Eudora Welty

(1909 – 2001)

Eudora Welty: Biographical Sketch

Eudora Alice Welty (Jackson, MS, USA, April 13, 1909 – Jackson, MS, USA, July 23, 2001) was an American author of short stories and novels about the American South. Her novel The Optimist’s Daughter won the Pulitzer Prize in 1973. Welty was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, among numerous awards. She was the first living author to have her works published by the Library of America. Her house in Jackson, Mississippi, is a National Historic Landmark and open to the public as a museum.

Eudora Welty was a prolific writer who created stories in multiple genres. Throughout her writing are the recurring themes of the paradox of human relationships, the importance of place (a recurring theme in most Southern writing), and the importance of mythological influences that help shape the theme.

Read more about Eudora Welty on Wikipedia.


Major Awards and Honors

Pulitzer Prize (USA)
  • 1973: Fiction – “The Optimist’s Daughter”
National Book Awards (USA)
  • 1983: Fiction (Paperback) – “Collected Stories of Eudora Welty”
O. Henry Award for Short Fiction
  • 1939: First Prize – “Petrified Man” (published in The Southern Review)
  • 1941: Second Prize – “A Worn Path” (published in The Atlantic Monthly)
  • 1942: First Prize – “The Wide Net” (published in Harper’s Magazine)
  • 1943: First Prize – “Livvie is Back” (published in The Atlantic Monthly)
  • 1946: First Prize – “A Sketching Trip” (published in The Atlantic Monthly)
  • 1947: First Prize – “The Whole World Knows” (published in Harper’s Bazaar)
  • 1951: Second Prize – “The Burning” (published in Harper’s Bazaar)
  • 1968: First Prize – “The Demonstrators” (published in The New Yorker)
PEN / Malamud Short Story Award (USA)
  • 1992
Edgar (Allan Poe) Awards
(Mystery Writers of America)
  • 1985: Raven Award – Reader of the Year
Ordre des Arts et Lettres (France)
  • 1987: Chevalier de l’Ordre
Légion d’Honneur (France)
  • 1996: Inducted into the Légion



Novels and Novellas
  • The Robber Bridegroom (1942)
  • Delta Wedding (1946)
  • The Ponder Heart (1954)
  • Losing Battles (1970)
  • The Optimist’s Daughter (1972)
Short Stories
  • Magic (1936)
    – Stand-alone story not included in later collections.
  • A Curtain of Green and Other Stories (1941)
  • The Wide Net and Other Stories (1943)
  • A Sketching Trip (1946)
    – Stand-alone story not included in a collection.
  • The Golden Apples (1949)
  • The Bride of the Innisfallen and Other Stories (1955)
  • Where Is the Voice Coming From? (1963)
    – Stand-alone story.
  • The Demonstrators (1966)
    – Stand-alone story.
  • The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty (1980)
Children’s Books
  • Pepe, The Shoe Bird (1964)
  • Shadows (1928)
Plays and Skits
  • Bye-Bye Brevoort (1948)
  • The Robber Bridegroom (1949)
    – Never produced.
Memoir, Essays and Lectures
  • On Writing (1942)
  • A Pageant of Birds (1943)
  • Some Notes on River Country (1944)
  • The Reading and Writing of Short Stories (1949)
  • Place in Fiction (1954)
  • How I Write (1955)
    – Revised for The Eye of the Story (1978) and republished under the title Writing and Analyzing a Story.
  • A Sweet Devouring (1957)
  • Must the Novelist Crusade? (1965)
  • “Is Phoenix Jackson’s Grandson Really Dead?” (1974)
    – Republished under the title The Point of the Story (1978)
  • The Little Store (1975)
  • The Eye of the Story: Selected Essays and Reviews (1978)
  • Preface to “Collected Stories” (1980)
  • One Writer’s Beginnings (1983)
Collections and Compilations
  • Library of America Eudora Welty Edition
    • Complete Novels: The Robber Bridegroom, Delta Wedding, The Ponder Heart, Losing Battles, The Optimist’s Daughter(1998)
    • Stories, Essays, & Memoir (1998)
Collections of Photography
  • Black Saturday (1935)
  • One Time, One Place (1971)
  • Eudora Welty Photographs (1989)


A Selection of Quotes

On Writing

“All serious daring starts from within.”

“Indeed, learning to write may be part of learning to read. For all I know, writing comes out of a superior devotion to reading.”

One Writer’s Beginnings

“It had been startling and disappointing to me to find out that story books had been written by people, that books were not natural wonders, coming up of themselves like grass. Yet regardless of where they come from, I cannot remember a time when I was not in love with them – with the books themselves, cover and binding and the paper they were printed on, with their smell and their weight and with their possession in my arms, captured and carried off to myself. Still illiterate, I was ready for them, committed to all the reading I could give them …”

“Long before I wrote stories, I listened for stories. Listening for them is something more acute than listening to them. I suppose it’s an early form of participation in what goes on. Listening children know stories are there. When their elders sit and begin, children are just waiting and hoping for one to come out, like a mouse from its hole.”

“She read Dickens in the same spirit she would have eloped with him.”

“Through travel I first became aware of the outside world; it was through travel that I found my own introspective way into becoming a part of it.”

Find more quotes by Eudora Welty on Wikiquote and Goodreads.