First page of an edited draft of Lisa Alther’s Kinflicks, ca. 1975. Lisa Alther Papers. Harry Ransom Center.
The Ransom Center is now home to the papers of bestselling American writer Lisa Alther (b. 1944), whose works frequently explore cultural stereotypes—particularly those relating to women—with wit and humor.
Alther is the author of 12 books, including her first published novel, Kinflicks (1976), an acclaimed, feminist coming-of-age story. Writing of Alther’s debut in Harper’s, Alice Adams noted, “This book is so continuously funny that its wisdom takes you by surprise… we are in the presence of a most powerful and remarkable talent.”
Alther’s other publications include such novels as Other Women (1984), Washed in the Blood (2011), and, most recently, Swan Song (2020); the story collection Stormy Weather & Other Stories (2012); the historical narrative Blood Feud: The Hatfields and the McCoys: The Epic Story of Murder and Vengeance (2012); the memoir Kinfolks: Falling Off the Family Tree (2007); and About Women: Conversations between a Writer and a Painter (2015), written with Françoise Gilot.
The extensive archive documents Alther’s full literary career, offering insight into her creative process and the development of her unique humor and style. The collection includes draft manuscripts and proofs, unpublished works, notebooks, research materials, correspondence, digital files, and audio and video recordings, among other materials. Alther’s close friendship with Nobel laureate Doris Lessing is documented through 40 years of correspondence. Also included are letters from French artist Françoise Gilot, editor Robert Gottlieb, and writers Rita Mae Brown, Marilyn French, Erica Jong, and Alice Walker, among others, as well as family correspondence.