Eudora Welty: Biography

Eudora Welty

13 apr 1909

Eudora Welty is one of the most famous authors of the twentieth century. This short-story writer and novelist was the first living author whose works were published by the Library of America. Eudora was also honoured with the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Order of the South.

Born on Apr 13, 1909 in Jackson Mississippi, Eudora Welty was the eldest among three children. Her parents were both school teachers. Eudora’s father was initially a book-keeper. Eventually their family was a bookish family. Eudora’s fond memories are her parents reading her favourite books in the evening.

Eudora acquired a degree in arts from the University of Wisconsin. Although Eudora was interested in writing stories, her father was not convinced at the fact that she could earn a living from writing stories. So he encouraged her to study advertising at the Columbia University Graduate School of Business in New York. It was actually the years that Eudora spend in Wisconsin and New York that shaped her future.

Eudora did various jobs such as part-time journalist, copywriter, photographer, teacher and lecturer. Her work as a photographer allowed her to travel to many places and these experiences helped her in generating ideas for short stories. Most of Eudora’s writings were based on South America. In June 1936, her story, ‘Death of a Traveling Salesman’ was published in the Atlantic and the southern Review, Eudora’s first collection of stories; ‘A Curtain of Green’ received great appreciation.

‘The Golden Apples’, one of the most complex collections of stories received a huge number of awards. Eudora also received the William Dean Howells Medal of the Academy of Arts and letters for her novel, ‘The Ponder Heart’.

Eudora could not concentrate much on writing during the period 1955 & 1970 since she was occupied with teaching and travelling. Later she started to write stories and auto-biographical pieces. She became a known fiction writer through her two works, ‘The Eye of the Story’ and ‘The Collected Stories’, Eudora’s auto-biographical, ‘One writer’s Beginning’s’ became a best- seller with one hundred thousand copies in sales. She also won Pulitzer Prize in 1973 for her novel, ‘The Optimist’s Daughter’.

Eudora’s works emphasis on love between men and women and different stages of women’s life, Eudora died at the age of ninety two on Jul 22, 2001 in Jackson, Mississippi. Her home was made a National Historic Landmark and is open to the public as a house museum.