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The Kathy Acker Reading Room in Cologne is the personal library of Kathy Acker as gifted to the English Department of the University of Cologne by Matias Viegener in 2015. It contains, 6054 books, magazines, and pamphlets, and 47 letters and postcards, of which only three are written by Acker, personally, and seven donations. Contained within the library is a diversity of works annotated by Acker, reaching from works by George Bataille and Jean Genet, to the works of experimental works of William Burroughs and publications by Fluxus. Contained within the Reading Room is also an extensive number of feminist writings, specific favorites of Acker being Luce Irigaray and Julia Kristeva.

Kathy Acker

Kathy Acker, (18. April 1947 in New York City - December 1st 1997 in Tijuana), was an experimental and counter-cultural icon. Mostly stylized as a punk-writer do to her involvement in the NYC punk scene, Acker’s avant-garde roots reach further back to New York literary and artist movements of the 1960s. Her counter-cultural roots reach back to her work as a transgressive self-publishing author in San Francisco, where she hosted radio shows at KPOO and KPFA between 1973 and 1975 with Peter Gordon. During this time she wrote under the name The Black Tarantula, composing a trilogy, which she would finish in New York around 1978 (The Childlike Life of the Black Tarantula, I Dreamt I Was a Nymphomaniac, The Adult Life of Toulouse Lautrec), which she first started publishing via mail-art and via bookstores she frequented, until she got signed by The Vanishing Rotating Triangle Press in 1975. She is best known for her blockbuster Blood and Guts in High School published by Grove Press in 1984. Her works can be considered queer feminist and intersectional, political works of art. As a writer she took literary experimentation to its extreme trying to find languages of the body, which would give women their own voice within society. Best example of this is her last work Pussy, King of the Pirates, which she also produced a musical version of with the first generation Punk band The Mekons.

Catalogue

You can find the catalogue of the Kathy Acker Reading Room here. Please note that as of yet not all titles have been catalogued.