BIRTHDAY | Dorothy Allison

DA284Two or three things we know for sure, and one of them is today is Dorothy Allison’s birthday.

Born in Greenville, South Carolina on April 11, 1949, Dorothy Allison is an accomplished writer and speaker who is not shy when it comes to talking and writing about the hard things. Whether she’s speaking frankly about sexual orientation and violence, or unabashedly writing about her experiences as a woman raised in a lower-class family, Allison doesn’t avoid cutting deep into subjects and stories some writers don’t know how to address. 

“I need you to do more than survive. As writers, as revolutionaries, tell the truth, your truth in your own way. Do not buy into their system of censorship, imagining that if you drop this character or hide that emotion, you can slide through their blockades. Do not eat your heart out in the hope of pleasing them.” – Dorothy Allison

Allison is best known for the novel Bastard Out of Carolina and her memoir Two or Three Things I Know for Sure. Both books tackle the ways in which in sexism and racism are violent tools used to oppress people. Whether she’s writing fiction or nonfiction, Allison brings all of herself–her experiences and opinions–to the page in order to not just bring awareness to the important issues on which she writes, but to fuel passions that will strike important dialogue around challenging systems of oppression.

“Two or three things I know for sure, and one is that I’d rather go naked than wear the coat the world has made for me.”  — Dorothy Allison


Dorothy Allison

Born April 11, 1949

Novelist, poet, essayist and feminist activist

Literary works:

  • The Women Who Hate Me: Poems by Dorothy Allison (1983)
  • Trash: Short Stories (1988)
  • The Women Who Hate Me: Poetry 1980-1990 (1991)
  • Bastard Out of Carolina (1992)
  • Skin: Talking About Sex, Class & Literature (1994)
  • Two or Three Things I Know for Sure (1995)
  • Cavedweller (1998)


  • 1989 – Lambda Literary Award “Best Lesbian Small Press Book” for Trash: Short Stories
  • 1989 – Lambda Literary Award “Best Lesbian Fiction” for Trash: Short Stories
  • 1992 – National Book Award finalist for Bastard Out of Carolina
  • 1992 – Ferro-Grumley Award for Bastard Out of Carolina
  • 1992 – Bay Area Book Reviewers Award for Bastard Out of Carolina
  • 1995 – Lesbian Book Award for Skin: Talking About Sex, Class And Literature
  • 1995 – New York Times Book Review notable book of the year Two or Three Things I Know for Sure
  • 1998 – Lambda Literary Award “Best Lesbian Fiction” for Cavedweller
  • 1998 – Lillian Smith Prize finalist for Cavedweller
  • 2007 – Jim Duggins Outstanding Mid-Career Novelists’ Prize (Saints and Sinners Literary Festival)


“Behind the story I tell is the one I don’t. Behind the story you hear is the one I wish I could make you hear. Behind my carefully buttoned collar is my nakedness, the struggle to find clean clothes, food, meaning, and money. Behind sex is rage, behind anger is love, behind this moment is silence, years of silence.” 
― Dorothy Allison, Two or Three Things I Know for Sure



Egon Schiele

Born June 12, 1890 in Austria. Died October 31, 1918 in Austria. Egon Schiele was an expressionist painter and protégé of Gustav Klimt. He is a major expressionist in the early twentieth century, notable for his raw and sexualized context that included a series of self-portraits and close attention to the representational value of hands. His work can be found in many galleries, namely the Neue Galerie in New York City.


Joan Miro

Joan Miró (Joan Miró i Ferrà), artist

Born: April 20, 1893, Barcelona, Spain

Died: December 25, 1983, Palma de Mallorca, Spain


Born to a watchmaker and consigned to Barcelona’s School of Commerce as a teen, Joan Miró could not shake the paintbrush in his hand or the images that stirred his mind. For most of his 90 years, Miró created stark, colorful, abstract images that established his unique artistic style and caught the eye of Hemingway, Picasso, and Surrealist Manifesto author André Breton. Miró, Breton concluded, was “the most surrealist of us all.”

Born in Barcelona, Miró suffered depression and typhoid fever at an early age. From his recovery bed, he decided to become an artist, casting a journey that would take him to Paris in 1920. There, taking advantage of a family connection, he met Pablo Picasso, who became mentor and guide, buying some of Miró’s work and introducing him to the radical society bubbling in Paris. Soon Miró’s tiny studio was filled with the hum of poets, playwrights and artists and, in this environment, he constructed one of his most lasting works, The Farm (1921). From his Paris perch, Miró was able to see his Catalonian roots with new clarity. “I wanted to put everything I loved about the country in the canvas, from a huge tree to a tiny little snail,” he later said. Ernest Hemingway glimpsed the painting and had to have it – agreeing to pay 5,000 francs, “four thousand two hundred and fifty francs more than I had ever paid for a picture,” he once said. Hemingway had to scrape the money together, stopping in Paris bars to lean on friends. “I would not trade it for any picture in the world,” Hemingway wrote. “It has in it all that you feel about Spain when you are there and all that you feel when you are away and cannot go there.”

Miró later returned to Spain and spent his last years in Palma de Mallorca, the birthplace of his wife, etching a larger body of work that revealed his uniqueness and freedom of spirit as painter, sculptor, and ceramicist. When Spanish dictator General Franco died in 1975, someone asked Miró what he had done to oppose the regime. “Free and violent things,” the artist replied.

“Down with weeping sunsets in canary yellow … Down with all that, made by crybabies!” – Joan Miró, mocking impressionism.


Wife: Pilar Juncosa (married Oct. 12, 1929)
Daughter: Dolores (born July 17, 1931)



The Farm, 1921-22

The Tilled Field, 1923-24

Harlequin’s Carnival, 1924-25



In 1974, Miró created a tapestry of wool and hemp for the World Trade Center in New York City. His World Trade Center Tapestry proved to be among the most expensive works of art lost during the terrorist attacks.



Beyond their friendship and love of art, Miró and Hemingway were occasional sparring partners.



Guggenheim International Award, 1958

Gold Medal of Fine Arts from the King of Spain, 1980