Kathy Acker (April 18, 1947 - November 30, 1997) has often been described as post-punk, post-feminist and post-industrial, but her first work appeared in print as part of the burgeoning New York literary underground of the mid 1970s. She remained on the margins of the literary establishment, only being published by small presses until the mid 1980s, thus earning herself the epithet of literary terrorist. 1984 saw her first British publication, a novel called Blood and Guts in High School. From here on Kathy produced a considerable body of novels, she wrote pieces for a number of magazines and anthologies, and also had notable pieces printed in issues of ReSearch and Rapid Eye. Towards the end of her life she had a measure of success in the conventional press - the Guardian newspaper published several of her articles, including an interview with the Spice Girls, submitted just a few months before her death.
In April 1996 Kathy Acker was diagnosed with breast cancer, and began to undergo treatment. In January 1997 she wrote about her loss of faith in conventional medicine in a Guardian article. In the article she explains that after unsuccessful surgery, which left her physically mutilated and emotionally debilitated, she rejected the passivity of the patient in the medical mainstream and began to seek out the advice of nutritionists, acupuncturists, psychic healers, and Chinese herbalists.
Kathy Acker died in Mexico on November 30, 1997.
A Tentative Bibliography
Adult Life of Toulouse Lautrec (1978)
Childlike Life of the Black Tarantula By the Black Tarantula (1978)
I Dreamt I Was a Nymphomaniac (1980)
N.Y.C. in 1979 (1981)
Great Expectations (1983)
Algeria : A Series of Invocations Because Nothing Else Works (1984)
Blood and Guts in High School (1984)
Don Quixote: Which Was a Dream (1986)
Literal Madness: Three Novels (Reprinted 1987) Kathy Goes to Haiti/ My Death My Life by Pier Paolo Pasolini/ Florida
Wordplays 5 : An Anthology of New American Drama (1987)
In Memoriam to Identity (1990)
Empire of the Senseless (1990)
Hannibal Lecter, My Father (1991)
My Mother: A Demonology (1994)
Pussycat Fever (1995)
Dust . Essays (1995)
Pussy, King of the Pirates (1996)
Bodies of Work : Essays (1997)
Portrait of an Eye: Three Novels (Reprinted 1998) The Childlike Life of the Black Tarantula by the Black Tarantula, I Dreamt I Was a Nymphomaniac ! Imagining The Adult Life of Toulouse Lautrec