Writer Katherine Dunn, who was famous for her novel “Geek Love,” died at her Portland, Oregon. home Wednesday.
PORTLAND, Ore. — Writer Katherine Dunn, who was famous for her novel “Geek Love,” died at her Portland, Oregon home Wednesday. She was 70.
Dunn died Wednesday of complications from lung cancer, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported.
Dunn’s 1989 book “Geek Love” told the story of a house full of circus sideshow performers. It was a finalist for the National Book Award and became a best-seller.
Dunn described the book to the Los Angeles Times when it came out as “a peek over the edge.”
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In addition to writing books, Dunn was also a journalist for numerous publications, including The Oregonian, Willamette Week, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, Vogue and Playboy, according to her son, Eli Dapolonia.
Dapolonia told The Oregonian that his mother considered writing “a real craft that required constant effort.”
Dunn was born Oct. 24, 1945, in Garden City, Kansas, and moved to Oregon as a child.
She graduated from Tigard High School, attended Portland State University and Reed College.
Her first two novels, “Attic,” which was published in 1970, and “Truck,” published in 1971, came out while she was traveling in Europe, where she also gave birth to her son.
Shortly after, Dunn moved to Portland and raised her son while working various jobs including waitress, bartender, boxing reporter and columnist.
She wrote the boxing book, “School of Hard Knocks: The Struggle for Survival in America’s Toughest Boxing Gyms,” for which she won the 2004 Dorothea Lange-Paul Taylor Award.
Her boxing coverage was collected into an anthology in 2009 called “One Ring Circus: Dispatches from the World of Boxing.” Dunn began boxing training in her 40s, and in 2009, made the news for fighting off an assault by a man less than half her age.
Jeff Baker, The Oregonian’s longtime and now retired book critic who was friends with Dunn for decades, remembered her as “so knowledgeable.”
“She was so smart about so many things,” Baker told The Oregonian. “She was an incredible raconteur. She had a great laugh.”
In addition to her son, Dunn is survived by her husband Paul Pomerantz. The two first met at Reed College and married in 2012 after reconnecting.