“The writer operates at a peculiar crossroads where time and place and eternity somehow meet. His problem is to find that location.” – Flannery O'Connor
Born in Georgia in March, 1925, O’Connor was one of America’s most important literary voices – writing 2 novels and 32 short stories, as well as a large number of reviews and commentaries in her relatively short lifetime (she died at age 39 from cancer).
Her writing often reflected both her regional roots and her Roman Catholic faith and frequently examined questions of morality and ethics. “Faith,” she said, “is what someone knows to be true, whether they believe it or not.”
Much of O'Connor's best-known writing on religion, writing, and the South also was contained in her voluminous correspondence with other writers and educators, and after her death her longtime friend Sally Fitzgerald collected and published a book of them under the title The Habit of Being. That book and other letters maintained by Emory University remain a key part of O’Connor’s legacy.
In 1972, O’Connor’s posthumously published Complete Stories won the National Book Award for Fiction and has been the subject of enduring praise. In a 2009 online poll, it was named the best book ever to have won the prestigious award.
O’Connor said as a writer she enjoyed “studying people” and advised young writers to always be aware of their surroundings and the people they encountered. “The writer should never be ashamed of staring,” she said. “There is nothing that does not require his attention.”
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