A storied summer: Book Group meets at the home of O’Connor

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Andalusia Farm, a former dairy farm outside of downtown Milledgeville, is where Flannery O’Connor wrote most of the work that established her as one of the world’s foremost 20th Century writers.

It’s also where readers continue to gather, now more than 50 years after her death, to celebrate and discuss her enduring stories. On the last Thursday of each month, the farm continues to welcomes drop-in visitors to a facilitated discussion of a different O’Connor story from 10:30-11:30 a.m.

“Andalusia Farm was a source of inspiration and solace for the writer. We are so pleased to share it with visitors and the Book Group is a perfect vehicle for making connections between the stories and this place.” says Executive Director Elizabeth Wylie.

“We have folks come from near and far attend the Book Group and are always amazed to hear the distance traveled and plans made to simply attend the monthly gathering dedicated to a discussion of O’Connor’s stories.”

The program takes place during the weekday and is a perfect opportunity for retirees, students, and travelers to be introduced to the author’s work and to the place where O’Connor lived with her mother from 1951 until her death in 1964 at age 39.

Mary Barbara Tate was in a book club with Flannery O’Connor that met at the farm (you can read more of Mary Barbara’s recollections of Flannery and the group in “At Home with Flannery O’Connor: An Oral History” ed. Bruce Gentry and Craig Amason, 2012, The Flannery O’Connor-Andalusia Foundation). Tate, now a long time FOCA board member, continued the book group through her church, and for many years, ardent Flannery readers met monthly at Andalusia for a discussion facilitated by Bruce Gentry.

In 2016, the role of organizing the group was assumed by Andalusia as a drop-in program open to anyone interested in discussion about the short story selection of the month.

The group meets at Andalusia on last Thursdays, from 10:30-11:30 a.m., and Georgia College Professor and O’Connor expert Bruce Gentry continues to facilitate the conversation. Daniel Wilkinson fills in during June and July. Refreshments are provided and there is plenty of seating.

 

2017 Andalusia Farm Book Group Dates & Stories

June 29 – “Wise Blood”

July 27 – “Good Country People”

August 31 – “A Good Man is Hard to Find”
September 28 – “The River”
October 27 – “Everything that Rises Must Converge”

 

Visitors also have an opportunity to tour the house, shop in the Andalusia store, visit with the peafowl, and generally enjoy the property. A mile-long nature trail loops through the woods along Tobler Creek and there is indoor and outdoor seating. Small groups and families are welcome, as are picnics, and leashed pets.

Multiple volumes of O’Connor’s books are scattered about for visitors to read a short story in the place it was written; short stories generally take 30 minutes to read. There is free admission to Andalusia Farm, although visitors are encouraged to make a $10 voluntary contribution and donations large and small are always welcome.

The Flannery O’Connor-Andalusia Foundation (FOCA) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the restoration, preservation and appreciation of Andalusia Farm, the final home of Flannery O’Connor, and to perpetuate her place in the roster of great writers of the 20th Century. The 500+-acre farm in Milledgeville is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday through Sunday. Through September, the farm will stay open every third Thursday until sunset.

For more information, visit www.andalusiafarm.org

 

 

 

 

 

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