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KAP house renovations complete, Pulitzer Prize-winner to open house

Date of release: 09/21/00

Porter Open house - The Texas childhood home of Katherine Anne Porter, Pulitzer-prize winning short story writer, is scheduled to open after two years of renovations on Thursday, September 27.

SAN MARCOS, TEXAS — In the fall of 1998, the childhood home of Katherine Anne Porter was on the market for residential sale in Kyle, Texas. Two years after community members of Kyle and Southwest Texas State University officials began their quest to purchase and renovate Porter's childhood home at 508 Center Street, revitalization is complete.

E. Annie Proulx, Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist, will open the Porter House with a public reading and book signing beginning at 8 p.m. Sept. 27 at the newly restored homesite.

Proulx began her auspicious career as a fiction writer in her fifties. Her first novel, Postcards (1992), won the coveted PEN/Faulkner Award for fiction in 1993. Her second novel, The Shipping News (1994), garnered her the Chicago Tribune's Heartland Award, the Irish Times International Fiction Prize, the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. Her latest work, Close Range: Wyoming Stories (1999), is a collection of short stories set entirely in Wyoming, where Proulx now lives.

In addition to Proulx’s reading, festivities for the open house include a fiction panel discussion beginning at 2:30 p.m. on Sept. 29 at the Porter House. Proulx, who will be joined by five other award-winning novelists, will moderate the panel discussion. Participants include faculty of SWT’s Master of Fine Arts in creative writing program: Leslie Marmon Silko, current holder of the Roy F. and Joann Cole Mitte Chair in Creative Writing; National Book Award winner Tim O'Brien; Debra Monroe, recipient of the Flannery O'Connor Award for short fiction; Dagoberto Gilb, Ernest Hemingway Foundation Award winner; and Tom Grimes, who earned the New York Times Notable Book Award.

Community members of Kyle and SWT officials chose to renovate the Porter House as a means of preserving the rich history of one of the nation’s most beloved authors. Currently, the curator of the museum, Melissa Falcon, is the writer-in-residence. Falcon is working on her first novel and is a graduate of the SWT MFA program.

Writers selected from a pool of national and international applicants will live in the home for a period of time over the course of each semester, according Tom Grimes, co-coordinator of the project and associate professor of English at SWT. "During their residencies, the writers will teach in local schools, community centers, libraries and at SWT."

As part of the SWT Lindsey Literary Series, public readings and book signings with various authors will be held throughout the semester at the home. The museum at the Katherine Anne Porter House will be open to visitors the first Sunday of every month from 2 to 5 p.m.

Grimes stated that the house restoration project has been a cooperative effort between SWT and the Kyle Preservation Association. Funding for purchase and restoration of the home came from a grass root effort of the local community and the Lower Colorado River Authority, the Burdine Johnson Foundation and the Angel Foundation.

"The group’s vision is to have the house function as a place for people to gather and explore the evolving nature of American literature," Grimes said.

For more information, please contact Renee Le Blanc, MFA in Creative Writing program administrator, in the SWT Department of English, at (512) 245-7681 or visit the Lindsey Literary Series website at http://www.English.txstate.edu/TKL/

(Directions to Porter house from Austin: Take I-35 South to Kyle exit 213. Go to the stop sign on the feeder road. Take a right on to Center Street. Go past downtown and past Baptist church on the right. The next house, 508 Center Street, is the Katherine Anne Porter Literary Center. Parking is available at the elementary school off Gross Street and at the Kyle Public Library across the street from Kyle Elementary.)