Daring Greatly: The Life and Short Fiction of Eudora Welty

Reading Close to Home: Eudora Welty

Eudora Welty was a southern lady, soft-spoken, genteel, fond of flowers and gardening. She lived most of her adult life in the house where she grew up, and she was beloved by her neighbors and kin. By her own account, she came of a sheltered life. She said, “A sheltered life can be a daring life as well. For all serious daring starts from within.”

It was out of that daring that Eudora Welty became one of the great writers of the 20th century. Knox County Public Library is pleased to present Daring Greatly: the life and short fiction of Eudora Welty. Led by Professor Edward Francisco, this three-part weekly reading/discussion series runs February 13-27 from 6:30-8:00 at Lawson McGhee Library.

Schedule with stories to be discussed:

  • February 13 - “A Worn Path”
  • February 20 -  “Why I Live at the P.O.”
  • February 27 - “Where Is the Voice Coming From?”

"Daring Greatly" is part of "Reading Close to Home," an ongoing series focusing on the lives and works of Southern writers. Admission is free. 

Eudora Welty was born in 1909 in Oxford, Mississippi. She studied at the Mississippi State College for Women before transferring to the University of Wisconsin to complete her degree in English literature. After graduating, she studied advertising at Columbia University in New York. When the Great Depression hit, she returned to Mississippi where she worked as a photographer for the Works Progress Administration. Her familiarity with and appreciation for the daily lives of the people she photographed gained her admission into previously undocumented aspects of African American culture. Welty published her first short story in 1936 and went on to publish twelve collections of short stories and essays and six novels. She received the Pulitzer Prize in 1973. One story demonstrates particularly Welty’s uncanny understanding of the racist, violent culture in which she lived. “I don’t write out of anger,” she said. “There was one story that anger certainly lit the fuse of.” That story, “Where Is the Voice Coming From?” was written minutes after hearing about the murder of civil rights leader, Medgar Evers and then Welty dictated it by telephone to editors at The New Yorker before Evers’ murderer had even been identified and arrested. Her depiction of the murderer was so accurate that details had to be changed and publication postponed.

Edward Francisco is Professor of English and Writer-in-Residence at Pellissippi State Community College. He is a poet, novelist, essayist, playwright and scholar. His poetry and fiction have appeared in more than seventy magazines and journals and anthologies. He is the author of two novels and was the principal editor of The South in Perspective, an anthology of Southern literature, published by Prentice-Hall.