Transcript of Katherine Anne Porter

This is Texas Originals. From Humanities Texas, for the advancement of heritage, culture, and education.

Critics call Texas-born writer Katherine Anne Porter a "poet of the story." Her carefully crafted short fiction earned her the highest acclaim, including the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award.

Porter was born in 1890 in Indian Creek to a family of modest means. As an adult, she lived for several years in Mexico, and later at points throughout the U.S. and Europe. But her most accomplished stories spring from her childhood in central Texas—what she once called her "native land of the heart."

In masterpieces such as "The Old Order" and "Noon Wine," Porter renders the turbulent interior lives of her characters with precise, translucent prose. Betrayal and self-delusion are common themes. In the story "Old Mortality," the young heroine Miranda Gay shakes off "the legend of the past," resolving to make "her own discoveries." Yet the whole of Porter's fiction emphasizes how difficult self-knowledge is to achieve.

When asked whether her fiction was autobiographical, Porter explained that her stories were "true in the way that a work of fiction should be true, created out of all the scattered particles of life I was able to absorb and combine and shape into new being."

In 2002, First Lady Laura Bush dedicated Porter's childhood home in Kyle as a National Literary Landmark. The home is now a thriving literary center operated by Texas State University.

More information about Katherine Anne Porter and other Texas Originals is available at This program is produced by KUHF Houston Public Radio and Humanities Texas, with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities.