Dorothy Allison

Dorothy Allison Biography, Family, Career, Sex and Gender Activism

Dorothy Allison is an American writer whose writings mostly focus on class struggle, sexual abuse, child abuse, feminism, and lesbianism. She is open about her lesbianism and has won numerous awards for her works including Lambda Literary Awards.

Dorothy Allison Biography

Dorothy Allison is an American writer whose writings mostly focus on class struggle, sexual abuse, child abuse, feminism, and lesbianism. She is open about her lesbianism and has won numerous awards for her works including Lambda Literary Awards. She was elected to membership in the Fellowship of Southern Writers.

Dorothy Allison

Dorothy Allison Age

Dorothy was born on the 11th of April 1949 in Greenville, South Carolina, United States.

Dorothy Allison Family

She was born to a 15-year old Ruth Gibson Allison who was poor and working as a waitress at the time. Her mother eventually got married to a brutal guy who sexually abused Dorothy since she was five years old. She contracted gonorrhea from the sexual abuse and was stuck with the disease until her treatment in her 20s after she had already lost her fertility.

Dorothy Allison Partner

She is dating Alix Layman and they currently live together in Monte Rio, California together with their son

Dorothy Allison Career

She held a lot of jobs in her early years, some of them are, as a salad girl, a maid, a nanny, a substitute teacher, among others. Whenever she would get home from work, she would write about her experiences, her abuse as a child, her poverty, and also her lust for women not knowing that this would be the backbone of her career. A few years later, she became one of the key figures in the Feminist Sex Wars. She was criticized and accused of supporting child sexual abuse through her books but she responded with another book The Women Who Hate Me: Poems by Dorothy Allison. Along with writing, she taught college courses, was sometimes a guest lecturer, and contributed to publications like “The New York Native”. She won two Lambda Literary Awards for her book, Trash: Short Stories, a collection of semi-autobiographical short stories.

Her first novel, Bastard Out Of Carolina, took almost a decade to complete and was finally published in 1992. The book was adapted into a film of the same name. The book and film got negative responses from several places due to their graphic content leading to its banning to public high schools. She next released “Cavedweller” which managed to get a number of awards including an Independent Spirit Award. She has contributed to Conditions, the Village Voice, the New York Native, and the Voice Literary Supplement and is also a member of International PEN and serves on the advisory board of the National Coalition Against Censorship.

Her writing is of themes like class struggle, child and sexual abuse, women, lesbianism, feminism, and family. She was inspired by Toni Morrison, Bertha Harris, and Audre Lorde in her writing. The novel, The Bluest Eye, helped her in writing about incest.

Dorothy Allison Photo

Dorothy Allison Books

  • The Women Who Hate Me: Poems by Dorothy Allison(1983)
  • Trash: Short Stories (1988)
  • The Women Who Hate Me: Poetry 1980–1990 (1991)
  • Bastard Out of Carolina (1992)
  • Skin: Talking About Sex, Class & Literature (1994)
  • Two or Three Things I Know for Sure (1995)
  • Cavedweller (1998)
  • She Who (TBA)

Dorothy Allison Awards

  • 1989 – Lambda Literary Award “Best Lesbian Small Press Book” for Trash: Short Stories
  • 1989 – Lambda Literary Award “Best Lesbian Fiction” for Trash: Short Stories
  • 1992 – National Book Award finalist for Bastard Out of Carolina
  • 1992 – Ferro-Grumley Award for Bastard Out of Carolina
  • 1992 – Bay Area Book Reviewers Award for Bastard Out of Carolina
  • 1995 – Lesbian Book Award for Skin: Talking About Sex, Class, and Literature
  • 1995 – New York Times Book Review notable book of the year Two or Three Things I Know for Sure
  • 1998 – Lambda Literary Award “Best Lesbian Fiction” for Cavedweller
  • 1998 – Lillian Smith Prize finalist for Cavedweller
  • 2007 – Jim Duggins Outstanding Mid-Career Novelists’ Prize

Dorothy Allison Sex and Gender Activism

She has been advocating for safer sex and has been active in feminist and lesbian communities. She aided in the founding of Lesbian Sex Mafia and became an associate of the Women’s Institute for Freedom of the Press.

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