Eudora Welty (1909–2001)

American writer, critic, and photographer. Born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi, Welty became one of the South’s leading literary voices. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin in 1929 and studying for a year at Columbia University’s School of Business, she returned to Jackson and became a publicity agent for the Works Progress Administration, a New Deal social agency. With the help of Robert Penn Warren and Cleanth Brooks, she published several short stories that launched her literary career. Best known for her masterly short fiction—her Collected Stories came out in 1982—Welty’s work includes such novellas and novels as The Robber Bridegroom (1942) and The Optimist’s Daughter (Pulitzer Prize, 1972); two volumes of photographs; and an acclaimed collection of critical essays, The Eye of the Story (1978). Three lectures delivered at Harvard University in April 1983 were published as One Writer’s Beginnings (1984). See also eudorawelty.org.