Since the publication of her groundbreaking novel, Bastard Out of Carolina (1992), Dorothy Allison (b. 1949) has been known-along with authors such as Larry Brown and Lee Smith-as a purveyor of the working class, contemporary South. Allison has frequently used her position, through passionate lectures and enthusiastic interviews, to give voice to issues that concern her most: poverty, working-class life, domestic violence, feminism and women’s relationships, the contemporary South, and gay/lesbian life. Often called a “writer-rock star” and a “cult icon,” Allison is a true performer of the written word. At the same time, Allison takes the craft of writing very seriously. In this collection, spanning almost two decades, Allison the performer and Allison the careful craftsperson both emerge, creating a portrait of a complex woman. In the absence of a biography of Allison’s life, Conversations with Dorothy Allison presents Allison’s perspectives on her life, literature, and her conflicted role as a public figure. Mae Miller Claxton is a professor of English at Western Carolina University. She is the coeditor of Anthology of American Literature, eighth edition, volumes I and II (2003) and a contributing editor for The Heath Anthology of American Literature, sixth edition, volumes A-E (2009). She has published articles in Mississippi Quarterly, Southern Quarterly, South Atlantic Review, and English Journal.