Flannery O’Connor (1925–1964), yet another Savannah native, won three O. Henry awards for short fiction, received prestigious grants and fellowships from the National Institute of Arts and Letters, the Kenyon Review, and the Ford Foundation, and was awarded honorary doctoral degrees by Smith and St. Mary’s colleges. In death her honors have continued with a National Book Award for her collected stories and a National Book Critics Circle award (for her collected letters). She is widely considered to be among the top echelon of American prose writers, and her work continues to win new readers and admirers. During her lifetime she published the novels Wise Blood (1952) and The Violent Bear It Away (1960), as well as A Good Man Is Hard to Find and Other Stories (1955). Her posthumous publications include Everything That Rises Must Converge (1965), Mystery and Manners: Occasional Prose (1972), and The Habit of Being: Letters (1979). O’Connor lived for most of her life in Milledgeville, Georgia, where she died of lupus at the age of thirty-nine. (Inducted as a charter member in 2000)
Dave Smith is the Elliott Coleman Professor of Poetry in the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University. His newest book of poems, Hawks on Wires, is forthcoming from LSU Press this fall. Along with Robert DeMott, he edited the essay anthology Afield: Writers on Bird Dogs (Skyhorse Press, 2010).