Flannery O’Connor’s letters to Betty Hester unsealed
by Maud Newton |
Betty Hester, longtime correspondent, friend, and “adopted kin” to Flannery O’Connor, donated the letters she received from the Southern writer to Emory University in 1987, with the stipulation that they remain sealed for twenty years.
In 1998 she committed suicide with a hollow-nose bullet aimed at her skull, after spending the afternoon eating a day-late Christmas dinner and playfully mocking William Sessions “for taking the Church seriously.”
A quote reprinted at If Flannery Had a Blog (and taken from letters in A Habit of Being): “I once had the feeling I would dig my mother’s grave with my writing too, but I later discovered this was vanity on my part. They are hardier than we think.”
Added 5/15/2007: The AJCsummarizes O’Connor’s remarks, in the Hester correspondence, on other Southern writers:
She quips that the French seem to think that fellow Georgia writer Erskine Caldwell is Shakespeare. She calls Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird, a child’s story, and writes she can “barely force my way through” Truman Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
Images of inscription and of Hester taken from the AJC.