Mary Helen Stefaniak

A Note to Biographers Regarding Famous Author Flannery O'Connor

All the scenes in "A Note to Biographers" are wholly imagined, but the biographical information--both about O'Connor and about my mother's family--is, to the best of my knowledge, true. Some names have been changed, and composite characters created. My aunt Sissie does not appear in the story, but I would like to acknowledge here, with gratitude, that she is the one who really said, "I call them all St. Joseph's."

Mary Helen Stefaniak, in New Stories from the South (Algonquin 2000).


Mary Helen McCullough, Class of 1943, Peabody HIgh School, Milledgeville, Georgia

I'm glad to have a graduation picture of my mother seated on a straight-backed chair, wearing the pale chiffon formal that her sister had worn the year before, a corsage of carnations on her shoulder. (It was supposed to be roses, but the florist ran out.)


From "A Note to Biographers Regarding Famous Author Flannery O'Connor"

Selected Works

Novel
A hidden history of the South emerges when a worldly teacher leads Threestep, GA, to reinvent itself, setting in motion events that lead to triumph and tragedy for a black teenager who happens to be the smartest person in Piedmont County, Georgia.
Hilarious and moving, a masterful debut novel about a Milwaukee immigrant family's secret history.
Short Fiction
"Every story I have ever written is in some sense an argument with Flannery O'Connor, as well as a tribute to her. This story happens to be the only one that mentions her by name."
Short stories by Nebraska writers edited by Ladette Randolph, with an introduction by Mary Pipher
Fiction (short stories)
In these nine stories, “the familiar world is both funnier and sadder than it seems.”
--Kalamazoo Gazette
Creative Non-Fiction
A rich and comprehensive collection of literary writings about the Midwest.