Eudora Alice Welty
(April 13 1909
– July 23 2001
) was an award-winning American author
who wrote about the American South
Life and career
Welty was born in Jackson, Mississippi
, and lived a significant portion of her life in the city's Belhaven neighborhood, where her home has been preserved. She was educated at the Mississippi State College for Women (now called Mississippi University for Women
), the University of Wisconsin-Madison
, and Columbia Business School
. While at Columbia University, where she was the captain of the women's polo team, Welty was a regular at Romany Marie
's café in 1930.
During the 1930s, Welty worked as a photographer for the Works Progress Administration, a job that sent her all over the state of Mississippi photographing people from all economic and social classes. Collections of her photographs are One Time, One Place and Photographs.
Welty's true love was literature, not photography, and she soon devoted her energy to writing fiction. Her first short story, "Death of a Traveling Salesman," appeared in 1936. Her work attracted the attention of Katherine Anne Porter, who became a mentor to her and wrote the foreword to Welty's first collection of short stories, A Curtain of Green, in 1941. The book immediately established Welty as one of American literature's leading lights and featured the legendary and oft-anthologized stories "Why I Live at the P.O.," "Petrified Man," and "A Worn Path." Her novel, The Optimist's Daughter, won the Pulitzer Prize in 1973.
In 1992, Welty was awarded the Rea Award for the Short Story for her lifetime contributions to the American short story, and was also a charter member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers, founded in 1987. In her later life, she lived near Belhaven College in Jackson, Mississippi, where, despite her fame, she was still a common sight among the people of her hometown.
Eudora Welty died of pneumonia in Jackson, Mississippi, at the age of 92, and is buried in Greenwood Cemetery in Jackson.
The name given to the internet email program Eudora
, developed by Steve Dorner
in 1990 at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
, was inspired by Ms. Welty's story "Why I Live at the P.O."
Short story collections
- "Death of a Traveling Salesman" (separate short story), 1936
- "A Worn Path" (separate short story), 1940
- A Curtain of Green, 1941
- The Wide Net and Other Stories, 1943
- Music from Spain, 1948
- The Golden Apples, 1949
- Selected Stories, 1954
- The Bride of the Innisfallen and Other Stories, 1955
- Thirteen Stories, 1965
- The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty, 1980
- Moon Lake and Other Stories, 1980
- Morgana: Two Stories from The Golden Apples, 1988
Literary Criticism and Non-fiction
- Three Papers on Fiction (criticism), 1962
- The Eye of the Story (selected essays and reviews), 1978
- One Writer's Beginnings (autobiography), 1983
- The Norton Book of Friendship (editor, with Roland A. Sharp), 1991
- 3 Minutes or Less (selected essay), 2001