Mary Flannery O’Connor (1925–1964)

Writer of short stories and novels. O’Connor was born in Savannah, Georgia, studied at the Georgia State College for Women, and earned an MFA at the Writer’s Workshop of the University of Iowa. Soon afterward, she was diagnosed with lupus, a painful autoimmune disorder that would trouble her for the rest of her brief life. Eight years after she died of the disease, her posthumously collected Complete Stories won the 1972 National Book Award. She wrote two novels, Wise Blood (1952) and The Violent Bear It Away (1960), but she’s best known for her witty, sharply observed, darkly ironic, and sometimes shockingly violent short stories—the epitome of what is known as “Southern Gothic.”