National Book Awards Acceptance Speeches

Biography of Eudora Welty Winner of the 1991

From the 1991 National Book Awards Program

National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize winner Eudora Welty receives the National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters at the Forty-First Annual National Book Awards Dinner, at the Plaza Hotel in New York City on the evening of November 20th, 1991.

In the five decades since the publication of her first book, A Curtain of Green and Other Stories (1941), Eudora Welty, a lifelong native of Jackson, Mississippi, has produced a unique and evocative body of work in which regionalism becomes universal.

The New York Times Book Review said of Miss Welty's first book, "To explain just why these stories impress one so, appears as difficult as to define why an ordinary face, encountered by chance in the street, might suddenly reveal miraculous beauty, through a smile, perhaps, or through an unexpected expression of sadness."

Among Eudora Welty's enduring classics of American literature are: Delta Wedding (1946), The Ponder Heart (1954), Losing Battles (1970), and The Optimist's Daughter (1972). Miss Welty's books are available from Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. More recently, a collection of her lectures, One Writer's Beginnings, was published by Harvard University Press and Warner Books. With Ronald A. Sharp, Miss Welty has edited The Norton Book of Friendship, published this month.