Dr. John Wharton Lowe

Dr. John Wharton Lowe is Barbara Methvin Distinguished Professor of Southern Literature at the University of Georgia.  He is the author or editor of ten books, including Calypso Magnolia:  The Crosscurrents of Caribbean and Southern Literature, which won the C. Hugh Holman Award.  His edited volume, Black Hibiscus:  African Americans and the Florida Imaginary will appear in 2023.  He has published extensively on American humor and is the author of Jump at the Sun:  Zora Neale Hurston’s Cosmic Comedy.  Lowe has served as President of  the Society for the Study of Southern Literature; the Southern American Studies Association; and the Society for the Study of the Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States (MELUS), which awarded him the MELUS Lifetime Achievement Award for contributions to ethnic studies.  He is currently writing the authorized biography of Ernest J. Gaines.

Why O’Connor?

Flannery O’Connor’s works center on the key issue of the human heart in conflict with itself. Her often eccentric characters search for meaning in a chaotic, shifting landscape, where rural pieties collide with social change, hypocrisy, sin and deception. Her Christ-haunted South radiates out to immigrants and other regions, training a sometimes heartless microscope on human foibles and possibilities, revelation, damnation, and redemption. Amazingly, these formidable topics are often addressed through dark humor, piercing ironies, and a deeply original, startling poetics, thereby fashioning narratives with profound relevance for today’s complex realities and the future they will create.