Katherine Anne Porter: Biography

Katherine Anne Porter

15 maj 1890

Katherine Anne Porter (born Callie Russel Porter) was an American Pulitzer Prize-winning writer born in Texas in 1890. She was raised by her father and grandmother after her mother died in childbirth when Porter was 2 years old. When Porter began to write, she adopted her grandmother’s name in recognition of the huge influence that she had had on her. Porter was 11 years old when her grandmother died, after which the family moved all around the country, staying with relatives or in rented accommodation for short periods of time.

In 1906, aged 16, Porter married John Henry Koontz and left home. He was an abusive husband and Porter had to flee from his home. In 1914, she managed to escape to Chicago where she started to work as an extra in films. She then moved back home and was officially divorced from Koontz in 1915. Changing her name to Katherine Anne Porter was agreed as part of the divorce proceedings.

It was in the same year that she was diagnosed with tuberculosis and ended up spending 2 years in medical institutions. It was whilst recovering that she turned to writing.

Throughout her career she wrote a large number of articles, essays, short stories, novels and political pieces. She is best-remembered for her novel Ship of Fools which was published in 1962, and quickly became the best-selling novel of the year in the US. Although this title was a bestseller, it was her short stories which won her favour among the critics. All of her works of fiction deal with hard-hitting topics, such as themes of betrayal and the origin of evil and human sin.

Katherine Anne Porter lived to the age of 90, and died in Maryland in 1980.