Tuesday, October 27, 2009

November 2009

The Home will be open for tours the regular hours and times-Fridays through Wednesdays, 1 - 4 p.m.-except for the 8th and 15th when there will be Lecture Series talks starting at 3 p.m. On those two Sundays the last tour will start at 2:30 p.m. And yes, we will be open the Friday following Thanksgiving.

Peacock Guild Members:

Writing Salons: The meetings will be held on the 10th and 24th.

Book Guild: Meets on the 17th.

All meetings begin at 7:30 p.m.

2009 Fall Lecture Series: The Sunday Events

Attendees at both the 18th and 25th lectures were treated to outstanding presentations. Many thanks to Woody Belangia for his thought-provoking discussion on "Parker's Back." Those present on the 25th were enlighted by Pat West's review of James Alan McPherson's life and accomplishments.

The top photo is of, from left to right, Dr. Jim Smith and Woody and Grace Belangia. The bottom photo is of Pat West.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Fall Lecture Series begins Saturday Oct. 3 with acclaimed novelist A. Manette Ansay


All lectures are FREE and take place at 3 p.m. in the parlor at the Flannery O’Connor Childhood Home, 207 E. Charlton Street. 

SATURDAY (all other dates are Sunday), October 3 – A. Manette Ansay on "Flannery and Facebook: The Influence of O'Connor in My Daily Writing Life" 
Reading and talk by acclaimed author and University of Miami professor A. Manette Ansay (Vinegar Hill, Midnight Champagne, Blue Water). Her latest novel, Good Things I Wish You, melds the story of a modern-day relationship with the dramatic story of Clara Schumann, her husband composer Robert Schumann, and their good friend the composer Johannes Brahms. Good Things I Wish You will be available for purchase and signing after the talk.

Sunday, October 18 - Woody Belangia, Ph.D. on “Who Do You Think You Are? Idolatry and Identity in ‘Parker's Back’”
Discussion of the classic O’Connor story with Woody Belangia, Professor of Philosophy at August State University. We encourage all attendees to read the story before attending this lively and provocative lecture and discussion.

Sunday, October 25 - Pat West on “Roots, Rivers, and Rhetoric: The Homegrown Writings of Savannah's James Alan McPherson” 
Pat West, Head of the English Dept., at Savannah Technical College, will address the cultural and place imprints of Georgia upon the fiction of the internationally known author – and Savannah native – who in 1978 became the first African-American to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

Sunday, Nov. 8: Mary Doll, Ph.D. on “O’Connor’s Hard Headed Women”
Doll, a Professor of English at the Savannah College of Art & Design, specializes in myth and modern literature and has written four books, including Beckett and Myth: An Archetypal Approach and To the Lighthouse and Back: Writings on Teaching and Living. 

Sunday, November 15 – Randy Malamud, Ph.D. on “The Literary Tourist”
Randy Malamud, Ph.D., Professor and Associate Chair of Modern Literature, Ecocriticism and Cultural Studies at Georgia Southern University, discusses the curious reverence that readers pay to the sites where authors lived. 

Sunday, December 13 - Bob Strozier reads Truman Capote’s “A Christmas Memory”
One of the founding members of the Flannery O’Connor Childhood Home and a retired professor of English from AASU, Bob Strozier returns for his traditional reading of “A Christmas Memory.” Don’t miss this much-loved annual holiday tradition!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

September hours and Guild meeting times

The Childhood Home will be closed from the 21st thru 25th this September. Please call 912.233.6014 if you would like to schedule a tour during that time frame or email billdawers@comcast.net.

The intial meetings for the Peacock Guild book club and writers salon were great successes. Please note the following schedule for September:

Writers salon - Fiction only: Meet on the 8th at 7:30 p.m.

Book club: Meet on the 15th at 7:30 p.m.

Writers salon - All other genre: Meet on the 22nd at 7:30 p.m.

Street parking only. No pets, please, unless it's a backward walking chicken, of course, and then only with prior approval . . . .

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Peacock Guild Now Forming

We're pleased to announce the formation of a new literary guild aimed at fiction writers and book lovers throughout the Coastal Empire. There are two components to the Guild: a monthly book club and a bimonthly writers' salon. The Book Club's first meeting will be August 19th at 7:30 p.m. The initial meeting for the Writers' Salon will be August 26th, also at 7:30 p.m. Both events will be here at the Childhood Home. The cost is free, though the purchase of annual memberships to the Friends of Flannery are encouraged and start at $25.

The volunteer coordinator is Adrienn Mendonca, a former docent here at the Home. For additional information, please call 912.233.6014 or email peacockguild@gmail.com.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Visitors: Georgia Humanities Council

On the 6th of June, members of the Georgia Humanities Council visited Flannery's Childhood Home. They were greeted by President Bill Dawers and led through the museum by resident manager Toby Aldrich. Our guests enjoyed hearing about her pet chickens and viewing her childhood books that are on display in the Bruckheimer Library.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Second Annual Ashley and Terry Ursrey Memorial Lecture

We had a great crowd for our second annual Ursrey Memorial Lecture last Thursday evening at Trinity United Methodist Church. Allan Gurganus spoke about his own encounters with O'Connor's work, including the letter that he wrote to "Mr. O'Connor" as a teenager after reading "Parker's Back" in Esquire. The typically cordial O'Connor actually wrote him back

Mr. Gurganus then read -- amazingly -- from a new-ish stage adaptation of "Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All." At full-length, the one-woman play runs about 70 minutes and is now available for production. Mr. Gurganus read almost the first third of it. I hope he has a chance to read it all sometime on stage.

Here are a few photos from a small cocktail party that we hosted for Mr. Gurganus on the night before his talk -- at the amazing home of Alvin Neely on Hall Street in Savannah's Landmark Historic District:

Monday, May 25, 2009

Spring 09 Friends of Flannery Newsletter now available online

Spring 2009 Newsletter

Visitors: Southern Studies Program - Lee University

On Saturday, May 23rd, we were delighted to host an after-hours tour for the faculty and students from the Southern Studies Program at Lee University, Cleveland, TN. The students prepared for the visit by reading A Good Man Is Hard To Find and reviewing Flannery's personal history. A visit here enhanced what they had read and learned about her life. Many thanks to Drs. Donna Summerlin and Mary Waalkes for having their students learn about Flannery and visiting her childhood home.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Allan Gurganus to give 2nd Annual Ursrey Memorial Lecture on Thurs., June 4

The Flannery O’Connor Childhood Home will present a lecture by acclaimed author Allan Gurganus on Thursday, June 4 at 7 p.m. at Trinity United Methodist Church, located at 225 W. President St . on Telfair Square. A reception and book signing will immediately follow the lecture. All events are free and open to the public.

Gurganus will be the featured speaker for the 2009 Ashley and Terry Ursrey Memorial Lecture Series. The Ursrey Lecture Series is endowed in memory of the brothers Terry and Ashley Ursrey, native Georgians who, like Flannery O'Connor, were lifelong devotees of all things Southern, particularly the art of storytelling. The series officially debuted in 2008 with a talk by Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Michael Cunningham.

A native of Rocky Mount, N.C., Gurganus is perhaps best known as the author of the best-selling novel, Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All. He has been honored with the prestigious O. Henry Prize, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Best Work of American Fiction, the Lambda Literary Award and the National Magazine Prize. 

Over the years, he has written a number of novels, essays and short stories and has also contributed commentaries to The New York Times, The Newshour with Jim Lehrer and National Public Radio. A 2006 John Simon Guggenheim Fellow, Gurganus is the author of White People, Plays Well With Others and The Practical Heart. His work has been translated into 16 languages. 

Author John Cheever has called Allan Gurganus, “the most technically brilliant and morally responsive writer of his generation.” Robert Wilson, the editor of American Scholar, has described him as “the worthy heir to Faulkner and Welty.”

Gurganus has taught writing and literature at Stanford University, Sarah Lawrence, Duke University and the University of North Carolina –Chapel Hill. He currently resides in Hillsborough, N.C.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Visitors: Historical Restoration Class - SCAD

On the 19th of May, the O'Connor Childhood Home welcomed eight students and their instructor, Jeanne Lambin, for a special late-morning tour. The story of the Home's restoration back in '06/'07, the discoveries made during that time and the photographic log of the process, are always a joy to share. And such a tour brings about renewed appreciation for the generosity of Jerry and Linda Bruckheimer which allowed the restoration to take place. Many thanks to Jeanne for thinking of the Home and bringing her class here. We look forward to the next visit.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Visitors: St. Paul's Episcopal ECW

Flannery's Childhood Home was the site for the monthly meeting of the E C W from Savannah's St. Paul Episcopal Church. The members had prepared by reading the author's short story, Revelation. First they toured the Home and heard stories about Flannery's childhood. Then they were lead in a discussion of the selection by their president, Janet Stone. All agreed their appreciation of the story was enhanced by having visited Flannery's childhood home.

Visitors: Museum Studies Class - SCAD

The Home was visited by the students in Chris Neal's Museum Studies class offered at the Savannah College of Art and Design. For most, it was an introduction to Flannery O'Connor and her literature. All were interested in the origination and development of the Foundation and subsequent museum. Many thanks to Chris for bringing her class to Flannery's Childhood Home.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Spring Lecture Series: The Bruckheimer Library

On Sunday, April 5th, the attendees of the Lecture Series were treated to an exciting examination of the Childhood Home's Bruckheimer Library. Moderators Joni Saxon-Giusti and Christian Kruse reviewed the books on hand that were of interest to Flannery and her family. Books written about Flannery and her work and their inclusion in the the Library were then discussed. Looking toward the future, the two Board members spoke of establishing a virtual library, something that would never be limited by the physical space here at the Home.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Mary Flannery's 84th birthday!

With some in costume and others as they are, friends and supporters of Flannery's Childhood Home gathered on the evening of March 25th to celebrate her birthday. 84 years ago, just a few blocks to the south at St. Joseph's Hospital, Mary Flannery O'Connor entered the world. Little did anyone guess just what an effect this writer-to-be would have on readers around the world. The guests were treated to recipes found in the Sanford House Cookbook: carrot sandwiches, smoked oyster roll and turtle cake were just a few of the delights enjoyed.

Meet Our Docents

Mary Lawrence Kennickell was born and raised in Milledgeville, GA. Her father was a dentist and had very important patients--the O'Connors. Mary Lawrence fondly remembers time spent talking to Flannery on Sunday afternoons. She arrived in Savannah in 1980 and is an artist specializing in graphite. She began leading tours here at the Home in 2007 following the historical restoration. Her favorite room to show is Flannery's bedroom.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Join Us for O'Connor's Birthday on March 25th!

The Flannery O'Connor Childhood Home, located at 207 E. Charlton Street on Lafayette Square, will host a special celebration in honor of Flannery O'Connor's birthday on Wednesday, March 25 from 5:30 to 8 p.m.

This event is open to the public ($25 suggested donation). Guests are encouraged to dress up as their favorite Flannery O'Connor literary character and to enjoy drinks and hearty 1950's inspired hors d'oeuvres.

Please call 912-233-6014 or email billdawers@comcast.net with questions.

Hope some of you can make it!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Spring Lecture Series - Dr. Eddy Dupuy

The Childhood Home parlor on March 16th was was the setting for a discussion on Flannery O'Connor and Walker Percy led by Dr. Eddie Dupuy, seen here with Bill Dawers, the Board's President. Dr. Dupuy spoke on the similarities and differences of the two authors to a full house. Currently Dr. Dupuy is the Dean of Graduate Studies at Savannah College of Art and Design.

Be sure to join us here at 3 p.m. on April 5th when Joni Saxon-Giusti and Christian Kruse will speak on the Childhood Home's Bruckheimer Library.

Meet Our Docents

Gillian Brown has been involved with the Childhood Home before it was opened to the public. She is the widow of Dr. Hugh Brown, one of the original founders of the Foundation that purchased the Home in 1989. She remembers how everyone worried in those days about the mortgage, which has since been retired. One of her favorite stories to share with our visitors is the gathering of neighborhood children on Saturday mornings around the O'Connor radio so, along with Flannery, they could listen to the CBS radio program, 'Let's Pretend.' She also enjoys sharing the Home with the wide variety of guests who visit.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Meet Our Docents

Jane Thimme wears a number of hats here at the Home. She started as a docent in 2000. The next year she became the Newsletter's editor. She joined the Board of Directors in 2006. Her favorite part of the house to show is the parents' bedroom on the second floor. She invites our guests to look out the large, lace-curtained windows so they can see what the O'Connors saw each morning and evening.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Reviews of Brad Gooch's "Flannery: A Life of Flannery O'Connor"

I'll post some thoughts here soon about the book and about the wave of interest it has received, but here for now are links to various reviews that have already appeared. Some are fascinating essays about O'Connor in their own right:
The Associated Press
Janet Maslin in the NYT
Joy Williams from the cover of the NYT Book Review
Buffalo News
Creative Loafing Atlanta
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Cleveland Plain Dealer
The Washington Post
Austin American-Statesman
Chicago Tribune
Metro Spirit, Augusta, Ga.
Brad Gooch interview in Connect Savannah
Washington Times
LA Times
The Economist
Terry Teachout in Commentary
Entertainment Weekly (!!)
Weekly Standard (requires subscription but first few paragraphs are available online)
Mini-review in Times Online (UK)

Photos from Brad Gooch's launch of "Flannery: A Life of Flannery O'Connor"

About 300 people showed up at Trinity United Methodist Church on Feb. 26 to hear Brad Gooch speak about his acclaimed new biography of O'Connor, and more than 200 joined us immediately after for a reception at the Telfair Academy of Arts & Sciences. We sold more than 100 books that night.

Thanks to Cindy Vaughn Sinclair for taking these photos for us.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Meet Our Docents

Nancy led her first tour through the Home in September, 2007. Her favorite room is the Bruckheimer Library. Her favorite story to share with our guests is about Mary Flannery being transferred to Sacred Heart from St. Vincent's. Many years later, while growing up here on the Isle of Hope, Nancy attended both schools, though St. Vincent's had become the Academy for high schoolers by that time. Still her attendance at both of these shools gives her a unique and personal perspective on a very important stage in Flannery's childhood here in Savannah.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Early Reviews of "Flannery: A Life of Flannery O'Connor"

Here's a review of Brad Gooch's book in the LA Times, and here's a review in the Washington Times. 

From the Washington Times: "Mr. Gooch has crafted the first serious biography of the distinguished Georgia writer, and in doing so he clears away some misconceptions about O'Connor and clarifies much about her life and work."

From the LA Times: "Gooch is brilliant on the fiction, passionate and smart, able to contextualize both the individual pieces and the scope of the career. He astutely notes that, despite producing two novels, Wise Blood and The Violent Bear It Away, O'Connor was not really a novelist, which is why those books don't quite hold up. She was, rather, perhaps the greatest 20th century American practitioner of the short story, a writer with an acute moral vision who understood that faith and salvation do not necessarily go hand in hand."

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Brad Gooch to launch new O'Connor Biography in Savannah

Please join us at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 26 at Trinity United Methodist Church on Telfair Square for a talk by Brad Gooch, whose major new work Flannery: A Life of Flannery O'Connor is being published by Little, Brown just a day earlier. Book sales, signing and a reception will immediately follow Brad's talk at the Telfair Academy of Arts & Sciences.

We'll add more links about the book in the coming weeks.

"This splendid biography gives us no saint or martyr but the story of a gifted and complicated woman, bent on making the best of the difficult hand fate has dealt her, whether it is with grit and humor or with an abiding desire to make palpable to readers the terrible mystery of God's grace." -- Frances Kiernan, author of Seeing Mary Plain: A Life of Mary McCarthy