Flannery O'Connor


1925

25 March: Mary Flannery O'Connor is born in Savannah, Georgia, the only child of Regina Cline and Edward F. O'Connor.

1938

The O'Connor family moves to the town of Milledgeville, Georgia.

1941

Edward dies of systemic lupus erythematosus, a debilitating autoimmune disease. O'Connor is deeply affected by his death.

1942

FOC enrolls at Georgia State College for Women (now Georgia College and State University) on an accelerated three-year program. She is an editor and frequent contributor to the campus literary magazine, The Corinthian. She also serves as cartoonist for the campus newspaper and yearbook.

1945

FOC earns her BA from GSCW and enrolls in graduate school in journalism at the University of Iowa. She is soon disenchanted with journalism, however, and decides to transfer to the university's prestigious creative writing program.

1946

"The Geranium," her first published short story, appears in the magazine Accent. FOC graduates from the University of Iowa with an MFA. She is awarded the Rinehart-Iowa Fiction Award for an early version of Wise Blood.

1948

FOC is accepted to Yaddo, a prestigious residential artists' colony in Saratoga Springs, NY. She arrives at Yaddo in June and lives there intermittently through the next spring.

1949

January: Yaddo is engulfed in controversy after one of its guests, Agnes Smedley, is accused of being a Communist spy. O'Connor chooses to leave the colony. Later that year, she moves into the Ridgefield, Connecticut home of her friends Sally and Robert Fitzgerald.

1950

On a train home to Georgia for Christmas, FOC suffers an attack, and is later diagnosed with the same form of lupus that killed her father. At the time, there is no cure for the disease. She is treated with steroid drugs with crippling side effects.

1951

FOC's illness becomes increasingly debilitating. She leaves the Fitzgeralds' home in Connecticut and moves back to Andalusia, the farm where she grew up. It is now a successful dairy farm run by her widowed mother. She spends the rest of her life there, writing and raising chickens and peacocks in her spare time.

1952

FOC's novel Wise Blood is published to critical acclaim. The New York Times literary critic calls O'Connor "a writer of power."

1955

FOC's first short story collection, A Good Man Is Hard to Find, is published to rave reviews. She is awarded the first of three O. Henry Prizes for her story "Greenleaf."

1958

FOC travels abroad, when her mother persuades her to make a pilgrimage to Lourdes in hope of a cure for her lupus. She also visits Rome, and returns home to write, "Now for the rest of my life I can forget about going to Europe, having went."

1959

FOC receives a grant from the Ford Foundation to continue her literary career.

1960

FOC's second novel, The Violent Bear it Away, is published.

1963

FOC receives her second O. Henry Prize in short fiction for the story "Everything That Rises Must Converge."

1964

3 August: After months of failing health and several days in a coma, FOC dies at the Baldwin County Hospital due to complications from lupus. She is 39 years old. She is buried the next day next to her father, who died 23 years earlier of the same disease.

1965

A collection of stories that FOC completed before her death, entitled Everything That Rises Must Converge, is published. She also receives a third O. Henry Prize for the short story "Revelation," published the previous spring.

1971

The Complete Stories of Flannery O'Connor is published. The posthumous anthology wins the National Book Award.



"Some Aspects of the Grotesque In Southern Fiction."

I preach there are all kinds of truth, your truth and somebody else's. But behind all of them there is only one truth and that is that there's no truth.