Rikki Ducornet

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Rikki Ducornet
BornErica DeGre
(1943-04-19) April 19, 1943 (age 77)
Canton, New York
OccupationNovelist, poet, illustrator
Alma materBard College
SubjectSexuality, religion
Literary movementSurrealism, postmodernism
SpouseGuy Ducornet

Rikki Ducornet (/ˈrɪki dkɔːrˈn/; born Erica DeGre,[citation needed] April 19, 1943 in Canton, New York) is an American writer, poet, and artist. She was a recipient of a Lannan Literary Award.


Ducornet's father was a professor of sociology, and her mother hosted community-interest programs on radio and television. Ducornet was raised in a multicultural household as her father was Cuban and her mother was Russian-Jewish.[1] Ducornet's father, Gerard DeGré, was an important figure in her life as he encouraged her to read novels by authors like Albert Camus and Lau Tzu, and to pursue an exploration of knowledge.[1] Ducornet's father also taught her the rumba at the age of ten.[1] Ducornet grew up on the campus of Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, in New York, earning a B.A. in Fine Arts from the same institution in 1964.[2] While at Bard she met Robert Coover and Robert Kelly, two authors who shared Ducornet's fascination with metamorphosis and provided early models of how fiction might express this interest. In 1972 she moved to the Loire Valley in France with her then husband, Guy Ducornet. As a young girl, Ducornet dreamed of being a visual artist and it wasn't until she moved to France with her husband that she began to seriously think about writing.[1] Being in Europe brought out something new as Ducornet explained, “I was acutely aware of language”.[1] It was in France too, that Ducornet raised her son, Jean-Yves, who became bilingual in French and English.[1] In addition to living in France, Ducornet has also lived for periods of her life in other countries.  Ducornet spent part of her childhood in Cuba and in Egypt, after her father received an invitation to teach at the University of Cairo.[3] Ducornet also spent two years in Algeria after the Algerian war of Independence.[3] Ducornet currently lives in Port Townsend, Washington.[4] In 1988 she won a Bunting Institute fellowship at Radcliffe. In 1989 she moved back to the United States after accepting a teaching position in the English Department at the University of Denver.[5] In 2007, she replaced retired Dr. Ernest Gaines as Writer in Residence at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.[6]

Ducornet is known for her writing characterized by motifs of nature, Eros, abusive authority, subversion, and the creative imagination.[7] Ducornet hand writes the drafts of her books with pen and ink and when writing, Ducornet does not begin with a set plot but rather derives her stories from the hearts of her subjects.[1] In Ducornet's first book, The Butcher’s Tales, she dealt with ideas of “conveying moral understanding, a visceral need to confront abusive Authority in its many forms, and to fully engage the beautiful”, all themes that reoccur in her later work.[8] In addition to being known as a writer, Ducornet also works in the mediums of painting and printmaking.[7] Ducornet has illustrated books by Jorge Luis Borges, Robert Coover, Forrest Gander, Kate Bernheimer, and Anne Waldman among others.[4] A collection of Ducornet's papers, including prints and drawings, are in the permanent collection of the Ohio State University Rare Books and Manuscripts Library.[4] In 2017, Ducornet partnered with multimedia artist Margie McDonald in a collaborative installation show at the Northwind Arts Center in Port Townsend.[9] The show exhibited a series of 25 foot long painted scrolls hand painted by Ducornet and multimedia wire sculptures by Margie McDonald.[9] These scrolls were painted during a month long residency at the Vermont Studio Center prior to Ducornet and McDonald's collaboration.[9] The show then traveled in 2018 to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico to be shown at Carmen Gutierrez’a surrealist gallery, Casa Diana.[9]

Ducornet is the subject of the Steely Dan song "Rikki Don't Lose That Number."[10] Steely Dan singer Donald Fagen had met her while both were attending Bard College.[10] Ducornet says they met at a college party, and even though she was both pregnant and married at the time, he gave her his number.[citation needed] Ducornet was intrigued by Fagen and was tempted to call him, but she decided against it.[citation needed]



Short fiction collections
  • The Butcher's Tales (1980)
  • The Complete Butcher's Tales (1994)
  • The Word 'Desire' (1997)
  • The One Marvelous Thing (2008)
Anthologies edited
Children's books


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Paz, Diane Urbani de la (2011-04-24). "PENINSULA WOMAN: Prolific Port Townsend artist, writer Rikki Ducornet explores transformation". Peninsula Daily News. Retrieved 2019-03-04.
  2. ^ Ducornet, "Class of '64," in Rikki Ducornet, ed. G. N. Forester and M. J. Nicholls (Singapore: Verbivoracious Press, 2015), p. 85
  3. ^ a b david (2016-07-20). "Rikki Ducornet : Brightfellow". Between The Covers. Retrieved 2019-03-04.
  4. ^ a b c "Rikki Ducornet". Lannan Foundation. Retrieved 2019-03-04.
  5. ^ Gregory, Sindra. "Finding a Language: Introducing Rikki Ducornet" The Review of Contemporary Fiction Fall 1998.
  6. ^ "Writers-in-Residence". 1 September 2017. Retrieved 2 October 2017.
  7. ^ a b "rikki ducornet". rikki ducornet. Retrieved 2019-03-04.
  8. ^ "INTERVIEW I Rikki Ducornet by The Editors | The Doctor T. J. Eckleburg Review". Eckleburg. 2015-01-30. Retrieved 2019-03-04.
  9. ^ a b c d "CRAZY HAPPY: Painted Scrolls by Rikki Ducornet & Sculpture by Margie McDonald". Numéro Cinq. 2016-07-05. Retrieved 2019-03-04.
  10. ^ a b McCormack, J.W. (May 20, 2016). "The Burden of Strangeness: Rikki Ducornet". PWxyz, LLC. Retrieved December 12, 2019.
  11. ^ a b Sleeman, Elizabeth, ed. (2004) [1934]. International Who's Who of Authors and Writers (19th ed.). Europa Publications. p. 151. ISBN 1 85743 1790. ISSN 1740-018X.
  12. ^ Bernheimer, Kate (24 August 2010). "Horse, Flower, Bird". Coffee House Press. Retrieved 2 October 2017 – via Amazon.

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