There’s no greater horror than the grandmother’s realization that her son and his family are being marched away to their deaths — and that she’s next — in Flannery O’Connor’s A Good Man is Hard to Find. O’Connor’s gift for probing and prodding themes of grace and redemption in Roman Catholicism, without seeming to do so, made her not just one of the great Southern American short story writers but one of the great American writers.

Fifty years ago, at the height of her literary influence, O’Connor came to Lafayette to speak at USL (now UL Lafayette) about her faith and its influence on her art. Recently a recording of that speech, “The Catholic Writer in the Protestant South,” was discovered in an archive at UL and digitized by the Center for Louisiana Studies (hear a clip below), and on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 9-10, academics and admirers of O’Connor’s work will gather at UL to celebrate her work and to hear the rare recording.

The event kicks off Friday evening with an opening reception at the Alumni Center. Then, from 8 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Saturday a symposium featuring several O’Connor scholars will be held, followed by a themed dinner and movie later that evening. The symposium is $75 and there are additional charges for the other events. The whole shebang is sponsored by Ragin’ Cajun Catholics, Deep South Magazine, the UL English department and Friends of the Humanities. To find our more, log on to OurLadyOfWisdom.org.

 

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