Acclaimed author Dorothy Allison is the winner of the 1998 Evil Companions Literary Award, an honor presented to poets and writers for the past six years by the Colorado Review at Colorado State University.
Allison, heralded as "one of the finest writers of her generation" by the Boston Globe, will receive the honor at a special reception April 9 at the Oxford Hotel on 17th Street in Denver. The event, sponsored by the "Colorado Review," Tattered Cover Book Store and Oxford Hotel, is the only scheduled stop Allison will make in Colorado on a national tour to promote her new book, "Cavedweller."
Allison will read from "Cavedweller" and sign books at the award event, which runs from 6-8 p.m. Tickets are $35 per person, $60 per couple or $20 for students with a current university identification card. Tickets also include a one-year subscription to the "Colorado Review," Colorado State University’s literary journal. Tickets are on sale at the Tattered Cover in Denver, the Oxford Hotel and the journal’s office at Colorado State. To order, call (970) 491-5449. All proceeds benefit the journal. Attendance is limited, so it is best to purchase tickets early.
The Oxford Hotel provides an intimate setting for the literary event, allowing participants the chance to meet the author and hear Allison read from her work. The Oxford will serve hors d’oeuvres and the Wynkoop Brewing Co. will offer a special Evil Companions Ale.
The Evil Companions award is given annually to a writer living in, writing about or with ties to the West. The award was named for the self-proclaimed Evil Companions, a group of Denver journalists who gathered in the 1950s and 1960s to drink, socialize and discuss writing.
"Each year, this event grows in attendance and notoriety throughout Colorado," said David Milofsky, editor of the Colorado Review and an English professor at Colorado State. "We are honored to have Dorothy Allison as the 1998 Evil Companions Award recipient and to be able to offer a rare opportunity for literary enthusiasts to meet a critically-acclaimed author."
Allison published her first novel, "Bastard Out of Carolina," in 1992. The novel, set in Allison’s birthplace of Greenville, S.C., tells the story of growing up in an impoverished Southern town. The novel garnered national praise and was a finalist for the National Book Award. Allison’s book was adapted to a film version directed by Angelica Houston and which appeared on Showtime in 1996. The film was nominated for the Outstanding Made for Television Emmy Award.
In 1995, Allison published a short memoir, "Two or Three Things I Know for Sure," and is the author of "Skin: Talking About Sex, Class & Literature," a compilation of essays and autobiographical narratives, which won a 1994 Lambda Literary Award; "The Women Who Hate Me," a collection of poems; and "Trash" a collection of short stories that won two Lambda Literary Awards in 1989.
Allison’s latest novel, "Cavedweller," is scheduled to be released this month. The story is based on Delia Byrd, a mother of three daughters who left her home in Georgia for Los Angeles, leaving behind an abusive husband and abandoning her children. Byrd heads back to Georgia 10 years later to come to terms with her past.
In a 1992 interview with the New York Times, Allison said her books have an autobiographical element to them, but that the element of fiction provides the necessary distance to grasp the honesty and purity of the characters.
"For now, fiction is a lot easier," she said. "You can build in a lot of hope that you don’t have in real life."
Allison has served as editor of "Conditions and Quest: A Feminist Quarterly" and has worked as director of the communications center at Poets&Writers. She has taught seminars and classes in fiction, poetry, literary criticism, contemporary literature, radical anthropology, and feminist theory at institutions such as Vassar College, Florida State University, George Washington University and Wesleyan.
For information about Evil Companions, call the Colorado Review at (970) 491-5449 or the Colorado State Office of University Relations at (970) 491-6432.