Profiles of LGBT people, from the past and today – and celebrating their birthdays! All Birthdays →

Dorothy Allison

“I want to break the world’s heart and heal it.” That’s how Dorothy Allison describes the motivation behind her writing. Born to a teen-aged mother and raised poor in Greenville, South Carolina, she experienced years of sexual abuse by her stepfather. The first in her family to graduate high school, Allison went to college in Florida, where she discovered the women’s movement and began writing. Moving to New York in 1979, she supported herself by odd jobs and continued to write poetry and fiction. She won critical acclaim with the 1988 release of Trash, a short story collection that won two Lambda Literary Awards. Allison’s most renowned work, Bastard Out of Carolina (1992), was a semi-autobiographical best-selling novel made into an award-winning cable television film. Her writing explores themes related to class, sexual abuse, lesbian relationships, and the obstacles confronting women in society. Other works include an autobiography, Two or Three Things I Know for Sure (1995), and Cavedweller (1998), a novel named a New York Times “notable book” of the year.