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Ruth Kinane
May 13, 2016 AT 01:09 PM EDT

Portland author Katherine Dunn died from complications from lung cancer in her Oregon home on May 11, the Associated Press reports.

Dunn is most famous for the best seller Geek Love, a tale of a house full of circus sideshow performers that became a National Book Award finalist in 1989. Upon its release Dunn described the story to the Los Angeles Times as “a peek over the edge.” 

The writer previously published two other novels Attic and Truck. In addition to fiction Dunn was a journalist for Williamette Weekly throughout the ’80s, and wrote for The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Vogue, and Playboy among other publications. She also wrote prolifically about boxing — in 2009 her reporting was compiled in an anthology, One Ring Circus: Dispatches from the World of Boxing.

The author is survived by her husband Paul Pomerantz — a college boyfriend with whom she was reunited in 2012 — and her son Eli Dapolonia. Her son told The Oregonian that for his mother writing was “a real craft that required constant effort.

Jeff Baker, The Oregonian‘s longtime book critic and friend of Dunn’s for years, told the paper: “She was an incredible raconteur. She had a great laugh.”

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