Flannery O'Connor Timeline
How It All Went Down
Flannery O'Connor Born
Mary Flannery O'Connor is born in Savannah, Georgia. She is the only child of Regina Cline and Edward F. O'Connor.
Moves to Milledgeville
The O'Connor family moves to the town of Milledgeville, Georgia.
O'Connor's father Edward dies of systemic lupus erythematosus, a debilitating autoimmune disease. O'Connor was close to her father and is deeply affected by his death.
O'Connor 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.
On to Graduate School
O'Connor earns her bachelor's degree 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.
First Story Published
"The Geranium," O'Connor's first published short story, appears in the magazine Accent.
O'Connor graduates from the University of Iowa with a Master's of Fine Arts degree. She is awarded the Rinehart-Iowa Fiction Award for an early version of a novel called Wise Blood.
O'Connor is accepted to Yaddo, a prestigious residential artists' colony in Saratoga Springs, New York. She arrives at Yaddo in June and lives there intermittently through the next spring.
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.
Diagnosed with Lupus
Late in the year, O'Connor is diagnosed with the same form of lupus that killed her father. At the time, there is no cure for the disease. O'Connor is treated with steroid drugs with crippling side effects.
Back to Georgia
O'Connor'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 prolifically and raising chickens and peacocks in her spare time.
O'Connor's novel Wise Blood is published to critical acclaim. The New York Times literary critic calls O'Connor "a writer of power."29
First O. Henry Award, First Story Collection
O'Connor's first short story collection, A Good Man Is Hard to Find, is published. It also receives rave reviews. She is awarded the first of three O. Henry Prizes for her story "Greenleaf."
Ford Foundation Grant
O'Connor receives a grant from the Ford Foundation to continue her literary career.
O'Connor's second novel, The Violent Bear it Away, is published.
Second O. Henry Prize
O'Connor receives her second O. Henry Prize in short fiction for the story "Everything That Rises Must Converge."
Flannery O'Connor Dies
After months of failing health and several days in a coma, Flannery O'Connor 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.
A collection of stories that O'Connor 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.
Wins National Book Award
The Complete Stories of Flannery O'Connor is published. The posthumous anthology wins the National Book Award.
O'Connor's mother, Regina Cline O'Connor, dies at the age of 99 in Milledgeville.