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Savannah Peacock Party celebrates author Flannery O’Connor’s legacy

  • Peacock Party invitation illustration by Farnaz Jahani with design by Peter Erwin Roberts.
  • Flannery O’Connor illustration by June Glasson/Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Savannah Peacock Party celebrates author Flannery O’Connor’s legacy

10 Oct 2017

The Flannery O’Connor Peacock Party is a fine celebration, but the author would have hated it.

“She thought the person who invented the cocktail party should be drawn and quartered,” says Cody Shelley, foundation manager of the Flannery O’Connor Childhood Home. “But she did appreciate socializing with folks she liked.”

The Peacock Party, which is the Flannery O’Connor Childhood Home Foundation’s fundraiser, is set for Oct. 13 in Boland Hall at the Catholic Pastoral Center.

“We celebrate Flannery in Savannah in a very festive style,” Shelley says. “Flannery loved her peacocks. She had a dedication to her flock of peacocks at the end of her life.

“She had chickens here in Savannah,” Shelley says. “She wrote an essay about the magnificence of the peacock, so it is very much a symbol of Flannery.”

Born in Savannah on March 25, 1925, O’Connor is the author of the novels “Wise Blood” and “The Violent Bear It Away.” She also wrote 32 short stories and many essays.

O’Connor lived in Savannah until 1938, moving to Milledgeville at the age of 13. She died from lupus on Aug. 3, 1964, and was awarded the National Book Award for Fiction posthumously in 1972 for “The Collected Stories of Flannery O’Connor.”

The Flannery O’Connor Childhood Home is a house museum devoted to educating the public about the author’s contributions to American literature and her childhood in Savannah. Located at 207 E. Charlton St., it presents a series of free lectures and other events throughout the year.

The annual Peacock Party celebrates the anniversary of the Flannery O’Connor Home Foundation. This year’s party is the 28th, with all proceeds going to support ongoing programs, maintenance of the house and outreach initiatives.

The party is a true celebration, featuring a silent auction fundraiser and music by the Cory Chambers Jazz Band.

“We drink and dance and eat,” Shelley says. And Flannery-inspired attire is optional, but encouraged.

“We have a piece by Panhandle Slim in the silent auction,” Shelley says. “We have a silver pass to the Savannah Film Festival. The silent auction is really bananas this year.”

The highlight of the auction is a triptych called “Maritime Cathedral” by acclaimed Southern contemporary artist Betsy Cain. All proceeds from the piece’s sale benefit the Ursrey Memorial Lecture Series.

Admission price includes two drink tickets and “lots of delicious hors d’oeuvres,” Shelley says. “The Coastal Center for Developmental Services is doing all our catering.

“They work with people with disabilities to do job training. We’re promoting the fact that we’re working with another nonprofit.”

This year’s theme is “Feathers and Fiction.”

“We have beautiful décor this year,” Shelley says. “There are lots of blue and teal and peacock feathers.

“It’s going to be fabulous. We usually have the party at a private home.

“This year, it’s at the Catholic Diocese Pastoral Center and Bishop Boland is our host,” she says. “It’s a fun proposition to get a party in that big beautiful brick building we all drive by on Victory.”


What: The Flannery O’Connor Peacock Party

When: 6-9 p.m. Oct. 13

Where: Boland Hall, Catholic Pastoral Center, 2170 E. Victory Drive

Cost: $45 per person or $80 per couple in advance; $50 per person at the door; includes two drink tickets

Info: 912-233-6014,,