Midtown Review’s roving reporter Ana Raquel is at it again.  This week she focuses her lens on the inspiration of Eudora Welty and shares her personal reflections on the woman and the event she attended this week.

One of the questions I like to ask the authors I meet is, “Which writers have inspired you?” Through the years, Eudora Welty is one of the names I have heard again and again. Since I did not grow up here in the United States, and did not study her, I decided to do some research, and to my surprise, she became one of my favorite Southern authors.

Back in March of 2009, I attended a lecture by Georgia State University Professor, Pearl Amelia McHaney at the Georgia Center for the Book which focused on Pulitzer Prize winning author and first lady of southern literature Eudora Welty. McHaney edited Eudora Welty Occasions, Selected Writings, as well as other works about Welty and her work made me hungry to learn more.  As it turns out, one of my favorite books by Welty is actually her memoir, One Writer’s Beginning.

While attending McHaney’s lecture I learned about the Eudora Welty Centenial Celebration April 13, 2009, and of course, I had to attend!  It was a great event! I also learned from McHaney that Eudora Welty liked to have her books released on her birthday, and because everything for Welty was on April 13, including the Centenial event I attended, her date of birth has stuck with me to this day! To celebrate the Centenial occasion, Eudora’s favorite Coconut Cake was baked and decorated, by my friend and Food Stylist Angie Mosier and the recipe for the cake is from my friend Nancie McDermott’s Southern Cakes. Since it was such a special event, I even made a scrapbook to treasure the memories.

This week, I had the pleasure of attending McHaney’s lecture at the Atlanta History Center, where they are having the Eudora Welty, Exposures and Reflections exhibit which runs until May 8, 2011. Welty was a great photographer and writer, but like many writers she also received many rejections. Although in the beginning, she was not hired as a photographer, she carried her camera everywhere. She and I have this in common. Welty also took pictures of the cameras she used which inspired me to do the same! I now have a series of pictures of my own cameras.

Welty died in 2001, but if I had the chance to sit and talk to her, today, I wonder what would she have to tell me about my love of books and my photos with authors?

— Ana Raquel, Regular Contributor