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Countdown to Savannah: Literary Connections (Flannery O'Connor)

Kathy Wood (kaydee)

In early 2007, we started our official Countdown to Savannah. Each Sunday, we posted a different topic about this special city where we met for our first Great Slow Travel Gathering in Spring 2008.

With 63 posts over 14+ months, we learned a lot about the many facets of this historic, hospitable and intriguing American city. Our weekly posts touched on Savannah's history, famous people, architecture, food, culture, surrounding area and much more. We hope this information acquaints you with Savannah, entices you to visit this historic city, and prepares you for a very memorable trip.

One of America's Greatest Fiction Writers

In addition to its movie connections and the book “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil,” Savannah has several important literary connections. Today, we’ll talk about one of them: Flannery O'Connor.

Noted writer Flannery O’Connor was born in Savannah in 1925 and lived there until she was 13 years old. Her family moved to Atlanta and then later to the small Georgia town of Milledgeville near Macon. She studied in Iowa and lived in New York and Connecticut, but returned to the family farm near Milledgeville when she was diagnosed with lupus in her mid 20’s. She lived in Milledgeville until her death at age 39, focusing on her writing and raising hens, ducks, geese, peacocks and other birds. She especially loved peacocks, and peacocks appear in several of her works.

Today, Flannery O’Connor is considered one of America’s greatest fiction writers, best known for her short stories. She wrote two novels and 31 short stories, and her letters, lectures and commentaries have also been published. Her two best-known short story collections are “A Good Man is Hard to Find” and “Everything that Rises Must Converge.” Although she is often grouped with other noted southern writers (such William Faulkner, Erskine Caldwell, and Katherine Anne Porter), O’Connor’s work was distinctly original, described as “Southern Gothic.” Her books and stories focused on Southern settings and characters, using humor and sometimes violence. A devout Roman Catholic, her religious beliefs also influenced her work. Several of her short stories as well as her novel Wise Blood have been made into films.

Flannery O’Connor’s childhood home on Lafayette Square in Savannah is now a museum dedicated to her life as well as a literary center for Savannah.

I was an undergraduate English and History major, and I remember reading Flannery O’Connor stories back then. I had no idea what an interesting woman she was.

Learn more about Flannery O’Connor here:

Resources

All About Savannah: Links to many information pages about Savannah (where to eat, where to stay, places of interest, getting around town, and more)

Woods Family Grand Tour of Europe: List of articles and photo albums by Kathy Wood


Kathy is a former Human Resources executive who now works as a consultant and part-time college professor. She and Charley also lead The Luberon Experience (www.luberonexperience.com), a week-long, small-group trip based in Provence.

© Kathy Wood, 2007


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