Years ago, I asked a well-read friend what he thought of Flannery O’Connor. He replied, “I don’t read Catholic writers.” I thought that was sad. Flannery was Catholic, sure, but a “Catholic writer”? Hardly. The New York Times called her A Good Man Is Hard to Find, her story collection, revolutionary. And I’ll never forget my former teacher telling us, after we read an early short story of hers and its revision, that the University of Iowa’s Writer’s Workshop, then the number one writing graduate program and where Flannery attended, had no idea what they had on their hands with the stories of Ms. O’Connor.
In this link you’ll find two audio clips of Flannery. One, where she talks about aspects of the Grotesque in Southern literature, and the other where she reads her famous story, “A Good Man Is Hard to Find.”