Kathy Acker

Great Expectations
  • Great Expectations

  • 'New York City is very peaceful and quiet, and the pale grey mists are slowly rising, to show me the world'

    Pip switches identities, sexes and centuries in this punk, fairytale reimagining of Charles Dickens's original Great Expectations. Both familiar and unfamiliar, our orphaned narrator is transplanted to New York City in the 1980s; becoming, by turns, a sailor, a pirate, a rebel and an outlaw, through adventures incorporating desire, creativity, porn, sadism and art. This ribald explosion of literature, sex and violence shows the literary anarchist Kathy Acker at her most brilliant and brave.

    'Acker's most accomplished experimental work' The Village Voice

    'A postmodern Colette with echoes of Cleland's Fanny Hill' William S. Burroughs

Kathy Acker was born in 1948 and was raised in New York. In her twenties she broke ties with her family and worked as a stripper, while writing and publishing with the underground literary scene. She burst into the mainstream with Blood and Guts in High School, which caused a sensation upon publication in 1987 - the book was banned in several countries. After being diagnosed with breast cancer in 1996, she abandoned Western medicine after a traumatic experience of surgery to treat the cancer, which was unsuccessful. She died in an alternative treatment centre in Tijuana, Mexico in 1997. Her major novels include Blood and Guts in High School, Great Expectations, Don Quixote and Pussy, King of the Pirates. A collection of her emails with McKenzie Wark was published in 2015, titled I'm Very into You.