SAU’s Wojtasik anchors Reminiscences Panel of the Katherine Anne Porter Society
St. Andrews University’s Dr. Ted Wojtasik served on the Reminiscences Panel of the Katherine Anne Porter Society during the 2014 American Literature Association Conference in Washington, DC.
Dr. Beth Alvarez, curator of literary manuscripts Emerita at the University of Maryland, invited Wojtasik to speak on the panel of individuals who personally knew the distinguished American writer.
“I met Katherine Anne Porter in 1979 just after I received my B.A.,” said Wojtasik. “I became involved in a project with her to collect her letters. Hence, for the next 14 months, before she died, I visited her almost weekly.”
Porter won a Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award in 1966 for The Collected Stories of Katherine Anne Porter. In 1967, the American Academy of Arts and Letters presented her with the Gold Medal Award for Fiction. The University of Maryland formally opened the Katherine Anne Porter Room in 1968, which includes Porter’s library.
“(Porter) and I always talked about books, and we always exchanged books with each other,” said Wojtasik. “She gave me her 1969 paperback copy of Writers at Work, the third series, of the Paris Review interviews with poets, writers, dramatists, and essayists. She had signed it, dated it, and scribbled all inside it.”
At the end of his remarks, Wojtasik took out the book to donate to the Katherine Anne Porter Room.
“I said, ‘I’ve had this book for 35 years, and I’m returning it to her library,’” he shared.
The donation was well received by Alvarez.
“This unique volume provides Porter’s insights into writers that are not documented elsewhere in her papers and personal library,” she said. “It was a wonderful surprise and even more wonderful that it was donated on the spot.”
Also participating on the panel were Jane DeMouy, Mary Winslow Poole and Clark Dobson.