The Library’s first publication of the work of a living author efficiently showcases the universally praised fiction of southern regionalist whose early stories were championed by such notable contemporaries as Katherine Anne Porter and Robert Penn Warren. The Stories volume includes 41 pungent and resonant tales (counting as individual stories the seven chapters of Welty’s 1949 masterpiece, The Golden Apples) that unforgettably display their creator’s sure grasp of racy local idiom and color (“Why I Live at the P.O.,— “Powerhouse”), compassionate scrutiny of social inequity and racist violence (the fable-like “A Worn Path” and the furious “Where is the Voice Coming From?”), and mischievous inventive power (“Petrified Man,” “The Wide Net”). The companion edition, Complete Novels (ISBN 1-883011-54-X), conveniently gathers together works that, while generally less known than Welty’s stories, often equal their structural concision and thematic clarity. Most deserving of a second look, perhaps, are the rueful country comedy The Ponder Heart (1954) and the best family-reunion novel ever written (and it’s much more than that): 1970’s Losing Battles. Welty, who’s 90 and still lives in (her birthplace) Jackson, Mississippi, has understandably produced little new work in recent years. But her supple, funny, gently judging voice is heard again to stunning effect throughout this indispensable homage to one of our greatest writers.