Famed novelist Joyce Carol Oates to speak for “Celebrating Our Books” colloquium Dec. 3

Sixth annual event sponsored by Center for the Humanities and Washington University Libraries

Joyce Carol Oates, one of America’s most important and distinguished authors, three times nominated for the Nobel Prize for Literature, will deliver the keynote address, titled “The Writer’s (Secret) Life: Woundedness, Rejection, and Inspiration,” for “Celebrating Our Books, Recognizing Our Authors,” Washington University’s sixth annual faculty book colloquium.

Joyce Carol Oates
Joyce Carol Oates

“Celebrating Our Books” honors the work of scholars from across the arts and sciences disciplines. Featured faculty presenters, who will present their works, are Ahmet T. Karamustafa, professor of history and religious studies in Arts & Sciences, who will speak on his book, Sufism: The Formative Period (2007); and Marina MacKay, assistant professor of English in Arts & Sciences, who will speak on her book, Modernism and World War II (2007).

The event — sponsored by the Center for the Humanities in Arts & Sciences and University Libraries — is free and open to the public and begins at 5 p.m. Monday, Dec. 3, in Holmes Lounge.

Holmes Lounge is located in Ridgley Hall, on the west side of Brookings Quadrangle, near the intersection of Brookings and Hoyt drives. For more information, call (314) 935-5576 or email cenhum@artsci.wustl.edu.

In conjunction with “Celebrating Our Books,” the Washington University Campus Store will display volumes by colloquium participants, all of which will be available for purchase. Authors will be available after the colloquium to sign their works.

Oates began her prolific career in 1963 with the novel By the North Gate. In the years since she has authored more than three dozen books, ranging from novels and short-story collections to plays, poetry, five books of literary criticism and the book-length essay On Boxing. John Gardner has called her “one of the greatest writers of our time.”

Oates’ writing has earned her much praise and many awards, including the 2005 Prix Femina, France’s literary prize for the best novel published in its country; the 2004 Fairfax Prize for Lifetime Achievement in the Literary Arts; PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in short fiction; Rosenthal Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters; a Guggenheim fellowship; the O’Henry Prize for Continued Achievement in the Short Story; National Book Award for her novel Them; and in 1978, membership in the American Academy-Institute. What I Lived For was nominated for the 1995 PEN/Faulkner Award. In 1999 she was nominated for the Nobel Prize for the third time.

Karamustafa’s Sufism: The Formative Period is a comprehensive historical overview of the formative period of Sufism, the major mystical tradition in Islam, from the ninth to the twelfth century. Based on a fresh reading of the primary sources and the integration of the findings of recent scholarship on the subject, Karamustafa presents a unified narrative of Sufism’s historical development within an innovative analytical framework.

MacKay’s Modernism and World War II reconstructs the political and aesthetic contexts of mid-century writing by Virginia Woolf, T. S. Eliot, Rebecca West, Henry Green and Evelyn Waugh in order to describe how the war transformed literary modernism in England. In recovering how the writings of these major authors engaged other texts of their time—political discourses, mass and middlebrow culture—this study reveals how World War II brought to the surface the underlying politics of modernism’s aesthetic practices.

Calendar Summary

WHO: Authors Joyce Carol Oates, Ahmet T. Karamustafa and Marina MacKay

WHAT: “Celebrating Our Books, Recognizing Our Authors”

WHEN: 5 p.m. Monday, Dec. 3

WHERE: Holmes Lounge, Ridgley Hall

COST: Free

SPONSOR: Center for the Humanities and Washington University Libraries

INFORMATION: (314) 935-5576 or cenhum@artsci.wustl.edu