Eudora Welty was born in 1909 in Jackson, Mississippi and lived most of her life in the house in which she grew up.
Welty's work is set in Mississippi, often in the Delta, capturing the distinctive Southern character and nuances of speech. Her bond to the South, as a source of inspiration for her writing, stems from her life. Her father was an insurance executive who came from Ohio. Her mother was from West Virginia. Welty attended Mississippi College, then transferred to the University of Wisconsin, where she earned her B.A. She went on to do graduate work in Business at Columbia University in New York City. At that time, as she has said, " I never expected to make a living as an author."
She returned to Mississippi during the early Depression years. She worked for newspapers, a radio station, and as a publicist for the WPA, which enabled her to travel throughout Mississippi.
A Curtain of Green and Other Stories, her first collection of short stories, appeared in 1941, and brought her immediate attention as one of America's most gifted writers. (A 50th-Anniversary edition, updated and enlarged, appeared in 1991.). She is the author of six novels, a book of essays, an autobiography and two books of photography. Her short story collections include The Wide Net and Other Stories , The Golden Apples , The Bride of Innisfallen & Other Stories , Thirteen Stories  , and The Collection Stories of Eudora Welty . Two volumes of Welty's writings were published by the Library of America in 1998.
Among the most honored of American writers, she has received the National Medal for Literature, the American Academy of Art and Letters Howells Medal. The National Institute of Arts and Letters Gold Medal for the Novel, the Pulitzer Prize (for the novel, The Optimist's Daughter ), the Presidential Medal for Freedom, and the National Book Foundation's Medal for Distinguished Contributions to American Letters. Her stories have appeared in The Southern Review, The Atlantic Monthly, and The New Yorker. Eudora Welty died at her home in Jackson, Mississippi, in July 2001.
In selecting Eudora Welty, Rea Award jurors Russell Banks, Ann Beattie, and L. Rust Hills, said:
"Surely no one in our time has contributed more to the extraordinary power and beauty of the American short story than Eudora Welty. Formally, her stories test, explore and define the limits of the genre. Beyond that, there is a simple humanity, a defining decency, that from the beginning has illuminated the body of her work, and we must treasure and celebrate this quality, for perhaps not since Chekhov have we been in the presence of a writer whose quality of affection for the ordinary man and woman is so clear-eyed, forgiving and unjudgemental."