Dorothy Allison!

We are delighted to announce that the keynote speaker at this year’s conference is Dorothy Allison!

Allison is the critically and popularly acclaimed author of the award-winning short-story collection, Trash (1989, expanded in 2002); a collection of poems, The Women Who Hate Me (1991); the novel Bastard Out of Carolina (1992), which was a finalist for the National Book Award; a collection of essays, Skin: Talking about Sex, Class and Literature (1995); a memoir, Two or Three Things I Know for Sure (1996); a second novel, Cavedweller (1999); and the forthcoming novel, She Who.

In 2007, Allison received the Robert Penn Warren Award for Fiction.  She has also held several positions as writer-in-residence and/or Visiting Professor at universities across the U.S. According to Allison’s website, “she describes herself as a feminist, a working class storyteller, a Southern expatriate, a sometime poet and a happily born-again Californian.”  Born in Greenville, South Carolina, Allison currently resides in Northern California with her partner and son.

Allison will speak at this year’s conference on Friday, October 12, from 5:00-6:30.  Several of her works will be available for purchase, and she will do a signing after her talk.

SSAWW President, Deb Clarke (ASU), had the following to say about this exciting event:

I’m thrilled to have Dorothy Allison as our keynote speaker; in all my communications with her, she has been wonderfully gracious and expressed great interest in the conference itself.  One of the premier women writers of our time, Allison advances many of the concerns of her predecessors and reminds us all of the value of what we study.  In particular, her work explores our conference themes of citizenship and belonging from a complex nexus of race, poverty, family, legitimacy, sexuality, and abuse.  Her words from her collection of essays, Skin, continue to haunt me:  “Entitlement … is a matter of feeling like we rather than they.  You think you have a right to things, a place in the world, and it is so intrinsically a part of you that you cannot imagine people like me, people who seem to live in your world, who don’t have it.”

Allison’s participation in our 2012 conference brings yet another bonus:  it will be our privilege to help commemorate the twentieth anniversary of the publication of her landmark novel, Bastard Out of Carolina.  I can’t think of a better way to celebrate our own work than to recognize such an amazing novel by such a distinguished writer.

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