Katherine Anne Porter Biography

Katherine Anne Porter Biography

Katherine Anne Porter did it all. She worked as a critic, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, a singer, an actress, and a writer. She built an impressive literary career despite relatively humble beginnings. Having completed only grammar school, she sought out the majority of her education independently. Through numerous marriages, divorces, and other personal crises, Porter established herself as a serious author whose works celebrated the perspective of women while illuminating more general issues of humanity and relationships.

An often-quoted and outspoken figure, Porter became more conservative in her later years but never stopped challenging readers. Though she is best known for the novel Ship of Fools, it was her short story collection, The Collected Stories of Katherine Anne Porter, that won her the Pulitzer Prize in 1966.

Facts and Trivia

  • Porter, whose father’s middle name was Boone, claimed to be a descendant of historical figure Daniel Boone, yet no evidence has ever been found to support that claim.
  • Her father was also related to the writer, O. Henry.
  • Porter was born Callie Russell Porter. She changed her name in part to escape from her physically abusive first husband.
  • Rumors continue to circle about Porter’s thwarted desire to have a child. Suggestions of miscarriages, stillbirths, hysterectomies, and infertility have been put forth, but no single theory can be corroborated by Porter’s personal writings.
  • Porter’s one and only novel, Ship of Fools, was a huge success and was turned into an Oscar-nominated film in 1965.
  • Porter was not always in strong physical health, though she lived to be 90. She was diagnosed with tuberculosis, though she really had bronchitis, and spent two years in sanatoria. She also nearly died during the 1918 flu pandemic
  • Porter frequently stated that she often set out to write strictly autobiographical material, but her creative instincts for storytelling always took her down different roads.
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