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Flannery O'Connor
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Flannery O'Connor

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Flannery O'Connor is considered one of the best short story authors of the 20th century. She wrote about religious themes and southern life.

Who Was Flannery O'Connor?

Flannery O'Connor studied writing at the University of Iowa and published “The Geranium,” her first short story, in 1946. She wrote novels but was best known for her short story collections. She died of lupus in 1964 after fighting it for more than 10 years.

Early Life and Education

Born on March 25, 1925, in Savannah, Georgia, O'Connor is considered one of the greatest short story writers of the 20th century. She faced some hardships growing up, losing her father as a teenager; he died of systemic lupus erythematosus.

Early on, O'Connor demonstrated her literary talents for school publications. Studying at what is now the University of Iowa for a master's degree, O'Connor's first story, "The Geranium," was published in 1946. She had also begun what was to be first novel, Wise Blood, published in 1952.

Commercial Success

After graduating in 1947, O'Connor pursued her writing, spending time at several months at Yaddo, a Saratoga Springs, New York artists' retreat. Her work was informed by her experiences growing up as a Catholic in the South. Religion was a recurring theme in her work, and the main characters of her first and second novels were preachers of sorts.

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Representative Deb Haaland, a Democrat from New Mexico, speaks during a House Natural Resources Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Monday, June 29, 2020. The hearing is titled "U.S. Park Police Attack on Peaceful Protesters at Lafayette Square Park." Photographer: Bonnie Cash/The Hill/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Deb Haaland

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - NOVEMBER 09: John Major attends the annual Remembrance Sunday Service at the Cenotaph on Whitehall on November 9, 2014 in London, United Kingdom. People across the UK gather to pay tribute to service personnel who have died in the two World Wars and subsequent conflicts, with this year taking on added significance as it is the centenary of the outbreak of World War One. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

John Major

O'Connor was best-known, however, for her short stories, which appeared in several collections, including A Good Man Is Hard To Find and Other Stories (1955) and Everything That Rises Must Converge (1965).

Death and Legacy

After battling lupus, an autoimmune disease, for more than a decade, O'Connor died on August 3, 1964, in Milledgeville, Georgia. For her work, she received many honors, including an O. Henry Award in 1957 and the National Book Award in 1972.

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