Born in Jackson, Mississippi, Eudora Welty (1909–2001) is a short story writer and novelist. She attended Mississippi State College for Women and the University of Wisconsin for her Bachelor’s degree, and went on to graduate study at the Columbia University School of Business. After college, she served as a Junior Publicity Agent for the Works Progress Administration. During her tenure, she took numerous photographs, drawing on her experiences for her first book, a collection of short stories titled A Curtain of Green (1941). Her novel The Optimist’s Daughter (1972) won the 1973 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Her writing earned her a Presidential Medal of Freedom and the French Legion of Honor.
Set during the Christmas season, Phoenix Jackson, an elderly African American woman, overcomes myriad obstacles as she walks through the woods to the Mississippi town of Natchez in order to procure medicine for her grandson