April 13 is a special day for those who love Eudora Welty. She was born April 13, 1909, in Jackson, Mississippi, and celebrated many happy birthday gatherings throughout her life. Birthday highlights from Welty’s life and career and events honoring her are featured here.
In her later years, an annual birthday dinner at Bill’s Burger House in Jackson was a festive occasion for Eudora, close friends, and family. A note about this happy tradition is included in a New York Times archived article about Eudora’s 75th birthday celebration in Jackson, a grand event. Click here to read about it.
At the Welty House and Garden, Eudora’s birthday is remembered with free tours on April 13, and birthday cake and lemonade are served on the side porch. Admission is also free on the 13th of each month when the 13th falls on a day the museum is open to the public. Check the Eudora Welty House and Garden Facebook page to see when the site will be open for tours again and to schedule a visit.
The first “virtual” Brown Bag Book Club, which usually meets monthly at the Welty Education and Visitors Center, was held today, April 13, 2020. Suzanne Marrs led a discussion about five short stories from Something Rich and Strange by Ron Rash, who was scheduled to deliver the Bettye Jolly Lecture on March 19, which was cancelled due to restrictions on public gatherings because of Covid-19.
Losing Battles, Eudora’s beloved novel about a family gathering to celebrate Granny Vaughn’s 90th birthday, was published 50 years ago today—April 13, 1970. It will be the subject of #WeltyatHome, a new Welty “virtual” book club planned by the Eudora Welty House and Garden and the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. Beginning April 29 at 12 noon and extending over the course of 10 weeks, participants will read and discuss an average of 45 pages per week. See related story on this website and visit Welty At Home | A Virtual Book Club for more information and weekly reminders.
On April 13, 2017, students from Davis Magnet School (today Barack Obama Magnet School) brought birthday cards for Eudora to the porch party. Welty attended Davis Elementary School herself, directly across the street from her birthplace and where she grew up.
The cake featured at the top of this story was enjoyed last year at the release of the revised edition of Photographs, published by University Press of Mississippi (UPM), 30 years to the day of its first publication—on Eudora’s birthday in 1989.
Pictured here are participants in last year’s public program at the Welty House and Garden about the book: Craig Gill, UPM director; Mary Alice Welty White, Eudora’s niece; Seetha Srinivasan, UPM director when the first Photographs was published; Suzanne Marrs, Welty’s biographer and friend; and Holmes Adams, chairman of the Welty Foundation board of directors.