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Author Eudora Welty dead at 92


JACKSON, Mississippi (CNN) -- Pulitzer Prize-winning author Eudora Welty died Monday, according to a spokeswoman at Baptist Medical Center in Jackson. She was 92.

Welty was pronounced dead at 12:25 p.m. of cardio-pulmonary failure linked to pneumonia, said hospital spokeswoman Ginger Coke.

Throughout a career that began with her first published story in 1936, Welty plumbed the intricacies and depths of relationships through carefully chosen prose intended to depict the lives and emotions of her characters. She won the 1973 Pulitzer Prize for fiction for her novel "The Optimist's Daughter."

"I'm not any kind of prophet, but I think it's in our nature to talk, to tell stories, appreciate stories," she said in a 1991 interview. "I think you write about whatever's current. ... They won't be the same kind of stories, but they'll be about human beings."

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    She was beloved by critics and fellow writers.

    "She was extraordinary," author Elizabeth Hardwick told The Associated Press. "She had her own voice and her own tone and her own subject matter. There was no one quite like her in American literature."

    Reflecting the South

    Welty was born April 13, 1909, in Jackson, Mississippi, the daughter of an insurance executive. Many of her works reflect the life and manners of the people in her native southern United States.

    She attended the Mississippi State College for Women -- now Mississippi University for Women -- and was graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1929. She then attended the Columbia University School of Business for a short time before returning to Jackson in 1931.

    During the Great Depression, Welty worked for the Works Progress Administration, writing articles and advertisements. An amateur photographer, she also took pictures of Mississippi life, some of which were published in the WPA's Guide to Mississippi. A collection of her photographs was published in 1989.

    After publishing stories in a number of magazines, including the New Yorker and The Atlantic Monthly, Welty's publication of the story collection "A Curtain of Green" in 1941 brought her a widespread audience.

    That volume contains two of her most anthologized stories -- "The Petrified Man" and "Why I Live at the P.O."

    In 1942 her short novel "The Robber Bridegroom" was published, and in 1946 her first full-length novel was issued, "Delta Wedding."

    Her later novels include "The Ponder Heart" (1954), "Losing Battles" (1970), and the Pulitzer Prize-winning "The Optimist's Daughter" (1972).

    "The Wide Net and Other Stories" (1943), "The Golden Apples" (1949), and "The Bride of Innisfallen and Other Stories" (1955) are collections of short stories, and "The Eye of the Story" (1978) is a volume of essays. "The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty" was published in 1980.

    One of her most popular books, "One Writer's Beginnings," was published in 1984. This autobiographical look at her life and work explored what Welty called her "sheltered life" in Jackson and how her early fiction grew out of it.

    • Eudora Welty: Mississippi writers project
    • Eudora Welty Newsletter
    • Eudora Welty: A Hometown Perspective

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