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Katherine Sherar Pannill Center (born March 4, 1972) is a contemporary American fiction author.
Early life and education
Center graduated from St. John's School in Houston, Texas, and from Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York. She won the Vassar College Fiction Prize while a student. She received her M.A. in fiction from the University of Houston, where she was the co-editor of the literary fiction magazine, Gulf Coast. Her graduate thesis, Peepshow, a collection of stories, was a finalist for the Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction. Her sister is U.S. Congresswoman Lizzie Pannill Fletcher
Center is the author of several books, which she describes as "bittersweet comic novels." Her first novel, The Bright Side of Disaster (2006), was optioned by Varsity Pictures, and her sixth, How to Walk Away (2018), was a New York Times bestseller and Book of the Month Club pick for May, 2018, and a Target Book Club pick for July, 2019. Center's 2019 novel, Things You Save in a Fire was New York Times bestseller, and a Book of the Month Club pick for July, 2019.
Center has published essays in Real Simple and the anthologies Because I Love Her, CRUSH: 26 Real-Life Tales of First Love, and My Parents Were Awesome.
Center also makes video essays, one of which, a letter to her daughter about motherhood, became the very popular Defining a Movement video for the Mom 2.0 conference. Center was a presented at the 2018 TEDx Bend, and her talk was entitled, "We Need to Teach Boys to Read Stories About Girls".
- The Bright Side of Disaster (2006)
- Everyone is Beautiful (2009)
- Get Lucky (2010)
- The Lost Husband (2013)
- Happiness for Beginners (2015)
- How to Walk Away (2018)
- Things You Save in a Fire (2019)
- What You Wish For (2020)
- "New voices: Katherine Center". USA Today. July 18, 2007. Retrieved 24 June 2012.
- Lanham, Franz (July 22, 2007). "Katherine Center's first book delivers". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 3 March 2013.
In graduate school at UH, minimalists like Raymond Carver and Amy Hempel were big influences on Center's style. But she gravitated toward David Sedaris-like subject matter — funny, off-the-wall stuff. "I really love writers who can make you laugh," she says. She has a two-book deal from Ballantine and is putting the finishing touches on her second novel, about a woman with three young sons who decides she needs to reconnect with aspects of her pre-mom identity. It's due next summer.
- "Katherine Center". Penguin Random House. Retrieved November 20, 2018.
Katherine Center graduated from Vassar College, where she won the Vassar College Fiction Prize, and received an MA in fiction from the University of Houston. She served as fiction co-editor for the literary magazine Gulf Coast, and her graduate thesis, Peepshow, a collection of stories, was a finalist for the Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction. A former freelancer and teacher, she lives in Houston with her husband and two young children.
- Bagley, Allison (May 11, 2018). "Houston novelist Katherine Center tackles her toughest subject matter to date". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved November 20, 2018.
The theme I seem to come back to is how we pick ourselves back up after life has knocked us down. And it’s because I’m not really good at that. It’s very easy for me to be like, ‘Well, it’s hopeless’ and throw myself on the floor. So I am fascinated by how other people do it.
- THINGS YOU SAVE IN A FIRE by Katherine Center | Kirkus Reviews.
- WHAT YOU WISH FOR by Katherine Center | Kirkus Reviews.
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