Bobbie Ann Mason

Bobbie Ann Mason (born May 1, 1940) is an American novelist, short story writer, essayist, and literary critic from Kentucky. Her memoir was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

Bobbie Ann Mason was raised on her family’s dairy farm in western Kentucky. In childhood, she wrote imitations of the mystery series novels she read and was inspired by Louisa May Alcott’s “Little Women,” but it wasn’t until college that she discovered other writers, especially the fiction of Hemingway, Salinger, and Fitzgerald.

She earned her B.A. in English at the University of Kentucky in 1962, her M.A. at the State University of New York at Binghamton in 1966, and her Ph.D. at the University of Connecticut in 1972. Although her dissertation on Vladimir Nabokov was published (Ardis, 1974), teaching jobs were scarce in the seventies. Thus, she was able to focus on writing fiction while teaching journalism part-time.

Her first short stories were published in The New Yorker, during the 1980s renaissance of the short story, when writers such as Raymond Carver, Ann Beattie, and Tobias Wolff came to prominence. Mason’s first book of fiction, “Shiloh & Other Stories,” (1982) won the PEN/Hemingway Award and was nominated for the Natonal Book Award, the PEN/Faulkner Award, and the National Book Critics Circle Award. She received an Arts and Letters Award for Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Books in order of publication:

Short story collections

  • Shiloh and Other Stories (1982)
  • Love Life. Harper & Row, New York (1989)
  • Midnight Magic (1998)
  • Zigzagging Down a Wild Trail (2002)
  • Nancy Culpepper (2006)


  • In Country (1985)
  • Feather Crowns (1993)
  • An Atomic Romance (2005)
  • The Girl in the Blue Beret (2011)
  • Dear Ann (2020)


  • Spence + Lila (1988)


  • Clear Springs: A Memoir (1999


  • Elvis Presley (2002)


  • Nabokov’s Garden (1974)

The Girl Sleuth: A Feminist Guide (1975)

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