BU to host author Dorothy Allison for writing workshop and lecture

BLOOMSBURG— Acclaimed American author Dorothy Allison will hold a writing workshop at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania on Monday, Feb. 25, from 3-6 p.m. in Sutliff Hall, room 120. She will give a public lecture on Tuesday, Feb. 26, from 4-6 p.m. in Warren Student Services Center, room 004.

Allison grew up in Greenville, S.C., the first child of a fifteen-year-old unmarried mother who worked as a waitress. The first member of her family to graduate from high school, she attended Florida Presbyterian College and studied anthropology at the New School for Social Research in New York. To Allison, literature was a lifeline: an escape from her brutal reality and a guide to learning how to live in the margins of civilization, in a world where middle-class workers were simply “the grease that makes the machines run.”

Allison’s talk will address first-generation college students because of the impact she believes reading and storytelling has on the lives of middle-class children. She said, “Our culture pretends that the dirty things in our lives don’t happen; literature reclaims us.”

Allison’s writing workshop will aid students in self-expression through fact-based encouragement and steps to success as a writer. Allison recalled taking a writing workshop with Bertha Harris, who she described as a “ruthless, working-class feminist.” She was also inspired by American author Grace Paley. She said these women taught her how to be a writer, and she hopes to be that model for others.

Allison’s writing focuses on class struggle, sexual abuse, child abuse, feminism, and lesbianism. She is widely known for her best-selling, semi-autobiographical novel “Bastard out of Carolina,” which received mainstream recognition, was nominated for the 1992 National Book Award, and won the Ferro Grumley prize and an ALA Award for Lesbian and Gay Writing. Allison’s other works include “The Women Who Hate Me,” “Trash,” “Skin: Talking about Sex, Class, and Literature,” “Two or Three Things I Know for Sure,” and “Cavedweller,” among others.

The College of Liberal Arts, the Department of English and the Honors program are sponsoring the event.