WEST CHESTER, PA — Dorothy Allison, author of the controversial Bastard Out of Carolina, describes herself on her website as a “feminist, working-class storyteller, a Southern expatriate, a poet, and a happily born-again Californian.”
When she appears at West Chester University on Tuesday, Feb. 25, she’ll bring a powerful message about why she insists that “Class, race, sexuality, and gender and all other categories by which we categorize and dismiss each other need to be excavated from the inside.”
Allison’s free presentation is open to the public and begins at 7 p.m. in the theater on the ground floor of Sykes Student Union at 110 West Rosedale Avenue.
When it was released in 1992, Bastard Out of Carolina brought Allison both fame for its literary style and genuine voice and infamy for its uncensored depiction of the brutal sexual and psychological abuse a young girl suffers at the hand of her stepfather.
This semi-autobiographical chronicle of Allison’s youth was banned in some communities in the U.S. and Canada. It also won the Ferro Grumley Prize, an American Library Association prize for lesbian and gay writing, was named a National Book Award finalist, and was made into a film in 1996.
Cavedweller was Allison’s next successful novel, making the Los Angeles Times Bestsellers List in 1998 and becoming a film in 2004. Her short story Compassion was selected for both Best American Short Stories 2003 and Best New Stories from the South 2003.
Awarded the 2007 Robert Penn Warren Award for Fiction, Allison is a member of the board of the Fellowship of Southern Writers. She has published other short stories, non-fiction, and poetry.
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