An American novelist, journalist, and essayist, she is known for her best-selling 1962 novel, Ship of Fools. For her 1965 work, The Collected Stories, she won both the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the National Book Award.
She worked briefly as an extra in movies while living in Chicago. She later returned to her home state of Texas, where she continued working as an actress.
She nearly lost her life as a result of the 1918 influenza epidemic.
She and her four siblings were born in Indian Creek, Texas and were descendants of frontiersman
She once claimed to have married Hart Crane.