Allison to Receive Hobson Prize
Dorothy Allison has been selected as the recipient of the 2015 Mary Frances Hobson Prize for Distinguished Achievement in Arts and Letters from Chowan University. The prize will be conferred on Monday, April 27th at 6:00 pm at a dinner in the Chowan Room. Following the dinner and conferral, Allison will deliver the Hobson Lecture at 7:30 in Vaughan Auditorium.
Allison was born in 1949 in Greenville, South Carolina, and lived there until her family moved to Central Florida. Teachers recognized her intelligence, encouraged her, and she became the first member of her family to graduate from high school, earning a National Merit Scholarship to attend college. She attended Florida Presbyterian College, now Eckerd College, where she earned her Bachelor of Arts in 1971. Later, she pursued a masters’ degree in anthropology from the New School for Social Research.
Bastard Out of Carolina, Allison’s first novel, was a finalist for the National Book Award in 1992. Bone, the central character, is subjected to emotional, physical, and sexual abuse at the hands of her stepfather. A bestseller, the novel was made into an award-winning film and has been translated into more than a dozen languages.
The book was banned by many schools and libraries and in the afterword to the twentieth anniversary edition issued in 2012, Allison addressed censorship and banning of books, noting “What banning books does is continue the denial, extend that damage, and block any way for us to come together and address the reality of violence within our families and communities. We know this even as we go on wanting a world in which we do not need to tell these stories at all.”
Of her many other works, Two or Three Things I Know for Sure, was written for performance and then published in 1995. It was selected as a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, an honor also given to her second novel, Cavedweller, published in 1998. Cavedweller also earned an ALA prize and was a finalist for the Lillian Smith Award. In 2002, Trash, a short story collection, was expanded to include the short story, “Compassion,” which was selected for both Best American Short Stories 2003 and Best New Stories from the South 2003.
A member of the board of the Fellowship of Southern Writers, Allison has also won the Robert Penn Warren Award for Fiction.
Join Chowan University in congratulating Dorothy Allison on earning the 2015 Mary Frances Hobson Prize for Distinguished Achievement in Arts and Letters. For more information on April 27’s Hobson events, please call Nancy Cox at 398-6211 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.