Flannery O’Connor study & documentary FULL

Course NameLocationDurationDateTime
Flannery O'Connor Study & Documentary *FULL*TBA North LondonFour hours Salon IntensiveJuly 5th 20196:15-10:00 PM

Flannery O’Connor study with documentary viewing

“Where you come from is gone, where you thought you were going to was never there, and where you are is no good unless you can get away from it. Where is there a place for you to be? No place… Nothing outside you can give you any place… In yourself right now is all the place you’ve got.”
Flannery O’Connor , Wise Blood


The London Literary Salon has been offered a unique opportunity to view the only full-length documentary on Flannery O’Connor with producer and director Bridget Kurt. The film, Uncommon Grace, has been selected for many film festivals including the Toronto International Independent Film Festival (www.beataproductions.com ). We will combine the viewing with a study of one or two of O’Connor’s short stories so we bring to the viewing a direct knowledge and immersion in O’Connor’s craft. We will focus on one or two of the following, but I recommend reading all four to have the range of writing and thematic development in mind for this special study. We are very lucky that one of our Salonistas has a home theatre that they have generously offered for this experience.

The four stories can all be found in The Complete Stories collection

  • “A Good Man is Hard to Find”
  • “The Life You Save May Be Your Own”
  • “The Displaced Person”
  • “Everything that Rises Must Converge”


Salon Details

  • Facilitated by Toby Brothers
  • Friday evening 6:15 pm – 10:00 pm
  • One meeting Intensive July 5th 2019
  • Recommended edition: The Complete Stories collection  by Flannery O’Connor, Faber & Faber; Main edition (2 April 2009) ; ISBN-10: 9780571245789

£35 for Salon Intensive includes documentary viewing, background materials and opening notes

  • THIS COURSE IS NOW FULL– please contact us to be put on the Waiting list if places open

To register for the study, please use the secure Paypal payment button below to pay £35. Opening notes will be sent shortly after registration.

If you have any questions about this study, please contact us.


Flannery O’Connor is considered to be the master of the American Gothic short story form. Most readers experience discomfort reading her raw and frequently violent stories. Often set in mid-twentieth century southern United States, her stories do not flinch from portraying human hypocrisy, racism, greed and cruelty. Ironically, she is often claimed as a Catholic writer– her faith in some ways integral to her vision. O’Connor was invested in questioning the bizarre nature of humans– and how anxiously the strangeness at the centre of our being is poorly shielded by custom, charity and convention.

Writer Josh Jones (http://www.openculture.com/2019/02/why-should-we-read-flannery-oconnor-an-animated-video-makes-the-case.html) continues this inquiry:

By use of what she called “a reasonable use of the unreasonable” she shows murder, contempt, and deception as shockingly ordinary states of affairs, belying the polite fictions of civility and social niceness. Perhaps no setting could better illuminate the contrasts than the piously violent segregated mid-century American South. O’Connor’s “mastery of the grotesque,” notes the TED-Ed video  by Iseult Gillespie, “and her explorations of the insularity and superstitions of the South led her to be classified as a ‘Southern Gothic’ writer.”

The label may fit superficially, but “her work pushed beyond the purely ridiculous and frightening characteristics associated with the genre to reveal the variety and nuance of human character.” O’Connor herself suggested that what set her apart were “the assumptions… of the central Christian mysteries.” Though we need not read her work this way, she grants, there is “none other by which it could have been written.” We might say that her committed belief in the idea of universal human depravity gave her unique insight into the meaninglessness of class and race distinctions. Few writers have taken the idea as seriously, or approached it with more wicked playfulness.