||Kay Boyle was born in Saint Paul, Minnesota, on February 19, 1902, to Howard Peterson
Boyle and his wife Katherine Evans Boyle. With the encouragement of her mother,
arrived in New York in 1922, determined to forge a literary career for herself.
her interest led her to Lola Ridge’s literary magazine Broom, which published her first poem "Morning" in 1923. That same year she married French-born Richard Brault; a
visit to his family in Brittany turned into an eighteen-year residence in Europe
||In Paris Kay Boyle soon became a member of the American expatriate literary
community, achieving periodical publication for her writing in Ernest Walsh’s
This Quarter and in Eugene Jolas’ Transition. In 1929 Harry and Caresse Crosby’s Black Sun Press
published Boyle’s first book-length work, Short
||Following her divorce from Brault, she married artist-writer Laurence Vail in 1931.
During the 1930s Boyle worked hard at her craft, creating short stories, novels,
poems that garnered her a strong and growing reputation. Boyle found particular
success with the short story, winning the O. Henry award in 1935 and again in
In 1943, two years after her return to the United States, she divorced Vail and
married the Baron Joseph von Franckenstein.
||At the end of the 1940s both Boyle and Franckenstein, again living in Europe, became
victims of McCarthyite witch-hunts. Boyle lost her position as foreign correspondent
for The New Yorker, and Franckenstein his post in the
U.S. State Dept. As a result of these experiences the political aspect of Boyle’s
writing became increasingly strong and political activity a larger part of her
||Following Franckenstein’s death in 1963 Kay Boyle accepted a creative writing
position at San Francisco State College. During her tenure at SFSC (1963-79) she
continued writing and her political activity as well as gaining wide acceptance
teacher. Through the early to mid-1980s Boyle held other writer-in-residence positions
for briefer periods of time.
||Kay Boyle died in Mill Valley, California, on December 27, 1992.