially important to me as a writer are James Joyce's Dubliners, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Ulysses and Dostoevsky's Notes from Underground, Crime and Punishment and The Brothers Karamazov.

What is the Power of the Word Exhibit?

Power of the Word: Leaders, Readers and Writers is the first online exhibition of The American Writers Museum. As world leaders gather in the U.S. this spring, The American Writers Museum Foundation is inviting American writers and readers to explore the power of the word and join in a discussion of how American books can help readers in other parts of the world better understand our culture.

Leaders Gallery

An exploration into what some of the world’s most powerful leaders like to read, and how reading has influenced them.

Writers Gallery

American writers comment on their early experiences with reading and name the books they think world leaders should read in order to better understand American culture.

Readers Gallery

An interactive, open forum where readers are invited to join the discussion by answering the question: Which American works of literature do you think leaders from other nations should read in order to gain a better understanding of America?

We would like to thank our exhibit sponsors for their generous support:


What is The American Writers Museum?

The mission of The American Writers Museum Foundation is to establish the first national museum in the United States dedicated to engaging the public in celebrating American writers and exploring their influence on our history, our identity, our culture and our daily lives. Learn more at