Flannery O’Connor | Milledgeville, Georgia
Milledgeville GA 31061
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Flannery O’Conner (1925-1964) is considered by many to be one of America’s greatest short story writers. She wrote in the Southern Gothic style and relied heavily on regional settings and grotesque characters. Her writing also reflected her own Catholic faith and frequently examined questions of morality and ethics.
She won was O. Henry Award three times and was posthumous winner of the National Book Award for Fiction for The Complete Stories. She also wrote the acclaimed novels The Violent Bear It Away and Wise Blood, which was made into a movie by the legendary director John Huston.
She was born in Savannah on March 25, 1925, the only child of Regina Cline and Edward F. O’Connor. Her education began in Savannah’s parochial school, but when her family moved to Milledgeville in 1938, she continued her schooling at the Peabody Laboratory School associated with Georgia State College for Women which is now Georgia College and State University.
When O’Connor was 15, her father died of systemic lupus erythematosus, the same disease that would take her own life at age 39.
O’Connor was and unofficial campus cartoonist as well as the editor of her college’s literary magazine, the Corinthian, where she contributed fiction, essays and occasional poems. In 1945, she received a journalism scholarship to the University of Iowa, but soon decided she was not a journalist. She was accepted into the master’s program in creative writing where she became acquainted with many known writers and critics who lectured or taught in the program, including Robert Penn Warren and Andrew Lytle, editor of the Sewanee Review, where some of her first short stories were published.
Flannery O’Conner’s first novel, Wise Blood, was published in 1952. By that time, she realized she, like her father, had lupus, an incurable, autoimmune disease that was then treated only by the use of steroid drugs. The disease forced her to return to Milledgeville permanently where she lived at her family's Andalusia Farm for the rest of her life, living quietly at Andalusia, the family farm just outside town. Despite the debilitating effects of the drugs, O’Connor continued writing every day. She went on to publish her first short story collection, A Good Man is Hard to Find in 1955, and her second novel, The Violent Bear It Away, in 1960.
Flannery O’Connor died on August 3, 1964, after several days in a coma. She is buried next to her father in Memory Hill Cemetery in Milledgeville.
A second collection of stories, Everything That Rises Must Converge, was published posthumously in 1965 and contains some of her most popular short fiction. A 1972 posthumous collection, The Complete Stores, received the National Book Award, which is usually given to a living writer. The judges of that award deemed Flannery O’Connor’s work so deserving that an exception was made to honor her lifetime achievement.
O'Connor's childhood home in Savannah is now a house museum dedicated to the time she and her family lived there. Andalusia Farm in Milledgeville is dedicated to her lifetime of work and a memorial to O'Conner is located in the Ina Dillard Russell Library at Georgia College and State University.
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Flannery O’Connor and Milledgeville
This short (1:19) video from Georgia College in Milledgeville, where Flannery O'Connor attended college, connects the college, Milledgeville, Andalusia Farm, and O'Connor and contains some great Flannery photos.
Andalusia is Georgia writer Flannery O'Connor's family farm near Milledgevile, where she lived and worked for 13 years, from 1951 until her death in 1964.