Throughout the 1950s, Flannery O’Connor published classic Southern Gothic tales that featured corrupt preachers, dissatisfied farmers, highway criminals, and other characters with ambiguous moral codes. Though she died in 1964, the Georgia native posthumously won the National Book Award for fiction.

In the 1959 audio recording above, O’Connor gives a live reading of one of her most beloved short stories, “A Good Man Is Hard To Find,” a tale about a family that suddenly runs into a very dangerous situation while on a road trip. Even in print, O’Connor has an incredibly distinct narrative voice. But hearing her read her own work aloud, in front of a packed audience at Vanderbilt University, gives it new life, imbuing even the most seemingly benign phrases with a sense of the author’s wit. Within the first few lines of the story, O’Connor has her audience laughing uproariously, then listening in tense silence. Whether you’re already a fan of O’Connor’s writing or in search of a new favorite writer, O’Connor’s recitation of “A Good Man Is Hard To Find” is a rare treat.

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