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Dorothy Allison

March 23 - March 24

Dorothy Allison grew up in Greenville, South Carolina, the first child of a fifteen-year-old unwed mother who worked as a waitress. The first member of her family to graduate from high school, Allison attended Florida Presbyterian college on a National Merit Scholarship and studied anthropology at the New School for Social Research. An award-winning editor for early feminist and lesbian and gay journals such as Quest, Conditions, and Outlook, Allison is the author of the chapbook The Women Who Hate Me and the short story collection Trash, which won two Lambda Literary Awards and the American Library Association Prize for Lesbian and Gay Writing and includes the short story “Compassion,” selected for both Best American Short Stories and Best New Stories from the South. Allison received mainstream recognition with her novel Bastard Out of Carolina, a finalist for the 1992 National Book Award. The novel won the Ferro Grumley prize and an ALA Award for Lesbian and Gay Writing and became a best seller and award-winning movie; it has been translated into more than a dozen languages. Allison’s second novel, Cavedweller, became a national bestseller, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, a finalist for the Lillian Smith prize, and an ALA prize winner. Adapted for the stage by Kate Moira Ryan, Cavedweller was directed by Michael Greif and featured music by Hedwig composer Stephen Trask. In 2003, Lisa Cholodenko directed a movie version featuring Kyra Sedgwick. Allison has been a McGee Professor and Writer in Residence at Davidson College, North Carolina; a Distinguished Visiting Professor at Emory University’s Center for Humanistic Inquiry; Famosa in Residence at Macondo in San Antonio, Texas; and Writer in Residence at Columbia College in Chicago. Awarded the 2007 Robert Penn Warren Award for Fiction, Allison is a member of the board of the Fellowship of Southern Writers. She lives in Northern California.