By Bailey Fernandez, Graduate Writer

For those with an interest in contemporary literature, the Thomas Wolfe lectures are an annual treat. Named after distinguished UNC alumnus Thomas Wolfe (author of the novels Look Homeward, Angel and Of Time and the River), the award was established in 1999 with an endowed gift to the Department of English & Comparative Literature. This year, the speaker is renowned author Dorothy Allison.

Allison, born in 1949 in Greenville, South Carolina, has published the novels Bastard out of Carolina (1992) and Cavedweller (1999), the short story collection Trash (2002), and the essay collection Skin: Talking about Sex, Class and Literature (2004), among other books of poetry and prose. Her work is anchored in her biographical experience growing up as a lesbian in the working class South. Her writing has been praised by outlets such as The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, and the San Francisco Chronicle, and by the novelist Barbara Kingsolver.

Her first novel, Bastard out of Carolina, received the Ferro Grumley Award and the ALA Award for Lesbian and Gay Writing (now the Stonewall Book Awards) and was a finalist for the 1992 National Book Award. Cavedweller, named a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, again won an ALA Award and was a finalist for the Lillian Smith Prize. Her short story “Compassion” was selected as one of the Best American Short Stories for 2003 and included in Best New Stories from the South 2003. In 2007, Allison was awarded the Robert Penn Warren Award for Fiction. She is a board member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers.

The lecture will take place on Tuesday, October 1, at 7:30 p.m., in the Genome Sciences Building Auditorium. Both ECL students and faculty and the general public are welcome to attend. To learn more about the event, click here.

Photograph of Dorothy Allison
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