Some authors manage to exist on the periphery for all of us; I mean we know their name and know that they are important, but we haven’t quite gotten around to actually reading their work. For me, Eudora Welty has been one such author for quite a while now. Thankfully, that Dark Age is over.
Welty is a masterful writer perhaps best known for her short stories “A Worn Path” and Why I Live at the P.O.” She was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1973 for the short meditative novel, The Optimist’s Daughter, which came late in her career.
I mentioned Dr. Pearl McHaney in this blog before, but to refresh, she is a Welty scholar and professor at Georgia State University. Dr. McHaney recently gave a series of free public lectures at the Decatur Library, and she joins us this Sunday on Cover to Cover to talk about Welty. Dr. McHaney visited with Welty a few times at her home in Jackson, and has edited several volumes of Welty’s fiction, as well as public letters and literary criticism from the Belle of Belhaven.
Fresh of the presses at the University Press of Mississippi come two new edited volumes, Occasions: Selected Writings and Eudora Welty as Photographer. Both books are edited by Dr. McHaney, and the titles pretty well sum up the contents. Welty was not a WPA photographer (though she wanted to be), but her photographic work is very much identified with those proletariat pictures of the dusty south (and dusty New York). Occasions is a sizeable collection for Welty enthusiasts who want to delve deeper into the life of the woman who is perhaps as mysterious as she was charming.
We welcome Dr. McHaney to the show this Sunday, April 12 on the eve of what would be Welty’s 100th birthday. We talk about Dr. McHaney’s meetings with her beloved subject, the author’s strident support of the artists she loved, and of course, Welty’s inimitable writing.
And for those of you Welty fans near the Atlanta area, Dr. McHaney will dish the details on a birthday party downtown. It will be Monday evening at the Rialto on the campus of GSU and will feature dramatic readings from Tom Key and Brenda Bynum as well as champagne, coconut cake and the launch of The Eudora Welty Review, an annual publication that Dr. McHaney will edit. The event begins at 6 PM, but if you can make it down to GSU by 4:30, you can hear a free lecture by Dr. Daniele Pitavy-Souques, Profesor Emerita, at the University of Burgundy.
Hope to see you there!
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