Katherine Dunn (1945-2016)

Writer Katherine Dunn, 70, died May 11, 2016 in Portland OR of complications from lung cancer.

Dunn is best known for Geek Love (1989), her influential literary horror novel about a family of circus sideshow performers (with touches of the paranormal). The novel was a bestseller and is an enduring cult classic, and was a finalist for both the National Book Award and the Bram Stoker Award. Earlier novels Attic (1970) and Truck (1971) are more mainstream.

Katherine Karen Dunn was born October 24, 1945 in Garden City KS, and grew up in Oregon. She attended Portland State University and Reed College, and spent time traveling in Europe in the early ’70s, where her first two novels were written and her only son was born. She returned to Portland in the late ’70s and held various jobs while also working as a reporter and columnist. A respected journalist, Dunn wrote for The New York Times, Playboy, Vogue, The Los Angeles Times, and many other publications, and was an acclaimed boxing reporter.

Other books include Death Scenes: A Homicide Detective’s Scrapbook (1995), a book of photography for which she wrote the text; The Slice: Information with an Attitude (1989), collecting installments of a column she wrote for Willamette Week; and two books on boxing. A portion of her unfinished fourth novel The Cut Man (first announced in 1989) was published in The Paris Review in 2010.

Dunn is survived by son Eli Dapolonia and husband Paul Pomerantz, married 2012.