When Flannery O’Connor went to the University of Iowa for graduate school, her mentor Paul Engle could not understand her Georgian accent. Engle later recalled his reaction when she asked to attend his workshop.
Embarrassed, I asked her to write down what she had just said on a pad. …
Like Keats, who spoke Cockney but wrote the purest sounds in English, Flannery spoke a dialect beyond instant comprehension but on the page her prose was imaginative, tough, alive: just like Flannery herself.
Here is a recording of O’Connor reading her story A Good Man is Hard to Find. I don’t find her at all hard to understand. The recording was made 13 years after her first encounter with Engle, and perhaps her accent had moderated. Or perhaps my ears are simply accustomed to Southern speech.