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September 24: Walking Backward

Walking Backward: The Life and Work of Flannery O'Connor
Brad Gooch, Professor of English at William Paterson University & author of
Flannery: A Life of Flannery O'Connor (Little Brown 2009)

Thursday, September 24, 4:00 p.m.
Sterling Memorial Library Lecture Hall, 128 Wall Street
Free and open to the public.

The landscape of American literature was fundamentally changed when Flannery O'Connor published her first book, Wise Blood, in 1952. Her fierce, sometimes comic novels and stories reflected the darkly funny, vibrant, and theologically sophisticated woman who wrote them. Brad Gooch brings to life O'Connor's significant friendships - with Robert Lowell, Elizabeth Hardwick, Walker Percy and James Dickey among others - and her deeply felt convictions, as expressed in her communications with Thomas Merton, Elizabeth Bishop, and Betty Hester. Hester was famously known as 'A' in O'Connor's collected letters, The Habit of Being, and a large cache of correspondence to her from O'Connor was made available to Gooch in 2006.

Brad Gooch's previous books include City Poet: The Life and Times of Frank O’Hara; as well as Godtalk: Travels in Spiritual America; three novels--Scary Kisses, The Golden Age of Promiscuity, Zombie00; a collection of stories, Jailbait and other Stories, chosen by Donald Barthelme for a Writer’s Choice Award; a collection of poems, The Daily News; and two memoirs, Finding the Boyfriend Within and Dating the Greek Gods. His work has been featured in numerous magazines including: The New Republic, The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, New York Magazine, Travel and Leisure, Partisan Review, The Paris Review, The Los Angeles Times Book Review, Art Forum, Harper’s Bazaar, The Nation, and regularly on The Daily Beast. A Guggenheim fellow in Biography, he has received a National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship, and a Furthermore grant in publishing from the J.M. Kaplan Fund. He earned his PhD at Columbia University.