Flannery O’Connor, patron saint of short-story writers, is nearly synonymous with the Southern Gothic tradition. O’Connor was a woman of religious conviction and macabre imagination, and she left a long legacy. As another artist famous for imposing Catholic imagery on a distinctly American landscape, Bruce Springsteen, once said, “the short stories of Flannery O’Connor landed hard on me. You could feel within them the unknowability of God, the intangible mysteries of life that confounded her characters, and which I find by my side every day. They contained the dark Gothicness of my childhood and yet made me feel fortunate to sit at the center of this swirling black puzzle, stars reeling overhead, the earth barely beneath us.”
O’Connor, who died in 1964, would have been 90 today. To honor her, here are five of her best quotes on writing, faith, and the mysteries of life.