Dorothy Allison takes the world on her shoulders and moves it
With an introduction by Miami Herald's Lunch with Lydia blogger Lydia Martin, award-winning novelist, poet, speaker, and activist Dorothy Allison took the stage at the 2011 Miami Book Fair International and began a literary sermon with the fire of a Baptist preacher on her early life as a salad bar girl in Orlando, FL, with a B.A. in anthropology struggling to escape poverty through reading and writing. Allison then invoked the glory of 'story', as tangible as gold, with it's capacity to bring justice and balance to the universe and take a person where she's never been before. Recalling her poverty-stricken, uneducated family life, Allison celebrated the saving grace of lesbianism which allowed her the freedom from childhood pregnancy and ignorant male domination to become educated and gave her the courage to turn to reading and writing for salvation. Looking back on her early activism, Allison evoked a moment at what is today called RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C., where she was protesting the Vietnam War, and realized the cruel ironies of the world where good and evil coexisted in a single individual and for the first time in her life doubted the existence of God and justice. Allison then dived into her true passion--books, naming Stephen King and Karen Connelly among the best writers in America for their respective novels--11/22/63, which recently won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Mysteries/Thrillers, and The Lizard Cage, which Allison rereads every year. Saying that writers are not nice people, Allison next told the story of a seminal moment in her career, which took place in Maine, where her masterpiece, Bastard Out of Carolina, recently re-issued with a new Afterword (Plume; February, 2012) on the 20th anniversary of its original publication in 1982, was banned. Allison wrapped her presentation with a contemplation of the purpose of teaching, writing, and reading before taking questions from the audience on the comparative values of fiction and non-fiction in the pursuit of truth; the virtues of writer's revenge; and her reading recommendations, noting in particular Hunger Games among others, and commentary on turkey baster babies and her long-awaited next novel, currently titled She Who, expected on bookshelves sometime in 2012-13.
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