As a child, Joyce Carol Oates attended the same rural, upstate New York one-room schoolhouse that her mother once had. At 14, her grandmother gave her a typewriter, and she began writing novel after novel throughout high school and college. By 19, she had won a short-story contest sponsored by Mademoiselle
magazine. Next, she earned her master's degree in a single year at the University of Wisconsin and married her husband, Raymond Smith, after just a three-month courtship. At 28, her first novel, With Shuddering Fall
, won the National Book Award. One of the most prolific authors in recent history, Oates has written 56 novels, more than 30 collections of short stories, eight volumes of poetry, plays, innumerable essays and book reviews, as well as longer nonfiction works on a myriad of subjects—the poetry of Emily Dickinson, the fiction of Dostoyevsky and James Joyce
, studies of the gothic and horror genres and nonliterary subjects such as painter George Bellows and boxer Mike Tyson. She has also written a series of experimental suspense novels under the pseudonym Rosamond Smith. When not writing, Oates is a Distinguished Professor of Humanities at Princeton University.