Kathy Acker (April 1947 to November 1997) was an American experimental novelist, prose stylist, playwright, essayist, postmodernist and sex-positive feminist writer. One of the leading experimental writers of her generation, she was strongly influenced by the Black Mountain School, William S. Burroughs, David Antin, French critical theory, philosophy, and pornography.
Acker's first work appeared in print as part of the burgeoning New York literary underground of the mid-1970s. She claimed that her early writings were profoundly influenced by her experiences working for a few months as a stripper. 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 Acker produced a considerable body of novels, almost all still in print with Grove Press.
In her work, she combined plagiarism, cut-up techniques, pornography, autobiography, persona and personal essay to confound expectations of what fiction should be.
In April 1996 Kathy Acker was diagnosed with breast cancer and had a double mastectomy. After pursuing several forms of alternative medicine in England and the United States, Acker died a year and a half later from complications of breast cancer in an alternative cancer clinic in Tijuana, Mexico.
"Well, I think writing is basically about time and rhythm. Like with jazz. You have your basic melody and then you just riff off of it. And the riffs are about timing." -Kathy Acker
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