Women’s History Month: Celebrating Pulitzer-Prize winner, Eudora Welty

March is Women’s History Month and to join in paying tribute to the generations of women whose commitment to equality have proved invaluable to society, I would like to pay homage to Pulitzer-Prize winning novelist and chronicler of the American South, Eudora Welty.

Eudora Welty was a major force in twentieth-century literature, and over the course of her life, she became a cultural icon. Interested in the relationship of place to character, her art explores the impact place on the life of the individual. Her writing, as was her intellect showed layers of a passions and talents.

According to an issue in the Smithsonian magazine, before she was a published author, she had a one-woman show of her photographs taken in Mississippi in the early to mid-1930s. These pictures show a rural poverty, destitution, and desperation from the Great Depression. More than that, they show the photographer’s wide-ranging enthusiasm and unstinting empathy — which would mark her work as a writer, too.

In a world where writers have often proven imperfect public figures– indulgent and self-destructive or ardent recluses or intellectual elitism– Welty was not, says Suzanne Marrs, author of the book Eudora Welty: A Biography.

By the end of her life, Welty had been given nearly every literary award there was and was all but shrouded in admiration. Marrs includes, “she had a self-deprecating sense humor and a genuine interest in people. She loved her parents and wasn’t ashamed to say so. She loved the natural beauty of her native Mississippi, the scale and pace of life, the close friends she had there.”

To date, the Eudora Welty Foundation awards young writers with scholastic awards and fellowships and continues to pass on Eudora’s love of nature and the written word.

Sources: Marrs, S. (2005). Eudora Welty: A biography. Orlando: Harcourt.

Photo credit: Biography.com