Dorothy Allison: Biography

Dorothy Allison

11 apr 1949

Dorothy Allison is an American author, who was born in 1949 in Greenville, South Carolina to a mother who was just 15 years old. She lived in relative poverty, and her stepfather began to sexually abuse her when she was a very young child. This abuse lasted more than a decade, and her abuser gave her gonorrhea which went undiagnosed and left her unable to have children of her own. Despite her incredible suffering as a child, Allison still managed to become the first member of her family to finish high school. She went on to college and all her hard work paid off. Allison went on to channel her horrendous childhood memories into writing. She became one of the key members in the Feminist Sex Wars in the early eighties.

Dorothy Allison writes novels, short stories and poems which deal with gritty social issues. She has written about class struggle, child abuse, sexuality, rape and feminism. She has received an awful lot of criticism over the years from conservative protest groups, but has also been recognised as an incredibly important American author. She was a writer in residence at Columbia College, Chicago. She has been awarded a Robert Penn Warren prize and she has been a New York Times bestselling author. Her works have been translated into many languages and have supported feminist movements all over the world.

Dorothy Allison now lives in the north of California. She lives with her partner Alix and their son, Wolf Michael. She still very much regards herself as a feminist, a working class writer and a sometime poet.