News & Politics

A DC Travel Guide For Acclaimed Author and DC Fear-Mongerer Joyce Carol Oates

Oates. Photograph by Flickr user SpokaneFocus.

Joyce Carol Oates has had a prolific literary career, with countless published novels and multiple Pulitzer Prize nominations to hold to her name. But the 77-year-old author’s Twitter account is an unholy mess that sometimes feels like a parallel between Mia Farrow’s frazzled-grandma-on-the-internet shtick and Lil B‘s unfiltered-philosopher routine.

When Oates visits DC, though, the tweets get especially uncomfortable. One of her most curmudgeonly posts came during the 2013 National Book Festival. Oates apparently felt threatened by a segment of the city’s population a feeling leveled only by a perceived inability to access firearms.

Washington City Paper interpreted Oates’s tweet as targeting homeless individuals, leading the alt-weekly to ponder if the award-winning author is also a “homeless hater.”

Oates isn’t part of the official program for this weekend’s National Book Festival, but she’s coming back to Washington next week for an appearance at Politics and Prose, where she’ll talk about her new memoir, The Lost Landscape. The author’s Twitter account is as healthy as ever, but a return visit to the city that inspired her to rail against the most disadvantaged is sure to unnerve some. So, in the interest of preventing another round of Joyce Carol Oates Twitter outrage, here’s a brief travel guide full of things she should do that won’t disrupt her tweeting thumbs’ highbrow zen.

Visit the Newseum:

If the targets of Oates’ vitriol can’t afford weapons, then they probably can’t pay the Newseum’s steep admission fee of $22.95 ($18.95 for seniors). It’d also probably inspire her to wax poetic about writers’ integrity and political correctness on Twitter, which is pretty funny.

Eat at Busboys and Poets:

Andy Shallal’s chain of upscale comfort food restaurants have become a quiet signifier of gentrification in DC. It also doesn’t break Oates’ strict culinary rules.

Run in Rock Creek Park:

Oates is a devoted runner. Also, isn’t nature supposed to transcend class differences?

Take a ghost tour:

Dead people can’t own guns! They can startle tourists, though. Either way, it’s going to be okay, Joyce!