Katherine Dunn, Author Behind Geek Love, Dead at 70

By
Dunn. Photo: Elisabetta Villa/2008 Getty Images

Katherine Dunn, writer of the best-selling novel Geek Love, died Wednesday at her Portland home. The 70-year-old's son confirmed the update with Willamette Week on Thursday, citing complications from lung cancer. "Geek Love is a book that will live forever," said Jeff Baker, a retired Oregonian critic, upon learning the news. "It's so influential." Now a cult classic, the book was published in 1989 and became a National Book Award finalist that year. Dunn also penned the novels Attic and Truck, and filed pieces for such publications as the New York Times, PDXS, Playboy, The Oregonian, and Willamette Week, among many others, over the course of a roughly four-decade career. On the nonfiction front, Dunn was especially known for her boxing writings, which, in 2009, were anthologized in One Ring Circus: Dispatches From the World of Boxing. Her School of Hard Knocks art project (published here), which chronicled the history of Stateside boxing gyms with photographer Jim Lommasson, notably won the Dorothea Lange–Paul Taylor Prize in 2004. Dunn is survived by her son and husband.