Media Advisory: Author Joyce Carol Oates to be Townsend Center guest

ATTENTION: Reporters covering literature, arts and humanities


Acclaimed author Joyce Carol Oates will deliver a public lecture on the writer’s life, while visiting the University of California, Berkeley, as the 2011 Avenali Chair at UC Berkeley’s Townsend Center for the Humanities.

Oates has penned more than 50 novels, as well as poetry, plays, novellas, short stories, essays, book reviews and magazine pieces, and is known for a focus on violence and real events. She is the recipient of numerous awards – including the 1969 National Book Award for “them,” and, in 1996, the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in Short Fiction and the Bram Stoker Award for her novel, “Zombie.”

The Roger S. Berlind Distinguished Professor of Humanities at Princeton University, Oates has long been considered a favorite to someday win the Nobel Prize in Literature.


Oates will deliver the Avenali Lecture, titled “The Writer’s (Secret) Life: Rejection, Woundedness and Inspiration,” at 6 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 10.

Free tickets are required for admission and will be issued starting at 5 p.m. on Feb. 10, with a limit of one ticket per person.

Following up on her lecture, Oates also will participate in a panel discussion with Vikram Chandra and Dori Hale of UC Berkeley’s English Department and with Wendy Lesser, editor of “The Threepenny Review” literary magazine, from noon to 2 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 11. Anthony J. Cascardi, director of the Townsend Center, will moderate.


The Feb. 10 lecture will take place in Sibley Auditorium on the north side of campus. Tickets will be issued at the auditorium.

The Feb. 11 panel will take place in the Maude Fife Room, 315 Wheeler Hall, near the center of campus just northeast of Sather Gate.

A campus map is online at



Previous Avenali Lecturers have included poet Seamus Heaney, architect and Vietnam Memorial designer Maya Lin, Shakespearean scholar Stephen Greenblatt, photojournalist Sebastião Salgado, dance and book critic Joan Acocella, writer and illustrator Maurice Sendak, Gerald Early, a Washington University professor and essayist on African American culture, jazz and sports, and others. The Oates lecture on the writer’s life will not be webcast later.