On Her 106th Birthday, WABE Celebrates Author Eudora Welty

“City Lights” host Lois Reitzes talks with Eudora Welty scholar Pearl McHaney.

Instead of cake and ice cream, Eudora Welty might prefer a slice of key lime pie with a side of pimento cheese for her birthday. The great Southern author passed away in 2001 at the age of 92, but we are celebrating her 106th birthday Monday.

Welty lived most of her life in her hometown of Jackson, Mississippi, but she often traveled around the United States to give lectures and to write. Recognized as a great talent, she was on the book reviews staff for the New York Times. Amongst several literary awards, Welty also received the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Welty was so prolific that one professor at Georgia State University has dedicated her scholarly life to the work of Welty. Dr. Pearl McHaney teaches Southern literature at GSU and is also the associate dean for fine arts.

Since Welty wrote stacks upon stacks of novels, short stories, letters and reviews, McHaney provided two recommendations for anyone attempting the dive into Welty’s work. First, Welty wrote a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel called “The Optimist’s Daughter.” Second, McHaney recommends Welty’s autobiography, “One Writer’s Beginnings.”

McHaney will be giving a lecture Tuesday at noon titled “Eudora Welty: A Life in Letters” at Theatrical Outfit at Balzer Theater at Herren’s.