Katherine Ayres

Highlights of a Life

Katherine Ayres has been a lover of books since earliest childhood, when she began inventing stories before she could write them.

Her childhood home state of Ohio is the setting for her first two novels, Family Tree and North by Night: A Story of the Underground Railroad. Her present home, Pittsburgh, is the setting for her most recent novel, Voices at Whisper Bend. As part of her research for this book, set during World War II, she spent a day on a tugboat on Pittsburgh’s Monongahela River. Ayres is particularly pleased that the book has inspired conversation among family members of different generations. A reader who learns about 12-year-old Charlotte’s adventure often learns even more about World War II from her parents or grandparents.

Cricket, Spider, Ladybug, and Pockets magazines are among the publishers of her short stories for children. She also writes plays for both children and adults, several of which have received professional readings.

Ayres’ love of literature was a theme during her first career as a teacher and elementary school principal, and she continues to enjoy working with children and teachers in the school setting.

She teachers writing at Chatham College, where she also coordinates the Masters of Arts program in Children’s and Adolescents’ Writing. She is a founding member of the Playwrights’ Lab at Pittsburgh Public Theatre. She has been a speaker at the California Reading Meeting (for teachers of reading), at Aspen Summer Words (a writers’ festival), and at numerous schools as a visiting author and writer-in-residence.

When she is not writing, she skis, golfs, gardens, and quilts. She and her husband are parents to three adult children ad grandparents to one little girl.

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