Wonderland is a special place for prolific writer Joyce Carol Oates. The first important book of her life was Lewis Carrolls Alices Adventures in Wonderland, a Christmas gift from her grandmother when Oates was 8 years old.
Captivated by Sir John Tenniels Boschlike illustrations as well as by Alices fantastic yet somehow plausible adventure down the rabbit hole, Oates has deftly woven Wonderlands nightmare-survival material into her 36 novels.
In 1971 Oates titled one of her novels Wonderland. She emphasized that the term referred to both America as a region of wonders, and the human brain as a region of wonderswonders can be both dream and nightmare.
Oatess latest novel, The Gravediggers Daughter, is another long, dark, violent, Wonderland adventure. The book focuses on a European gravediggers daughter reborn in America. Where Alice survives the rabbit hole, Rebecca Schwart survives the gravedigger and his physical and mental graves.
Oatess novel is dedicated to her grandmother who actually was a gravediggers daughter. In a sense, Oates has given her grandmother a gift like the one Oates received as a childa monument to feminine endurance.
After receiving three past nominations, Oates may finally win the Nobel Prize in Literature for The Gravediggers Daughter.
Joyce Carol Oates will be at Burlingtons Waterfront Theater Film House (3rd Floor), Lake St & College St, on Sept. 15 from 4:30 to 6:00 p.m. as part of the 3rd annual Burlington Book Festival. She will read from and discuss her works, and a book signing will follow. For further info about the wonderful Festival, go to