Master short-story writer and novelist Eudora Welty, noted for her use of imagery, dialogue and wit, died July 23 at a hospital near her home in Jackson, Miss. She had been plagued with various ailments for years and was 92.
Several of her stories were turned into stage versions, films or TV shows including “The Ponder Heart” (a hit Broadway play in 1956 and much later remade for TV), “The Key,” “The Hitch-Hikers” and “The Wide Net.” Her novella “The Robber Bridegroom” became a successful musical.
She won a Pulitzer Prize in 1973 for her novel “The Optimist’s Daughter” and over the years also received the National Book Critics Circle Award, the American Book Award, several O. Henry Awards and the Gold Medal of the National Institute of Arts and Letters.
She was also the first living writer to be included in the prestigious Library of America series of collected works by United States literary giants, received the U.S. Medal of Freedom in 1980 and was inducted into the French Legion of Honor.
Eudora, the widely used email program, was named after Welty because its designer said he had been processing so much email that he felt like the Welty character in her famous story “Why I Live at the P.O.”
During World War II, Welty was briefly on the staff of the New York Times Book Review and sometimes contributed reviews under the pseudonym Michael Ravenna, but returned to Jackson during the 1950’s, when her mother and brothers fell seriously ill.
Welty never married and there were no immediate survivors.