The Dorothy Allison Papers include drafts and manuscripts of her writings (including Bastard Out of Carolina, Trash, Cavedweller, and other works). All of Allison's unpublished works are RESTRICTED and require permission from the creator prior to use. Personal and professional correspondence, including exchanges with her publishers and other authors, are held in the chronological and work files. The collection also contains Allison's research materials and subject files, covering topics on feminism, lesbianism, sexuality, pornography, writing, and other related files. Allison's journals, dating from 1985 through the 2000s, consist of both handwritten and electronic formats, with all of the electronic journals printed for the archive. All of Allison's journals are RESTRICTED and require permission from the creator prior to use. Also included are materials from her speaking engagements, workshops, and other professional activities. There are a variety of special formats within the collection, including some photographs, electronic files, audio tapes, video cassettes, DVDs, and oversize posters.
Collection was acquired as part of the Sallie Bingham Center for Women's History and Culture.
Dorothy Allison was born on April 11, 1949 in Greenville, South Carolina, and grew up as the oldest child of an unwed, teenage mother. She was the first member of her family to graduate from high school. She earned her B.A. in 1971 from Florida Presbyterian (now Eckerd) College, which she attended on a National Merit Scholarship. Allison subsequently did graduate work in anthropology at Florida State University, The Sagaris Institute, and the New School for Social Research, where she earned a M.A. in urban anthropology in 1981.
From 1973-1974, she was the editor of the feminist magazineAmazing Grace, in Tallahassee Florida. From 1973-1974, she was a founding manager of Herstore Feminist Bookstore in Tallahassee. She was also an editor at Quest from 1976-1979
Allison's writings were originally published in Quest, Conditions, and Outlook, early lesbian and gay journals. Her chapbook of poetry, The Women Who Hate Me, was first published by Long Haul Press in 1983. Her short story collection, Trash, was first published by Firebrand Books in 1988, winning two Lambda Literary Awards and the American Library Association Prize for Lesbian and Gay Writing.
She received mainstream recognition with her first novel, Bastard Out of Carolina, published by Dutton and a finalist for the 1992 National Book Prize. The book was a best seller and was made into an award-winning movie. Subsequent books included Skin: Talking about Sex, Class, and Literature, a group of narrative essays published by Firebrand Books in 1994, and Two or Three Things I Know for Sure, published by Dutton in 1995. Cavedweller, published in 1998, was lauded as a New York Times notable book, and also became a best seller. Allison continues to write, speak, lecture, and teach in writing workshops, colleges, women's studies departments and organizations, and feminist and activist groups.
This biographical note was created in part from information provided on Allison's website, dorothyallison.net.