Saturday, June 7, 2008

New O'Connor bio slated for February 2009 release

Big news for readers of Flannery O'Connor. Brad Gooch's long-anticipated biography is slated for release on Feb. 24, 2009, and is already listed on Amazon.

Gooch is the author of a number of novels, and also a couple of books of nonfiction -- Godtalk: Travels in Spiritual America and City Poet: The Life and Times of Frank O'Hara -- which seem especially good preparation to write a book about such a complex (even controversial) literary figure.

Cunningham lecture inspires writers and readers alike

More than 150 literary-minded Savannahians came to Trinity United Methodist Church last Tuesday evening for Michael Cunningham's wonderful kickoff to the Ashley and Terry Ursrey Memorial Lecture Series. I was especially heartened by the diversity of the crowd, which included longtime supporters of the O'Connor Childhood Home, numerous people I had never seen, students from Armstrong, a couple of young men who recently moved to town and work as waiters at downtown restaurants, a few members of Trinity's congregation, SCAD professors, and on and on.

Michael's talk (which we hope to print excerpts of here and in our next newsletter) was phenomenal. At least one audience member said that he anticipated a "canned" talk, but Michael composed a test just for us in which he talked about his arguments with a hippie high school teacher about O'Connor's Catholicism (the teacher wanted to dismiss her faith and Cunningham wisely didn't), about reading "Revelation" over the phone to a friend who was stoned at the time, about the relevance of an author's life to her work, and more broadly about the relationship between reader and writer.

After the lecture, Michael graciously signed books and talked to fans until everyone had left the reception.

I also had the pleasure of showing Michael around town earlier in the day, and it was thrilling to see his appreciation for the work we have done in recent years at the O'Connor Home.

All in all, a great night. Attached is a photo of Michael with reader Vernice Vasquez, who has been a regular attendee at our ongoing lecture series.