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Flannery O’Connor to be Honored With US Postage Stamp

US Postal Service

John Burger - published on 05/28/15 - updated on 06/08/17

But you won't see it on your typical first class letter

Flannery O’Connor fans are no doubt thrilled by the news that the Southern Catholic writer will be honored by a new US postage stamp.

But many will probably have the same reaction blogger Frank Weathers had when finding out that the stamp will not be gracing most of your average mail.

"I’m kinda bummed that it’s the 3 ounce, $.93 variety," Weathers wrote at his blog Why I Am Catholic. "Oh well, we’ll buy a few anyway, just for the wonder of it. I kinda miss her horn rimmed glasses, though."

O’Connor appears on the stamp, unveiled Tuesday, flanked by peacock feathers, an allusion to Andalusia, the family farm in Georgia where she raised peacocks.

"O’Connor’s work led the field of Southern Gothic with the novels ‘Wise Blood’ and ‘The Violent Bear It Away’ and many works of short fiction, including the collection ‘Everything That Rises Must Converge,’" explained the Los Angeles Times. "An omnibus collection, ‘The Complete Stories of Flannery O’Connor,’ which won the 1972 National Book Award for fiction, was named the Best of the National Book Awards, 1950-2008 by a public vote."

Born in 1925 in Savannah, Ga., Mary Flannery O’Connor was the only daughter in a devout Catholic family. The family moved to Milledgeville when she was 12, then to Andalusia after her father died. She attended Georgia State College for Women, then the Iowa Writers Workshop. Later, she lived at Yaddo, a retreat for artists in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., as well as in New York City.

Wikipedia, citing Carter Martin, an authority on O’Connor’s writings, notes that from 1956 through 1964, O’Connor wrote more than 100 book reviews for two diocesan newspapers in Georgia: The Bulletin and The Southern Cross. Her reviews consistently confront theological and ethical themes in books written by the most serious and demanding theologians of her time. Martin said that her "book reviews are at one with her religious life."

The Times continues:

Afflicted with lupus, O’Connor at age 25 moved back to Georgia, where her mother helped take care of her. O’Connor used crutches to get around, attended church, raised peacocks and built a strong reputation as a writer. Although she saw her books become finalists for the National Book Award in 1956 and 1961, she missed out on wins; she died in 1964 at the age of 39.

In his 2009 biography "Flannery: A Life of Flannery O’Connor," Brad Gooch wrote, "O’Connor said that modern writers must often tell ‘perverse’ stories to ‘shock’ a morally blind world. ‘It requires considerable courage,’ she concluded, ‘not to turn away from the story-teller.’"

The stamp will be issued June 5 during the Napex stamp show in McLean, Va.


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