EUDORA WELTY Biography - Writers


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Eudora Alice Welty (April 13, 1909 - July 23, 2001) was an award-winning             
American author and photographer who wrote about the American South.                 
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             
University's 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 cafĂ© in     
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.                                 
The headstone of Eudora Welty at Greenwood Cemetery in Jackson, Mississippi.         
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       
short stories A Worn Path, Why I Live at the P.O., and Petrified Man, all of         
which have been included in many short story anthologies and literature text         
books through the years. The Canadian writer Alice Munro said that Welty's A         
Worn Path was perhaps the most perfect short story ever written.                     
The volume also includes such well-regarded stories as "Powerhouse", "Clytie", "A     
Piece of News", and the title story. In 1992, Welty was awarded the Rea Award         
for the Short Story for her lifetime contributions to the American short story.       
Ms. Welty was also a charter member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers,           
founded in 1987.                                                                     
Her novel The Optimist's Daughter won the Pulitzer Prize in 1973. In her later       
life, she lived near Belhaven College in Jackson, Mississippi. Despite her fame,she   
was still a common sight among the people of Jackson; you could greet her at the     
grocery store, see her on a walk, or run into her just about anywhere that any       
other person would go.                                                               
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 developed by Steve Dorner in 1990       
at the University of Illinois, was inspired by Ms. Welty's story "Why I Live at       
the P.O.".