Eudora Alice Welty was an award-winning American author who wrote short stories and novels about the American South. Her book The Optimist's Daughter won the Pulitzer Prize in 1973 and she 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.Welty was born in Jackson, Mississippi, and lived a significant portion of her life in the city's Belhaven neighborhood, where her home has been preserved. She was educated at the Mississippi State College for Women (now called Mississippi University for Women), the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Columbia Business School. While at Columbia University, where she was the captain of the women's polo team, Welty was a regular at Romany Marie's café in 1930.During the 1930s, Welty worked as a photographer for the Works Progress Administration, a job that sent her all over the state of Mississippi photographing people from all economic and social classes. Collections of her photographs are One Time, One Place and Photographs.Welty's true love was literature, not photography, and she soon devoted her energy to writing fiction. Her first short story, "Death of a Traveling Salesman," appeared in 1936. Her work attracted the attention of Katherine Anne Porter, who became a mentor to her and wrote the foreword to Welty's first collection of short stories, A Curtain of Green, in 1941. The book immediately established Welty as one of American literature's leading lights and featured the legendary and oft-anthologized stories "Why I Live at the P.O.," "Petrified Man," and "A Worn Path." Her novel, The Optimist's Daughter, won the Pulitzer Prize in 1973.In 1992, Welty was awarded the Rea Award for the Short Story for her lifetime contributions to the American short story, and was also a charter member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers, founded in 1987. In her later life, she lived near Belhaven College in Jackson, Mississippi, where, despite her fame, she was still a common sight among the people of her hometown.Eudora Welty died of pneumonia in Jackson, Mississippi, at the age of 92, and is buried in Greenwood Cemetery in Jackson.Excerpted and adopted from Wikipedia.