Mary Flannery O’Connor was born in 1925 in Savannah, Georgia, the only child of Edward F. and Regina Cline O’Connor. The O’Connors lived at 207 East Charlton St. across LaFayette Square from the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist where the family attended Mass. In the spring of 1938, the family moved to Atlanta where Edward O’Connor was employed as a Federal Housing Authority real estate appraiser. In 1940, the O’Connors moved to Milledgeville to live in the Cline family home on Greene Street. Mr. O’Connor died of lupus early in 1941, and Mrs. O’Connor and Flannery continued to live in the Milledgeville family home along with Flannery’s aunts. It is here that Flannery would continue to live, with a bedroom on the second floor, while she attended Peabody High School and Georgia State College for Women (now Georgia College & State University).
When Flannery O’Connor left Milledgeville in 1945 to attend the State University of Iowa, she enrolled in the Writers Workshop conducted by Paul Engle. Her thesis there comprised a collection of short stories entitled The Geranium, which would contain the seed of her first novel. She received a Master of Fine Arts degree after two years but remained in Iowa for another year before going to the Yaddo Foundation's
artist colony near Saratoga Springs, New York. Afterwards she lived in New York City where she was introduced to Robert and Sally Fitzgerald, with whom she lived for over a year in Ridgefield, Connecticut. During this time she was writing her first novel Wise Blood.
In late 1950 Flannery O’Connor began to exhibit symptoms of the disease that had killed her father. Her condition forced Flannery to return to Milledgeville in 1951, but she continued working on revised drafts of the novel even while she was in the hospital. But instead of returning to the family home in town, Flannery and her mother moved to the family farm, Andalusia, where Flannery lived for thirteen years, until her death in 1964.