Chopin had almost been forgotten till the late 1960s. Her best known novel, The Awakening, had created such a furore on publication that she had virtually given up writing and her reputation had faded away. Only the renewed interest in women's writing in the 1960s revived her reputation.
She was born Katherine O'Flaherty in 1850 in St. Louis. She married Oscar Chopin, a Creole who was working in St. Louis. They moved down to Louisiana and had six children. Chopin was very fond of New Orleans, as can be seen from The Awakening. Her summers were spent on the nearby resort of Grand Isle (called La Chênière Caminada in The Awakening), which was destroyed by a tropical storm in 1893. However, her husband's business did badly and they returned to his family's plantation in Cloutierville, Louisiana. Oscar died of swamp fever and Kate had to run the plantation on her own. She paid off his debts, sold the plantation and moved back to St. Louis. Soon afterwards, she started to write. Her output was fairly limited. She published a few short stories and only two novels. She is now known primarily for The Awakening. After the condemnation of this novel, she did not publish again and died five years later of a brain hemorrhage.
Books about Kate Chopin