top of page

Dorothy Allison

Understand me.

What I am here for is to tell you stories that you may not want to hear.

What I am here for is to rescue my dead.

And to scare hell out of you now and then.

I was raised Baptist, I know how to do that.

Best Selling Author, Including the Award-Winning Book

Bastard Out of Carolina



bastard out of carolina.jpg

Bastard Out of Carolina


Two or Three Things I Know for Sure








the women who hate me

In The Press


"A hell of a writer - tough and loose, clear and compassionate."


As close to flawless as any reader could ask for and any writes could hope for and aspire to...

The living language Allison has created is as exact and innovative as the language of To Kill a Mockingbird and the Catcher in the Rye...Simply stunning.

“Tough, plainspoken, and thoroughly unsentimental.”




dorothy allison

Dorothy Allison grew up in Greenville, South Carolina, the first child of a fifteen-year-old unwed mother who worked as a waitress. 


The first member of her family to graduate from high school, Allison attended Florida Presbyterian college on a National Merit Scholarship and studied anthropology at the New School for Social Research.

Now living in Northern California with her partner Alix and her son, Wolf Michael, she describes herself as a feminist, a working class story teller, a Southern expatriate, a sometime poet and a happily born-again Californian.

An award winning editor for Quest, Conditions, and Outlook—early feminist and Lesbian & Gay journals, Allison's chapbook of poetry,The Women Who Hate Me, was published with Long Haul Press in 1983.

Her short story collection, Trash (1988) was published by Firebrand Books. Trash won two Lambda Literary Awards and the American Library Association Prize for Lesbian and Gay Writing.

Allison says that the early Feminist movement changed her life. "It was like opening your eyes under water. It hurt, but suddenly everything that had been dark and mysterious became visible and open to change." However, she admits, she would never have begun to publish her stories if she hadn't gotten over her prejudices, and started talking to her mother and sisters again. 


Allison received mainstream recognition with her novel Bastard Out of Carolina, (1992) a finalist for the 1992 National Book Award. The novel won the Ferro Grumley prize, an ALA Award for Lesbian and Gay Writing, became a best seller, and an award-winning movie. It has been translated into more than a dozen languages. Cavedweller (1998) became a national bestseller, NY Times Notable book of the year, finalist for the Lillian Smith prize, and an ALA prize winner.

Adapted for the stage by Kate Moira Ryan, the play was directed by Michael Greif, and featured music by Hedwig composer, Stephen Trask. 

In 2003, Lisa Cholendenko directed a movie version featuring Krya Sedwick. 


The expanded edition of Trash (2002) included the prize winning short story,  "Compassion" selected for both Best American Short Stories 2003 and Best New Stories from the South 2003.

Fall 2009, Allison was The McGee Professor and writer in residence at Davidson College, in North Carolina.

Spring, 2007, Allison was Emory University Center for Humanistic Inquiry’s Distinguished Visiting Professor. 

Summer, 2007, she was Famosa in residence at Macondo in San Antonio, Texas.

2006, she was writer in residence at Columbia College in Chicago.

Awarded the 2007 Robert Penn Warren Award for Fiction, Allison is a member of the board of the Fellowship of Southern Writers. 

Upcoming Events

Upcoming Events



For publishing inquiries, please contact Dorothy's literary agent, 

Ellen Geiger / Francis Goldin Literary Agency

For inquiries about engagements, please contact David Marsh

Dorothy is published by Penguin Random House

Dorothy has somehow never gotten much into social media, but does occasionally enjoy sharing pictures of her dog on Instagram.

You can see those here:

  • Instagram Social Icon
bottom of page