Joyce Carol Oates published her first “professional” work fifty years ago this year.
When she was a junior at Syracuse University, JCO entered her short story “In the Old World” in the Mademoiselle College Fiction Competition. The story was selected as co-winner of the competition (two winners each year) and was published in the August 1959 issue.
JCO was in good company, as Mademoiselle had also published the early work of Truman Capote, Flannery O’Connor, and Sylvia Plath (who had also won the competition).
“In the Old World” was subsequently included in JCO’s first book in 1963, the story collection By the North Gate.
JCO published several more stories and poems in Mademoiselle over the years, and was a regular contributor of book reviews for the magazine from 1979 to 1980.
Since the appearance of “In the Old Word,” JCO has published close to 800 short stories, including acknowledged classics such as “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been,” and many others collected in award anthologies such as the Best American Short Stories; the O Henry Prize Stories; the Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror; etc. Fourteen of JCO’s most recent stories, including two award-winners, are collected in Dear Husband, available on March 31.
Joyce Carol Oates is among the great short story masters.