Our Speakers:
Amanda Konkle & Bill Dawers

Above: Amanda Konkle and Bill Dawers at the Flannery O’Connor Childhood Home in Savannah.

Above: Amanda Konkle and Bill Dawers at the Flannery O’Connor Childhood Home in Savannah.

About Bill

Bill Dawers is a member of the faculty of the Department of Writing and Linguistics at Georgia Southern University, a 27,000-student institution, founded in 1906 and classified as a doctoral-research university. His base is the university’s Armstrong Campus — that is, its facility in the city of Savannah. While Bill’s teaching also embraces such genres as travel writing, it centers on journalism. He is an active and respected professional journalist, regularly contributing arts, music, and other features to the Savannah Morning News, especially its “City Talk” column. His work has featured in important US magazines, not least Oxford American.

Attuned to the Savannah scene, both contemporary and historical, Bill is passionate about the writings of Flannery O’Connor. He serves as Chair of the Board of Directors of the Flannery O’Connor Childhood Home on Lafayette Square in Savannah’s Historic District. In addition to attracting literary pilgrims from across the globe for tours, the house also hosts lectures and other events that deepen understanding of Flannery O’Connor, in particular how Savannah helped shape her.

About Amanda

Dr. Amanda Konkle received her PhD in English from the University of Kentucky (2016). Her research focuses on Film Studies and Twentieth-Century American Literature. Her most recent major publication is the monograph, Some Kind of Mirror: Creating Marilyn Monroe (Rutgers University Press, 2019). Reviewing the book, Lucy Bolton of Queen Mary, University of London, opined, “Konkle brings fresh understanding to the Marilyn Monroe phenomenon, shedding light on her journey from sexpot to star, and revealing the complex construction and development of the Monroe image.”

In 2020, Syracuse University Press will publish, in book form, a collection of essays on the television series, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. Amanda co-edited the volume. Amanda’s academic articles appear in such journals as Feminist Encounters and Quarterly Review of Film and Video. She is on the faculty of Georgia Southern University’s Department of Literature, teaching on the Armstrong Campus in Savannah.

Above: Scenes from the    Flannery O’Connor Childhood Home   , Savannah, Georgia.

Above: Scenes from the Flannery O’Connor Childhood Home, Savannah, Georgia.

Suggestions for Talks, Workshops

• Irish immigration to Savannah, with emphasis on County Wexford and on the O’Connor family

• Stories about Flannery O'Connor's childhood in Savannah and how those experiences echo in her literary works and other writings

• Catholicism and themes of grace in O'Connor's life and work, paying attention to the fact that most of her literary characters are not Catholic

• Details and history about the Flannery O’Connor Childhood Home, with (perhaps) some emphasis on the issues faced generally by literary house museums 

• The power of place, in particular the American South, noting that O’Connor’s essays frequently address Southern literature and her position within it

• O’Connor’s use of bizarre “prophets” — and of the grotesque — in her fiction

• O’Connor’s various letters and essays dealing with the art of writing; despite her own MFA from Iowa, she frequently showed disdain for creative-writing programs

• One or more discussion sessions about some O’Connor’s short stories; excellent candidates include (but are not limited to): “A Good Man Is Hard to Find”; “Good Country People”; “Parker's Back”; “Revelation”

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