Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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March 14, 2013

Farmhouse preserves memory of a Southern writer

MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. — The legacy of Southern writer Flannery O'Connor survives not only in her fiction but also in some of the buildings that featured prominently in the last years of her life. O'Connor enthusiasts this week celebrated the restoration of the latest structure - a two-story cottage that housed farmers on her family's Andalusia estate.

“This building is very significant, not only to the preservation of O’Connor’s legacy but to her writing as well,” said Craig Amason, executive director of the Flannery O'Connor - Andalusia Foundation.

The author mentioned the cottage several times in a collection of more than 800 letters published after her death as "The Habit of Being." It was where African-American farmers Jack and Louise Hill lived with a boarder named Willie "Shot" Mason.

Born in Savannah, Ga., O'Connor was a teen when her family moved to central Georgia because of her father's failing health. She attended college here, at what is now Georgia College and State University, and later moved away to enroll in the Iowa Writers Workshop. She returned to the family's 544-acre farm north of Milledgeville in 1951, after her diagnosis with lupus, the same disease that killed her father.

O'Connor became known for her Gothic writing style. She published two novels - "Wise Blood" and "The Violent Bear it Away" - and many short stories, including the collection "A Good Man is Hard to Find." Other stories and collections were published after her death in 1964 at age 39.

The Andalusia estate - with a main house, the Hills' house, various barns, stables and sheds - remains open to the public.

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Details for this story were reported by the Union-Recorder in Milledgeville, Ga.

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