Proclaimed "one of the finest writers of her generation" by the Boston Globe and "simply stunning" by the New York Times Book Review, Dorothy Allison was born in Greenville, South Carolina and makes her home in Northern California. She lives with her partner Alix Layman, and her seven year old son, Wolf Michael.
Bastard Out of Carolina, Dorothy Allison's first novel, was one of five finalists for the 1992 National Book Award. It went on to win both the Ferro Grumley and Bay Area Book Reviewers Awards for fiction. The novel has appeared in translation in French, German, Greek, Spanish, Norse, Chinese and Italian. A movie version of Bastard Out of Carolina directed by Angelica Huston premiered on Showtime in 1996.
Allison's second novel, the critically acclaimed Cavedweller (Dutton, 1998), was a New York Times Best seller. Cavedweller won the 1998 Lambda Literary Award for fiction and was a finalist for the Lillian Smith Prize. It is currently being adapted for the stage by Kate Ryna.
A chapbook of Allison's performance work, Two or Three Things I Know for Sure, was published by Dutton in September, 1995. Selected as a notable book of the year by the New York Times Book Review, the work was translated into a short documentary by Tina DiFeliciantonlo and Jane Wagner. The documentary entitled "Two or Three Things and Nothing for Sure" took prizes at the Aspen and Toronto film festivals, and premiered on PBS in the summer of 1998 as part of the acclaimed POV series.
Dorothy Allison's small press books include Skin: Talking About Sex, Class and Literature (1995), a collection of Allison's essays, speeches and performance pieces which won the 1995 American Library Association Gay and Lesbian Book Award, and Trash, a collection of short stories (1989) which won Lambda Literary Awards for Lesbian Fiction and Lesbian Small Press Book. She has published two editions of poetry, both titled The Women Who Hate Me-the first in 1983 by Long Haul Press and the expanded 1990 edition by Firebrand. The poetry chapbook has been continuously in print for more than twelve years. All her small press works remain available from Firebrand Books, which can be reached at 141 The Commons, Ithaca, NY 14850, or by phone at 607-272-0000.
In 1998, Allison founded The Independent Spirit Award, a prize given each year to an individual whose work with small presses and independent bookstores has helped to sustain that enterprise. The award, administered by the Astraea Foundation, is designed to encourage the people and institutions which are so vital to supporting new writers and to introducing readers to works that might otherwise go unheard and unread.
Allison is a member of the board of PEN International. She also serves on the Advisory board of the National Coalition Against Censorship and Feminists for Free Expression, and the advisory board of the James Tiptree Jr. Memorial Award, a prize which is presented annually to a science fiction or fantasy work that explores and expands on contemporary ideas of gender.