Her novels generally featured a strong female as the protagonist, although she fleshed out multiple characters in each book. She usually highlighted at least one strong secondary character who faced discrimination ethnically or for other reasons; this enabled her to show that people are people, and that often the non-pretty have the best character.
Due to her imagination in scene, characterization, and plot, several movies have been made based on her works: Showboat (a musical featuring Paul Robeson's marvelous rendition of "Old Man River"), Giant (starring Rock Hudson, Elizabeth Taylor, and James Dean), Saratoga Trunk , Cimarron (which won an Oscar).
In 1925, she won the Pulitzer Prize for her book So Big.
Edna Ferber died on April 16, 1968, at her home in New York City. The New York Times said, "she was among the best-read novelists in the nation, and critics of the 1920s and '30s did not hesitate to call her the greatest American woman novelist of her day."