Exhibit Highlights


April 11, 1949: Born in Greenville, South Carolina

1968-1970s: Attends Florida Presbyterian College on a National Merit Scholarship for a B.A. in anthropology and then attends graduate school at Florida State University for anthropology

1973-1974: Editor of Amazing Grace, Tallahassee, Florida

1974-1975: Founding manager of Herstore Feminist Bookstore, Tallahassee, Florida 1976-1979: Editor of Quest

The Women Who Hate Me

April 24, 1982: Participates in panel at the now infamous Barnard Conference on Sexuality In 1982, Barnard College hosted a Conference on Sexuality that became a flashpoint for feminists on both sides of the sex wars. Allison was invited to speak about her research on the woman-dominated S/M subculture in New York on a panel entitled “Politically Correct, Politically Incorrect Sexuality.” For her involvement in this panel and association with the Lesbian Sex Mafia, Allison was among several speakers targeted for protest and harassment by Women Against Pornography.

1983: Publishes The Women Who Hate Me: Poems by Dorothy Allison
In a 1995 interview, Allison explains that the title poem in this volume “is essentially aimed at the women I couldn’t speak at, couldn’t speak to at the Barnard Conference because they were screaming at me.”


1988: Publishes Trash: Short Stories, recipient of the 1989 Lambda Literary Awards for "Best Lesbian Small Press Book" and "Best Lesbian Fiction"

2002: Rereleases Trash with an additional story entitled "Compassion," which is chosen for both Best American Short Stories 2003 and Best New Stories from the South 2003.

Bastard Out of Carolina

December 1992: Bastard Out of Carolina is published, and is a finalist for the National Book Award. The book receives the Ferro-Gunley Award and the Bay Area Book Reviewers Award. In 1996, Bastard Out of Carolina is made into a movie directed by Anjelica Huston.

1994: Publishes Skin: Talking About Sex, Class and Literature, a collection of narrative essays which received the 1995 Lesbian Book Award

1995: Publishes Two or Three Things I Know For Sure, a memoir which receives the New York Times Book Review notable book of the year


1998: Publishes Cavedweller and is a finalist for the Lillian Smith Prize and receives the Lambda Literary Award for "Best Lesbian Fiction"

2004: Cavedweller comes to screen and stars Kyra Sedgwick

Dorothy Allison with Boxes

2010: Places Dorothy Allison Papers at Duke University Libraries, including rich documentation of her writing life. Finding aid available.

Search catalog for a full list of publications by Allison held by Duke University Libraries.

Exhibit on display in the 

Rare Book Room Hallway Cases

August 22-October 25, 2011