Eudora Welty: “She Was Best Known for Her Trenchant Stories of the South.”

From The Writer’s Almanac:

It’s the birthday of short-story writer and novelist Eudora Welty. She was born, raised, and died in Jackson, Mississippi. Welty is best known for her trenchant stories of the South, like “Why I Live at the P.O.,” about an eccentric woman who alienates her family and ends up living at the post office, and her novel, The Optimist’s Daughter, which won the Pulitzer Prize. About writing, Welty said: “Fiction has, and must keep, a private address. For life is lived in a private place; where it means anything is inside the mind and heart.”

Her books include The Wide Net and Other Stories, The Robber Bridegroom, Delta Wedding, and The Ponder Heart. Her memoir, One Writer’s Beginnings, is considered a classic text on becoming an artist.

Because she lived in Jackson for most of her life, some people think Welty was a reclusive spinster, but the opposite is true. She traveled widely, often overseas, and had two great love affairs, one with mystery writer Ross Macdonald that remained unconsummated, but produced a legion of passionate letters.

Plenty of people came to Jackson to see Welty too, like novelist Henry Miller. Welty’s mother thought Miller’s writing was obscene, so she banned him from the house, but Welty met him anyway. She didn’t like him much, though. She called him, “The dullest man I ever saw in my life. He wasn’t interested in anything outside himself.” William Faulkner was a fan of her writing. He once sent her a letter that said, “You’re doing all right.”

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