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Joyce Carol Oates (Jeff Sciortino)

Joyce Carol Oates on "Going Home Again"

Joyce Carol Oates on "Going Home Again"

smithsonian.com

At the end of the essay, you say that the question, “Do you think that you would be the writer you are today if you’d had a middle-class or wealthy background?” asked by an audience member during your presentation, didn’t seem very Lockportian to you. Why is that?
I've never considered Lockport a place where theoretical, philosophical, or intellectual ideas were much discussed—but maybe I've been mistaken. It was a very welcome surprise.

What do you like about the Princeton area, where you live now?
Princeton University is where I teach, so naturally, it’s sensible for me to be here. It’s a rural, suburban area where I live, about four miles outside Princeton. I can look out my window and see part of a lake, lots of trees. We live on three acres of land. It’s very peaceful here. I can get a lot of work done. And Princeton University is one of the great universities of the world, with a wonderful library and extremely wonderful colleagues and friends who live here. The intellectuals, fellow writers and poets in the area are very concentrated. It’s a wonderful community.

I’ve been here since 1978. I hope to stay here the rest of my life. My husband teaches at the university, as I do, so we’re very settled here. We have a new house. We just moved in. He’s my second husband. My first husband died in February 2008, and I remarried in March 2009. We just have a complete life here.

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