Conversations with Dorothy Allison

Edited by Mae Miller Claxton

208 pages (approx.), 6 x 9 inches, introduction, chronology, index

978-1-61703-286-8 Printed casebinding $40.00S

978-1-61703-287-5 Ebook $40.00

Printed casebinding, $40.00

Ebook 978-1-61703-287-5, $40.00

"... the deepest way to change people is to get them to inhabit the soul of another human being who is different from them. And that happens in story. That happens in literature."

Since the publication of her groundbreaking novel, Bastard Out of Carolina (1992), Dorothy Allison (b. 1949) has been known-- along with authors such as Larry Brown and Lee Smith--as a purveyor of the working class, contemporary South. Allison has frequently used her position, through passionate lectures and enthusiastic interviews, to give voice to issues that concern her most: poverty, working-class life, domestic violence, feminism and women's relationships, the contemporary South, and gay/ lesbian life. Often called a "writer-rock star" and a "cult icon," Allison is a true performer of the written word.

At the same time, Allison takes the craft of writing very seriously. In this collection, spanning almost two decades, Allison the performer and Allison the careful craftsperson both emerge, creating a portrait of a complex woman. The interviews detail Allison's working-class background in Greenville, South Carolina, as the daughter of a waitress. Allison discusses--with candor and quick wit--her upbringing, her work in a variety of modes (novels, short stories, essays, poetry), and her active participation in the women's movement of the 1970s.

Linking her work with African American writers such as Zora Neale Hurston and Toni Morrison, Allison revitalized the genre of working-class literature, writing a world that is often overlooked and understudied. In the absence of a biography, Conversations with Dorothy Allison is the best presentation of Allison's perspectives on her life, literature, and her conflicted role as a public figure.

Mae Miller Claxton, Cullowhee, North Carolina, is a professor of English at Western Carolina University. She is the coeditor of Anthology of American Literature, eighth edition, volumes i and ii and a contributing editor for The Heath Anthology of American Literature, sixth edition, volumes a-e. She has published articles in Mississippi Quarterly, Southern Quarterly, South Atlantic Review, and English Journal.

208 pages (approx.), 6 x 9 inches, introduction, chronology, index