A Typical Week

Many people considering applying for a spot at the NEH Summer Institute wonder what exactly will I do in Milledgeville for almost a month? The answer is a lot!

Our cohort of 25 scholars are divided into three groups. These groups will experience the following:

  • Classes with our O’Connor Institute seminar leaders
  • Working in the O’Connor Collection on individual research projects with access to O’Connor’s manuscripts and other holdings
  • Individual conferences with the resident seminar leaders
  • Group dinners
  • Formal public lectures by seminar leaders
  • Teaching sessions with invited speakers
  • Casual discussion and networking in back porch sessions
  • Major trips to Emory University’s Special Collection in Atlanta and O’Connor’s childhood home in Savannah
  • Small trips to a variety of near-by sites including: Alice Walker sites in Eatonton, GA, filming location for Wise Blood in Macon, or attending service a O’Connor’s local church, Sacred Heart

In short, the days are packed but manageable. For avid O’Connor readers, it is rich time. Mrs. Turpin’s hogs in her pig parlor never had it so good!

All participants are expected to follow The Principles of Civility for NEH Professional Development Programs


Each faculty member will give an evening lecture at the Institute that is open to the public. These will also live streamed via Facebook and Zoom.

In addition, various guest scholars will be brought in virtually as well as in person to provide more background on O’Connor and her work.


A full day of O'Connor related films, everything from the one-minute, chicken-walking-backward film to the only film interview of O'Connor to the feature-length version of Wise Blood.

Flannery O’Connor Childhood Home, Savannah, GA

Get up early to head to the Flannery O'Connor Childhood Home in Savannah. We'll get a guided tour of this thoroughly restored house museum, and we'll still have time for lunch and a walk around the neighborhood in which O'Connor grew up. We'll have a good bus that will keep travel time to a minimum, time in Savannah to a maximum on our one-day excursion. See the famous kiddie coop!
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Flannery O’Connor Collection at Stuart A. Rose, Emory University, Atlanta, GA

Flannery O’Connor Collection at Stuart A. Rose Manuscripts, Archives, and Rare Book Library, Emory University, Atlanta, GA
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Spend a day exchanging ideas and techniques for teaching Flannery O’Connor.

Optional Group Trips

Central State Asylum grounds; Alice Walker birthplace; and The Big House, home of the Allman Brothers band

Suggestions for Research Projects

Here’s a list of almost-manageable projects for your days in GCSU Special Collections. This list should be especially helpful to people who are still quite open-minded about the research they intend to conduct during the NEH Summer Institute.

  1. O’Connor’s writing for college publications at GSCW. (Books of her cartoons have been published, but there’s more to do about the prose and the poems that Flannery published around the same time.)
  2. O’Connor’s book collection–using as a guide The Presence of Grace and Other Book Reviews and Flannery O’Connor’s Library: Resources of Being, get a notion of O’C’s take on major and minor writers, some of whom inspired her. Her annotations are fairly easy to interpret.
  3. The correspondence with Maryat Lee. Some letters were not published by Sally Fitzgerald, rather upsetting Lee.
  4. The Jean Cash collection includes biographical materials that did not make it into the first biography of O’C.
  5. The Christine Flanagan collection, about the correspondence between O’C and Caroline Gordon. See Flanagan’s interview in the 2019 FLOCR as a guide.
  6.  Manuscripts of Why Do the Heathen Rage?, files 215-34 in Driggers and Dunn’s The Manuscripts of Flannery O’Connor at Georgia College. See also files about “The Enduring Chill,” 194-95. Gentry just went through all this material and remains stunned.
  7. Manuscripts of The Violent Bear It Away, files 160-92.
  8. Manuscripts of O’Connor’s essays, files 235-85. Robert Donahoo has been working on these materials, and he’ll happily inspire you.
  9. Manuscripts of O’Connor’s stories in ETRMC: esp. those concerning “Parker’s Back” and “Judgment Day.” Files 193-214.
  10. Manuscripts of O’Connor’s stories in A Good Man Is Hard to Find and Other Stories, files 152-59.
  11. And then, of course, there are the Wise Blood manuscripts, on which you can hope to make a start. You might take Katherine Hemple Prown and Sarah Gordon as guides, or you might take inspiration from Ruth Reiniche (the expert on Ruby Hill) or Catherine Bowlin (the expert on Annie Lee Jackson, mother of Hazel Motes). You might concentrate on early versions of the novel. You might focus on looking at manuscripts that relate to a single favorite character. There are quite a few characters that never made it into the published novel.
  12. What else? Georgia College tries to collect all the major articles on O’Connor and all the dissertations on O’Connor. If there’s a book you’ve always wanted to take a look at, now’s your chance.