Joyce Carol Oates to Receive 2019 Jerusalem Prize for Literature

'Over the course of more than five decades, Joyce Carol Oates has created a rich body of literary work. Her creative work dictates new creative horizons and denotes a continuous breach of boundaries'

Joyce Carol Oates, 2018.
Rogelio V. Solis,AP

U.S. author Joyce Carol Oates is the winner of the 2019 Jerusalem Prize for literature, the Jerusalem International Book Forum announced Sunday.

Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion will present the prestigious $10,000 award to Oates in May at the opening ceremony of the international book fair.

The forum lauded Oates, 80, as a "brilliant" author, highlighting her works "We Were the Mulvaneys," "Blonde" and "The Accursed."

"Over the course of more than five decades, Joyce Carol Oates has created a rich body of literary work. Her creative work dictates new creative horizons and denotes a continuous breach of boundaries," said the prize jury members.

The Jerusalem Prize is awarded every two years to international writers "whose body of work assert 'The Freedom of the Individual in Society'," the forum states.

Oates said she was "deeply honored" to be selected for the award.

"In a world in which individual freedoms are under assault, the autonomy of the individual and the role of art in our lives is of great concern," she said.

"One of the great mysteries in my family life had to do with my father's mother who was, we discovered after her death, Jewish," she noted, saying that the fact was kept a secret.

"Obviously, there is an entire dimension of my life which was inaccessible to me and which I might have considered lost, and so a visit to Israel is likely to be profound and life-changing," Oates added.