Joyce Carol Thomas, the award-winning author of children’s books and a former college professor, died on August 13 at Stanford University Medical Center in California. She was 78 years old and had suffered from cirrhosis of the liver caused by a blood transfusion many years ago.
Professor Oates was the author of the 1982 book Marked by Fire, which won the National Book Award and the American Book Award. The book was later adapted into the 1987 Broadway gospel musical Abyssinia. During her long writing career, Thomas authored more than 30 books for children
A native of Ponca City, Oklahoma, Thomas moved to California with her family at the age of 10. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Spanish from San Jose State University and a master’s degree in education from Stanford University. Before embarking on her writing career, Thomas taught at several institutions of higher education including the University of Tennessee and Purdue University in Indiana.