Katherine Anne Porter

Katherine Anne Porter

Katherine Anne Porter was an American writer. She was born in India Creek, Texas in 1890 and lost her mother at the age of two. At age fifteen she married John Henry Koontz, the first of four husbands. She spent her early twenties moving from Texas to Chicago and back, working as an actress, a singer, and, later, a secretary. In 1917, after a battle with tuberculosis, Porter took a job as a society columnist for the Fort Worth CRITIC. Two years later she moved to Greenwich Village, New York where she began to work seriously as a fiction writer. Despite her self-imposed exile from her home and Southern background, Porter used this distance as a means of coming to terms with the memories she sought to escape. Supporting herself with journalism and “hack” writing, Porter published her first story in “Century” magazine. In 1930 her first book, “Flowering Judas”, a masterly collection of short stories. Only about ten years later she published her second book, a collection of three short novels, “Pale Horse, Pale Rider”. She followed this in 1944 with “The Leaning Tower and Other Stories”. “Ship of Fools” (1962), was Porter’s first and only novel. Dealing with the lives of a group of various and international travelers, the book became an instant success. Based partially on a trip to Germany thirty years earlier, Ship of Fools, attacked the weakness of a society that could allow for the Second World War. After 1962, Porter did very little writing, though she won a Pulitzer Prize for her Collected Stories four years later. In 1977, fifty years after her protest of the Sacco and Vanzetti trial, Porter wrote an account of the event entitled “The Never-Ending Wrong”. Three years later she died at the age of ninety. Outliving most of her contemporaries, the strong-willed Porter left behind a thin but insightful body of work. Her flawless pen and harsh criticism of not only her times, but of human society, made Porter a major voice in twentieth century American literature.

 

 

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