Cover To Cover is the anchor program for GPB’s literary coverage. Cover To Cover features a collection of distinctive Southern voices interviewing Georgia writers, Southern writers, and writers dealing with the South. The GPB Southern Lit Cadre will provide you with a varied, weekly glimpse at fiction, non-fiction, history, poetry, and even the occasional ‘old school’ nod to Flannery O’Connor or William Faulkner.

Friday, March 27, 2009

A Convergence at Kennesaw State

This in from Frank Reis:
Just as Hemingway once said all modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn, many of us interested in Georgia literature would say that a good starting point would be the work of Flannery O'Connor.
In the more than 40 years since her early death, the Savannah native's work, already considered among the absolute first rank of mid-century American fiction, has only grown in reputation. Never out of print and widely anthologized, O'Connor's short stories and novels are read and studied around the world, recognized for their distinctive regional flavor as well as the universality of their themes.

Inspiring as it is, though, O'Connor's work has not been widely interpreted into other media. With a stage adaptation of several of her stories, approved by the O'Connor estate, that situation has begun to change in recent years. In April, 2009, the Department of Theatre at Kennesaw State University presents "Everything That Rises Must Converge" and "A View of the Woods," two stories from late in O'Connor's short life.

The director of that production, Karen Robinson, discussed this exciting project with Cover to Cover.

A native Californian and lifelong theater person, Robinson brought to the production a particularly fresh pair of eyes and ears to the Southerner's enigmatic fiction. Robinson is now an enthusiastic proponent of O'Connor's "Shakespearean" language, not a word of which was allowed to be changed in her staging.

Our conversation delved into the philosophical and religious meaning of O'Connor's work and also the artistic challenges in presenting such complex stories in dramatic fashion, putting such masterful language in the voices of today's students.

Kennesaw's production and Robinson's enthusiasm--along with the much-ballyhooed new O'Connor biography by Brad Gooch--have already had the effect on at least one longtime O'Connor fan (yours truly) that all literary interpretation should: it has sent me back to the stories, with, if possible, an even greater appreciation for the brilliance of the work.

The interview airs on Sunday, March 29 at 8 p.m.

For more information about Kennesaw State's production of "Everything That Rises Must Converge" and "A View of the Woods" visit