Picture of author.

Eudora Welty (1909–2001)

Author of The Optimist's Daughter

101+ Works 13,861 Members 241 Reviews 81 Favorited

About the Author

Eudora Welty was born in Jackson, Mississippi on April 13, 1909. She was educated at the Mississippi State College for Women in Columbus, Mississippi, and at the University of Wisconsin. She moved to New York in 1930 to study advertising at the Columbia University business school. After her show more father's death, she moved back to Jackson in 1931. She held various jobs on local newspapers and at a radio station before becoming a publicity agent for the Works Progress Administration (WPA), part of Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal program. Travelling through the state of Mississippi opened her eyes to the misery of the great depression and resulted in a series of photographs, which were exhibited in a one-women show in New York in 1936 and were eventually published as One Time, One Place: Mississippi in the Depression in 1971. She stopped working for the WPA in 1936. Her first stories, Magic and Death of a Travelling Salesman, were published in small magazines in 1936. Some of her better-known short stories are Why I Live at the P.O., Petrified Man, and A Worn Path. Her short story collections include A Curtain of Green, The Golden Apples, The Wide Net and Other Stories, and The Bride of Innisfallen and Other Stories. Her first novel, The Robber Bridegroom, was published in 1942. Her other novels include Delta Wedding, The Ponder Heart, Losing Battles, and The Optimist's Daughter, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1972. She received the gold medal for fiction from the National Institute of Arts and Letters in 1972. Her nonfiction works include A Snapshot Album, The Eye of the Storm: Selected Essays and Reviews, and One Writer's Beginnings. She died from complications following pneumonia on July 23, 2001 at the age of 92. (Bowker Author Biography) show less
Image credit: Eudora Welty

Works by Eudora Welty

The Optimist's Daughter (1972) 2,652 copies
One Writer's Beginnings (1983) 1,737 copies
Delta Wedding (1946) 1,008 copies
Losing Battles (1970) 701 copies
The Ponder Heart (1954) 588 copies
The Robber Bridegroom (1942) 499 copies
The Golden Apples (1947) 441 copies
Thirteen Stories (1965) 429 copies
On Writing (Modern Library) (2002) 210 copies
Eudora Welty Photographs (1989) 158 copies
Why I Live at the P.O. (1995) 132 copies
Country Churchyards (2000) 51 copies
The Shoe Bird (1964) 37 copies
Some Notes on River Country (2003) 32 copies
Moon Lake [short story] (2011) 31 copies
A Worn Path (1991) 23 copies
Moon Lake and Other Stories (1777) 16 copies
On William Faulkner (2003) 16 copies
Eudora Welty Reads (1998) 10 copies
Early Escapades (2005) 7 copies
Clytie 6 copies
Petrified Man (2014) 5 copies
Lily Daw and the Three Ladies (1972) — Author — 4 copies
Acrobats in a Park. (1980) 2 copies
Powerhouse 2 copies
Fictions (2000) 2 copies
Wide Net, the (1943) 1 copy
Delta Wdding 1 copy
[No title] 1 copy

Associated Works

To the Lighthouse (1927) — Introduction, some editions — 17,716 copies
The Best American Short Stories of the Century (2000) — Contributor — 1,569 copies
Death of a Salesman [critical edition] (1967) — Contributor — 1,264 copies
Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama (1995) — Contributor, some editions — 929 copies
The Best American Essays of the Century (2000) — Contributor — 784 copies
The Oxford Book of American Short Stories (1992) — Contributor — 757 copies
Short Story Masterpieces (1954) — Contributor — 685 copies
The Oxford Book of Gothic Tales (1992) — Contributor — 544 copies
The Oxford Book of Short Stories (1981) — Contributor — 515 copies
Great American Short Stories (1957) — Contributor — 499 copies
The World of the Short Story: A 20th Century Collection (1986) — Contributor — 465 copies
Points of View: Revised Edition (1966) — Contributor — 416 copies
Cries of the Spirit: A Celebration of Women's Spirituality (2000) — Contributor — 375 copies
The Granta Book of the American Short Story (1992) — Contributor — 368 copies
Women & Fiction: Short Stories By and About Women (1975) — Contributor — 367 copies
The Portable Sixties Reader (2002) — Contributor — 330 copies
A Treasury of Short Stories (1947) — Contributor — 295 copies
100 Years of the Best American Short Stories (2015) — Contributor — 293 copies
The Best of Modern Humor (1983) — Contributor — 291 copies
The Treasury of American Short Stories (1981) — Contributor — 269 copies
Voyage of the Sable Venus and Other Poems (2015) — Cover artist — 224 copies
The New Granta Book of the American Short Story (2007) — Contributor — 214 copies
We Are the Stories We Tell (1990) — Contributor — 196 copies
Murder & Other Acts of Literature (1997) — Contributor — 149 copies
An Anthology of Famous American Stories (1953) — Contributor — 140 copies
The Mammoth Book of Modern Ghost Stories (2007) — Contributor — 136 copies
Mistresses of the Dark [Anthology] (1998) — Contributor — 122 copies
The Signet Classic Book of Southern Short Stories (1991) — Contributor — 121 copies
Downhome: An Anthology of Southern Women Writers (1995) — Contributor — 116 copies
Granta 115: The F Word (2011) — Contributor — 114 copies
Magical Realist Fiction: An Anthology (1984) — Contributor — 113 copies
The Literature of the American South: A Norton Anthology (1997) — Contributor — 99 copies
The Granta Book of the American Long Story (1998) — Contributor — 99 copies
American Short Stories (1976) — Contributor, some editions — 95 copies
Skin Deep: Black Women and White Women Write About Race (1995) — Contributor — 90 copies
Stories from The New Yorker, 1950 to 1960 (1958) — Contributor — 80 copies
Ten Modern Masters: An Anthology of the Short Story (1953) — Contributor, some editions — 74 copies
200 Years of Great American Short Stories (1975) — Contributor — 68 copies
Art of Fiction (1967) — Contributor — 51 copies
O. Henry Memorial Award Prize Stories of 1943 (1943) — Contributor — 49 copies
Masters of the Modern Short Story (1945) — Contributor — 47 copies
Southern Dogs and Their People (2000) — Contributor — 39 copies
New Orleans Noir 2: The Classics (2016) — Contributor — 37 copies
The Signet Book of American Essays (2006) — Contributor — 36 copies
The Secret Self: A Century of Short Stories by Women (1995) — Contributor — 34 copies
Birds in the Hand: Fiction and Poetry about Birds (2004) — Contributor — 33 copies
Hot and Cool: Jazz Short Stories (1990) — Contributor — 30 copies
The Second Penguin Book of Modern Women's Short Stories (1997) — Contributor — 27 copies
American short stories, 1820 to the present (1952) — Contributor — 26 copies
The Seas of God: Great Stories of the Human Spirit (1944) — Contributor — 25 copies
Studies in Fiction (1965) — Contributor — 22 copies
The Robber Bridegroom (1978) 18 copies
Modern American Short Stories (1945) — Contributor — 15 copies
Mississippi Writers: An Anthology (1991) — Contributor — 14 copies
The Best American Short Stories 1955 (1955) — Contributor — 13 copies
Stories of Initiation. (Lernmaterialien) (1978) — Contributor — 13 copies
A Portrait of Southern Writers: Photographs (2000) — Contributor — 13 copies
Story to Anti-Story (1979) — Contributor — 13 copies
Twenty-Nine Stories (1960) — Contributor — 13 copies
31 Stories (1960) — Contributor — 12 copies
The Best American Short Stories 1943 (1943) — Contributor — 11 copies
Inward Journey (1987) — Contributor — 11 copies
The Penguin New Writing No. 36 (1949) — Contributor — 11 copies
The best of the Best American short stories, 1915-1950 (1975) — Contributor — 10 copies
Open Secrets (1972) 8 copies
The Caedmon Short Story Collection (2001) — Contributor — 7 copies
O. Henry Memorial Award Prize Stories of 1941 (1941) — Contributor — 7 copies
Time to Be Young: Great Stories of the Growing Years (1945) — Contributor — 7 copies
Twenty-Three Modern Stories (1963) — Contributor — 4 copies
Modern Short Stories — Contributor — 2 copies
The College Short Story Reader (1948) — Contributor — 2 copies
Enjoying Stories (1987) — Contributor — 2 copies
The Avon Annual 1945: 18 Great Modern Stories (1945) — Contributor — 1 copy
Whole Pieces (1990) — Contributor — 1 copy
Stories of Sudden Truth (1953) — Contributor — 1 copy
15 Great Stories of Today (1946) — Contributor — 1 copy


20th century (694) American (421) American literature (630) American South (141) anthology (1,256) autobiography (140) biography (145) British (264) British literature (250) classic (451) classics (547) collection (143) England (131) English (130) English literature (299) essays (404) Eudora Welty (134) family (173) feminism (142) fiction (5,183) literature (1,083) memoir (226) Mississippi (226) modernism (315) non-fiction (403) novel (718) own (193) poetry (174) read (302) short fiction (137) short stories (2,336) southern (261) southern literature (223) stories (197) stream of consciousness (187) to-read (1,852) unread (317) Virginia Woolf (145) women (228) writing (310)

Common Knowledge

Legal name
Welty, Eudora Alice
Date of death
Burial location
Greenwood Cemetery, Jackson, Mississippi, USA
Jackson, Mississippi, USA
Place of death
Jackson, Mississippi, USA
Places of residence
Jackson, Mississippi, USA
Mississippi State College for Women (Mississippi University for Women)
University of Wisconsin (BA|1929)
Columbia University Graduate School of Business (1930-31)
short-story writer
publicity agent
lecturer (show all 7)
Porter, Katherine Anne (friend)
Aswell, Mary Louise (friend|correspondent)
American Academy of Arts and Letters ( [1952])
Fellowship of Southern Writers (charter member)
Works Progress Administration
The New York Times
Harvard University (lecturer)
Junior League of Jackson (show all 7)
Bread Loaf Writers' Conference
Awards and honors
Presidential Medal of Freedom (1980)
National Medal of Arts (1986)
National Book Foundation Medal (1991)
Peggy V. Helmerich Distinguished Author Award (1991)
Rea Award for the Short Story (1992)
PEN/Malamud Award for the Short Story (1992) (show all 20)
Charles Frankel Prize (1993)
Distinguished Alumni Award (American Association of State Colleges and Universities ∙ 1993)
Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (1987)
Cleanth Brooks Medal for Lifetime Achievement (1991)
Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur (1996)
America Award (2000)
National Institute of Arts and Letters Gold Medal (1972)
Edward MacDowell Medal (1970)
National Medal for Literature (1980)
Common Wealth Award (1984)
Order of the South
National Women's Hall of Fame (2000)
National Humanities Medal (1992)
First living author published in the Library of America series



Delta Wedding Group Read - Discussion Thread in 75 Books Challenge for 2022 (November 2022)
October 2014: Eudora Welty in Monthly Author Reads (October 2014)
Eudora Welty- American Author Challenge in 75 Books Challenge for 2014 (July 2014)


In this LOA volume is included 5 of Welty's novels which covers for the most part her utilizing her Mississippi background, generally focused on southern fictional women. Her imaginative yet relational characters come to life in these novels. The reader will enjoy hours of reading a long past world of the South before & after the Civil War.
walterhistory | 3 other reviews | Jun 6, 2024 |
Eudora Welty's lifetime beginning in 1909 which covered an entire 20th century, saw a wide range of literary talents come & go but her work remained fresh. Here in this volume produced by LOA are 5 groups of her stories which readers will find interesting. Her essays selected are listed as well but the most fascinating is her memoir of her life which she relates the ups & downs of her years as a writer.
walterhistory | 2 other reviews | Jun 6, 2024 |
An extraordinary record of a deep and long friendship between two of America's finest writers. They had known and supported each other for over fifty years. They were family. And for a lot of the time Maxwell was Welty's editor, and the workings of their working relationship are sometimes found between these pages.

Alike in much of their early experience, always recommending and gifting new books or other cultural finds. Supportive of other creativity. Reporting on meetings with other writers, as in this report by Maxwell of meeting Isak Dinesen:

She herself at times looked like a falcon. Though we talked all through dinner, she didn't do more than consider and reply to my remarks, until the dessert, and then something, I forget what, the fact that I had just finished making a doll house, perhaps, for my daughter, made her melt, and she talked to me-but still not personally, not as if she liked me or ever wanted to see me again. But in such a way as to make me love her forever. Her voice is so beautiful, the accent isn't either British or American. It has notes that are like cello music. It's like listening to Hayden (Haydn). And those burning black eyes. It is several years too late to be her friend, but it is not too late to remember what she is like, as long as I live. p133.

Isn't Dinesen now vividly in your imagination?

It is also amazing to think that they each carried out multiple correspondences, although this was the closest to them both I think. How lucky we are to have it.

Of course I now want to read more of both of their stories, I just ordered Maxwell's complete stories, and am trying to put my hands on my volume of Welty's.
… (more)
Caroline_McElwee | 2 other reviews | May 19, 2024 |
Laurel returns to her small Mississippi town from Chicago in time for her father to die after eye surgery. Her own husband died in the war a year earlier. Her mother has been dead for years after going blind.

Her father's clueless and stupidly cruel second wife, Fay, is Laurel's age. While Laurel embraces the past, her family's past, Fay shuns it. "The past isn't a thing to me. I belong to the future, didn't you know that?" The future doesn't look good to Laurel. She returns to Chicago after burning her mother's letters, her past life gone.… (more)
Hagelstein | 91 other reviews | Jan 26, 2024 |



You May Also Like

Associated Authors

Ronald A. Sharp Joint editor
Po Chü-i Contributor
W. H. Auden Contributor
John Donne Contributor
Colette Contributor
John Keats Contributor
Anne Sexton Contributor
James Boswell Contributor
Giosuè Carducci Contributor
Robert Browning Contributor
Langston Hughes Contributor
VS Prichett Contributor
Samuel Johnson Contributor
Bertolt Brecht Contributor
Katherine Philips Contributor
Jonathan Swift Contributor
Wang Chien Contributor
Thomas Hardy Contributor
Lewis Carroll Contributor
Jorge Luis Borges Contributor
Dante Alighieri Contributor
Aristotle Contributor
Rainer Maria Rilke Contributor
Robert Frost Contributor
Walt Whitman Contributor
Raymond Carver Contributor
Emily Dickinson Contributor
William Blake Contributor
Ursula K. Le Guin Contributor
Adrienne Rich Contributor
Sappho Contributor
Homer Contributor
William Cowper Contributor
Delmore Schwartz Contributor
Martial Contributor
Wilfred Owen Contributor
Wang Wei Contributor
Richard Wilbur Contributor
Anna Ahkmatova Contributor
Theodore Roethke Contributor
Giuseppe Ungaretti Contributor
A. E. Housman Contributor
Michael S. Harper Contributor
Derek Walcott Contributor
Charles Lamb Contributor
Edmund Spenser Contributor
Ogden Nash Contributor
Francis Bacon Contributor
Ben Jonson Contributor
Alexander Pope Contributor
Cicero Contributor
Robert Burns Contributor
Horace Contributor
Hermione Lee Introduction
Luca Briasco Preface
Simona Fefè Translator
Bascove Cover artist
Sally Darling Narrator
Samuel A. Shute Cover artist
Paul Binding Introduction
Henry Church Cover artist
Helen McNeil Introduction
Joe Krush Illustrator
Barry Moser Illustrator
Senta Berger Narrator


Also by

Charts & Graphs