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From the archives: The Katherine Dunn Archives

May 08, 2020

Watzek Library

Katherine Dunn (1945-2016), an award-winning author, poet, and journalist, is best known for her critically acclaimed novel Geek Love, first published in 1989. A National Book Award finalist, Geek Love propelled Dunn to cult-figure status and amassed a fan base for its unusual characters and imaginative story of the Binewski family carnival. Lewis & Clark College is home to the Katherine Dunn Literary Collection and Archive, which celebrates Dunn as writer, and her novel Geek Love as a landmark text.

Following Dunn’s death in 2016, Special Collections at Watzek began working with her son, Eli Dapolonia, to identify unpublished material in Dunn’s archive. Working with Naomi Huffman of MCG books, Dapolonia began to edit the short stories and a novel that emerged.

The novel Toad, which Dunn wrote over 40 years ago, is scheduled to be published in the autumn of 2021 and a collection of short stories is scheduled for 2022. The first of these stories, “The Resident Poet” is featured in the May 11, 2020 issue of The New Yorker, along with an interview with Naiomi Huffman who speaks about the project and the delights of exploring the Dunn Archive at Lewis & Clark.

Watzek Library’s Special Collections has presented two exhibitions on Dunn: “After twenty careful years of not revealing myself to you…”: Exploring Katherine Dunn in Print (2009), and “the horror of normalcy”: Katherine Dunn, Geek Love, and Cult Literature (2017). A guide to the complete Katherine Dunn archive can be viewed here.

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