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Dorothy Allison Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Bastard Out of Carolina (1992)Description / Buy at Amazon
Cavedweller (1998)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Collections

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Skin (1994)Description / Buy at Amazon
Two or Three Things I Know for Sure (1995)Description / Buy at Amazon
Conversations with Dorothy Allison (2012)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Anthologies

Women on Women(1990)Description / Buy at Amazon
Leatherfolk(1991)Description / Buy at Amazon
High Risk(1991)Description / Buy at Amazon
Growing Up Gay/Growing Up Lesbian: A Literary Anthology(1993)Description / Buy at Amazon
Writing Women's Lives(1994)Description / Buy at Amazon
Downhome(1995)Description / Buy at Amazon
Swords of the Rainbow(1996)Description / Buy at Amazon
What Are You Looking At?(2003)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Best American Short Stories 2003(2003)Description / Buy at Amazon
Without a Net(2004)Description / Buy at Amazon
Rhetorical Women: Roles and Representations(2005)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Writer's Notebook(2009)Description / Buy at Amazon
My Favorite Lesbian Stories from Best American Erotica(2012)Description / Buy at Amazon
Gay City: Volume 5(2013)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Queer South(2014)Description / Buy at Amazon
Walk Till the Dogs Get Mean:Meditations on the Forbidden from Contemporary Appalachia(2015)Description / Buy at Amazon
LGBTQ Fiction and Poetry from Appalachia(2019)Description / Buy at Amazon
OutWrite(2022)Description / Buy at Amazon

Dorothy Allison is a reputed American author of gay & lesbian and literature & fiction novels. She has written several widely successful standalone novels, including Cavedweller, Bastard Out of Carolina, Two or Three Things I Know for Sure, etc. Dorothy has also penned a collection of poems and several short stories. Her books typically focus on the issues of sexual abuse, feminism, class struggle, child abuse, and lesbianism. Dorothy is self-identified as a lesbian femme. Her books have helped her win several prestigious awards and nominations, including multiple Lambda Literary Awards. She was elected to become a member of the Southern Writers Fellowship in 2014. Author Dorothy was born on April 11, 1949, in Greenville, South Carolina. Her mother, Ruth Gibson Allison, was just 15 years old when she conceived her. Ruth raised Dorothy as a single mother.

Dorothy experienced poor financial conditions while growing as her mother had to work as a cook and waitress to earn the livelihood for the two of them. When Dorothy was 5 years old, her mother got married. Soon after the marriage, Dorothy’s stepdad started abusing her sexually. She endured the abuse for 7 long years. At the age of eleven, Dorothy told what she was going through, to one of her relatives. When Ruth came to know about it, she warned her husband to leave Dorothy alone or she would leave him. He agreed and the family stayed together for some time. But, he began abuse again and continued it for another five years. The continuous abuse affected Dorothy physically and mentally. She contracted gonorrhea and underwent treatment through most of her 20s. Dorothy was devastated to know that the disease made it impossible for her to conceive.

To escape the increasing debt, Dorothy’s family relocated to central Florida. Several members of her family lost their lives due to extreme poverty and Dorothy had witnessed all of it with her own eyes. She became the first person in the family to complete high school education. Dorothy overcame the chaotic life at home and succeeded as a student. At the age of 18, Dorothy left home to enroll herself in college. During the early 1970s, she studied at Florida Presbyterian College, on her National Merit scholarship. Dorothy joined the women’s movement during her time in college. She eventually graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in anthropology. Later, she joined the Florida State University to study anthropology further.

Before Dorothy became a successful writer, she tried her hand at a variety of other jobs. She took up jobs as a substitute teacher, maid, salad girl, nanny, etc. She even worked as a receptionist and call-receiver at a rape crisis and a childcare center. Sometimes, Dorothy underwent training during daytime and sat down to write on yellow-colored legal pads at night in her motel room. Dorothy often wrote about the experiences of her life, including the time she faced poverty, endured abuse by her stepdad, and developed an interest in women. All these experiences became the base of Dorothy’s future works. In 1979, Dorothy shifted to New York City, where he earned her master’s degree in urban anthropology. Following this, she worked against sexual abuses faced by women and wrote fiction. She even taught writing courses at college. Throughout her career, Dorothy has contributed to numerous magazines along with writing novels and poetry.

A popular book penned by author Dorothy Allison is entitled ‘Cavedweller’. It was released by Penguin Books in 1999. Dorothy has mentioned the central characters in this book in the form of Delia Byrd, Amanda, Cissy, Dede, and several others. Initially, Delia Byrd is depicted as packing her bag and beginning her long trip from Los Angeles to her home. She leaves behind the glamorous world of the rock n roll business, darker days of violence and whiskey, her passion for songwriting and singing, and the false promises of the man she loved, and heads back to her home in Cairo, Georgia. Ten years ago, Delia Byrd had left her cheating husband and abandoned her young daughters to move to California.

After being out for so long, she is now pulled back to the same old world of Georgia filled with biscuit factories and convenience stores. Delia intends to make a deal with her former husband and get back to her 2 daughters. She brings her 3rd daughter named Cissy with her. As the lives of Cissy, Dede, Amanda, and Delia converge, the past of Delia uncoils into her present with unimaginable outcomes. The four women are forced to come to terms with each other and with themselves. Dorothy has told this story in an unforgettable and incantatory voice. Its a mind-blowing novel showcasing human spirit.

Another successful book written by Dorothy in her writing career is known as ‘Bastard Out of Carolina’. It was published by the Plume publication in 2005, after its original release in 1992. Dorothy has described the lead characters in this novel as Ruth Anne Boatwright, Daddy Glen, Anney, and a few others. The setting of this book takes place in Greenville, South Carolina. Initially, Dorothy has described Greenville County as a lush, wild place, where the members of the Boatwright family live. The long family is a tightly knit clan of hard-drinking, rough-hewn males and indomitable females. The men usually involve themselves in shooting the trucks of other men, while the women get married at a young age and become old quickly. Ruth Anne Boatwright is seen at the center of this story. She is simply called as Bone.

Ruth is a bastard kid and observes the clan and its people with a keen and merciless perspective. Daddy Glen is her stepfather, who appears to be a mean and cold man. When he becomes increasingly aggressive towards her, Ruth Anne doesn’t know what to do. She gets caught up in a matter that tests her mother’s loyalty and leads her to a harrowing, final encounter from where she doesn’t turn back. This book’s story is inspired by the real-life story of author Dorothy. She has created the characters based on her own family members and has shared what all she experienced as a child through the story of Ruth Anne Boatwright.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Dorothy Allison

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