Joyce Carol Oates
On this date in 1938, Joyce Carol Oates was born. She grew up in upstate New York, was valedictorian of her graduating class at Syracuse, and earned her Masters at the University of Wisconsin. She is the author of more than 70 books, including novels, poetry, short stories, literary criticism and essays. Several of her novels have been made into movies. Oates, one of the most recognized contemporary authors, has won numerous awards, including the O'Henry Prize for Continued Achievement in the Short Story, and the National Book Award. She has been twice nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature.
Oates was brought up in a Catholic family, and told Playboy (November 1993): "You're born Catholic and you're baptized, then you become a lapsed Catholic for the next 90 years. It's like an alcoholic--you're never not an alcoholic." She told The New York Times Magazine (Dec. 25, 1994): "I was never very religious." Oates is a professor at Princeton.
“I'm not a person who feels very friendly toward organized religion. I think people have been brainwashed through the centuries. The churches, particularly the Catholic Church, are patriarchal organizations that have been invested with power for the sake of the people in power, who happen to be men. It breeds corruption. I found going to church every Sunday and on holy days an exercise in extreme boredom. . . .
I've never felt that anyone who stands up and says 'Look, I have the answers' has the answers. . .
How can people still be superstitious, still believe in nonsense and astrology and grotesque demonic religions of every kind, every fundamentalist religion crowding us on all sides?”
—Joyce Carol Oates (1938-), interview, Playboy Magazine, November 1993 (Cited in Who's Who in Hell by Warren Allen Smith)
Compiled by Annie Laurie Gaylor
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