Cheryl Truman, books editor of the Lexington Herald-Leader, profiles and interviews Joyce Carol Oates in advance of the Kentucky Women Writers Conference.

Tidbits of interest:

Oates didn’t used to be much of a TV watcher but admits immersing herself in tabloid-news TV to research My Sister, My Love: Bill O’Reilly, Geraldo Rivera and Nancy Grace (“I think sometimes she has a moral agenda that is laudable,” Oates says of Grace. “Sometimes she just seems to be on attack.”).

Truman says that JCO no longer reads the print edition of the New York Times, instead favoring the online edition, which is “very rich, whereas the newspaper itself was very finite.”

Finally, Truman asks if JCO sees herself winning the Nobel Prize:

No. Her husband is dead now, and so are her parents (“It’s one’s parents who care,” she says). Who’s going to celebrate with her, be proud of her now? Winning the Nobel would be, she says, just a little sad.

(Nothing can replace family; but for what it’s worth, I would celebrate with you, Joyce. I would be proud. You’d be surprised just how many of us would.)

In a related article, Truman interviews two conference presenters and asks them about JCO.

Novelsit Laura Benedict: “Every writer has heroes — writers to whose work they turn again and again when they forget how to write and of whom they say, ‘I wish I could write like that.’ Certainly Joyce is one of those writers for me, and I feel privileged just to be in the same room with her.”

Poet Lisa Williams: “Most recently I’ve been reading her journals, just published, which are absorbing and inspiring. One of my favorites of her novels — though I’ve by no means read them all — is I’ll Take You There. I deeply appreciate the strange young woman at the center of that story, and the period of time it takes place in, 1960, is of special interest to me as a sort of turning point for women as social beings and writers.”


  1. (Nothing can replace family; but for what it’s worth, I would celebrate with you, Joyce. I would be proud. You’d be surprised just how many of us would.)

    Yes, many of her loyal readers would be proud indeed if she should win the Nobel!


  2. I dont know why certain friends of JCO must bring up the fact that she is part Jewish, as if this puts the icing on the cake…..for them. Too bad no one can mention the J word in America unless to point out the J is receiving a prize. Faulkner is of course always mentioned as a WASP, of an old southern slave holding family…maybe if one were allowed to say, Oh, so and so is a Jew, you know those people with the exterminating camp of Gaza, this bigotry passing for ethnic pride would die down a little.


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