Katherine Anne Porter House © Author Adventures
© Author Adventures

“It is such a relief to be told the truth.” –Katherine Anne Porter

Katherine Anne Porter Literary Center

The Katherine Anne Porter Literary Center in Kyle, Texas, near Austin, is an important stop because Katherine Anne Porter is a profound Pulitzer Prize-winning and National Book Award-winning writer. Make sure you find out ahead of time when they can accept visitors because open hours vary.

About the Writer

Read about Katherine Anne Porter (1890-1980) here: britannica.com. She was a cousin of O. Henry; visitors to Austin might also enjoy a stop at the O. Henry House. Read about it here: O. Henry in Austin.

Her Writing

Her best known book is Ship of Fools (1962). The story has a wide range of characters sailing on a cruise while dealing with many of today’s societal issues.

In the COVID-19 era, however, her book Pale Horse, Pale Rider had a resurgence of popularity because it is a rare classic centered on a pandemic. According to https://slate.com/human-interest/2020/03: “The story is semi-autobiographical. Porter was 28 during the 1918–19 pandemic and working for the Rocky Mountain News in Denver. She was dating a young soldier, who was readying for deployment overseas. When she fell sick, he nursed her at her boarding house, until her editor finally pulled strings to get her admitted to a hospital. That hospital was so overcrowded that Porter was left on a gurney in a hallway for nine days, running a fever of 105. When she recovered, she found out that the soldier had died of the flu. Pale Horse, Pale Rider gives the bones of this experience to its protagonist, Miranda Gay.”

Another popular book she wrote is The Old Order: Stories of the South (1958). The short stories in that book paint a picture of how dark circumstances and deep feelings affect relationships and choices. Her characters are original and unforgettable.

This is the seventh stop on Part One of our Texas Author Adventures Trail.

Patricia Smart