Eudora Welty (1909–2001), like many famous authors, was not an overnight sensation. When she first sent her stories around, editors and publishers did not understand her work. Then her agent, Diarmuid Russell, connected her with William Maxwell at The New Yorker. Russell and Maxwell perceived Welty’s genius and championed her, and the rest is recorded in Welty’s letters with Russell, collected in Author and Agent, and in Welty’s Harvard lectures, One Writer’s Beginnings, written when she was nearing eighty. Her marvelous short novel, The Optimist’s Daughter, won the 1973 Pulitzer Prize. Welty also received the National Medal of Honor and the French Legion of Honor. She is among the greatest short story writers of all time.