Two Joyce Carol Oates-related events will be presented at The New York International Fringe Festival (FringeNYC) in August:
The first is a play based on JCO’s novel Zombie. The play is adapted and performed by Bill Connington, who notes that “by the end of the play … you might feel some empathy for a man who has done horrible things. Because he is a human being. Even though the play is distressing, ultimately it is humanistic. And very much worthwhile doing.”
JCO’s “Zombie” was originally a short story published in the New Yorker, of all places. (It was, in fact, her first story ever in the New Yorker, which had, according to Invisible Writer, systematically rejected her stories for years—many of which went on to win major awards). JCO later expanded the piece, publishing it as a novel which won the Horror Writers Association’s Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a Novel. JCO has written a number of other stories of serial killers, notably The Triumph of the Spider Monkey (which was also adaped as a play), and The Rise of Life on Earth.
The second JCO-related piece at FringeNYC is an adaptation of JCO’s novella “The Corn Maiden,” about “three sullen Westchester teen girls [who] kidnap their 11-year-old classmate to be the subject of their own version of the Onigara Indian Corn Maiden ritual.” The story was first published in Transgressions, a collection of original novellas edited by Ed McBain.
We note the death of social-documentary photographer John Ranard last month, best known to Joyce Carol Oates fans for his work included in her book On Boxing. Quoted in The Villager, a close friend of Ranard’s said, “John was such a gentle, talented and unique human being—a true artist and individualist, with a deep curiosity about life and compassion for people. He will be remembered by so many for his beautiful spirit, as well as for his rich legacy of work.”
JCO spoke of his boxing photos in the Washington Post: “He came out to the house and showed me his pictures … They’re very poetic. They’re the highest kind of journalism, where it passes into art. They’re very unpretentious.”
Mary McCarthy Award
Joyce Carol Oates is the recipient of the 2008 Mary McCarthy Award, given at Bard College in recognition of engagement in the public sphere by an intellectual, artist, or writer. “Previous recipients of the award, which honors the combination of political and cultural commitment exemplified by this fearless, eloquent writer and teacher [McCarthy], include Elizabeth Hardwick, Susan Sontag, Jane Kramer, Janet Malcolm, Frances FitzGerald, Nadine Gordimer, Shirley Hazzard, Annie Proulx, and Joan Didion.”
Joyce Carol Oates has a number of new stories out now:
“Dear Joyce Carol,” in the Spring 2008 issue of Boulevard. This issue also bears the following dedication:
In Memory of
and Ontario Review Press,
Also out are “Suicide by Fitness Center” in the June 2008 issue of Harper’s Magazine.
And “The Beating” in the Spring 2008 issue of Conjunctions.
JCO will also have a new story in the following issue, Conjunctions:51, The Death Issue. The story is called “Dear Husband,” and will also be the title story of her forthcoming story collection in 2009. JCO notes, however, that the story had been written, and the title chosen for the book, long before the death of her husband Raymond Smith. It is just an ironic (and disturbing) coincidence.