Oates named Humanist of the Year

Joyce Carol Oates, the Roger S. Berlind '52 Professor in the Humanities, has been named the 2007 Humanist of the Year by the American Humanist Association.

She was recognized at the association's annual conference last month in Portland, Ore.

"Ms. Oates has long been recognized as a giant of literature," said Roy Speckhardt, the association's executive director. "And now we're thrilled to formally honor her humanistic endeavors. [Her] work reflects a deep respect for humanist values and expresses a devotion to humanistic social change."

"Ms. Oates has strong humanist credentials," Speckhardt continued. "In particular, she has been outspoken in her feminism, often pointing out the bias in society against women and bringing attention to the challenges female writers face. She serves as an inspiration to all who struggle to be appreciated on their individual worth, rather than their sex."

Oates is the author of more than 70 novels, short story collections, literary criticism, essays, poetry volumes and plays. Her most recent book, "The Gravedigger's Daughter," was released earlier this year. She also is associate editor of the literary magazine, The Ontario Review, and has taught in Princeton's creative writing program since 1978.

Oates has earned the National Book Award, the PEN/Malamud Award honoring excellence in the art of the short story and the O. Henry Prize for continued achievement in the short story, among other honors.