Selected Works

Fiction
"Mason (In Country) is back with a touching novel about love, loss, war, and memory. ...Mason's latest, based on the real-life experiences of her father-in-law, is fascinating and intensely intimate." --Publishers Weekly
"A novel that, like a flashbulb, burns an afterimage in our minds."
--Michiko Kakutani, the New York Times
The author's first book of short stories, including the first four stories published in The New Yorker. Winner, PEN/Hemingway Award for First Fiction
"[Mason] wraps up her political comments in a touching--and utterly convincing--love story."
--St. Petersburg Times
Collection of short stories from 2001.
This collection of linked stories, 2006, includes the novella " Spence + Lila." "Where do we come from, especially here, in young, upstart America? Who are we, beyond a handful of genes and another handful of random circumstance? [Nancy Culpepper] asks these questions artfully, respectfully, beautifully."
--The Washington Post
"A wonderful novel...riveting...memorable and complete." --New York Times Book Review "A brilliantly sustained and grimly humorous parable about fame in 20th-Century America."--Los Angeles Times
Memoir
"While exploring her past, Mason might not have intended to write a memoir for America. But she has, and brilliantly so." --San Diego Union
Non-Fiction
Biographical essay.
A guide to Nancy Drew and other girl detective series books.

About Bobbie Ann Mason


Photo by LaNelle Mason

Bobbie Ann Mason was raised on her family’s dairy farm in western Kentucky. She became interested in writing as a child, when she wrote imitations of the mystery series novels she read. She 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 American 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.

The title story, "Shiloh," about a disabled trucker whose wife is not used to having him at home, has been widely anthologized in college textbooks. The couple's trip to the Civil War battleground of Shiloh began for Mason a recurring preoccupation with the theme of war.

Her first novel, "In Country," (1985) is taught widely in classes and was made into a Norman Jewison film starring Bruce Willis and Emily Lloyd. It is about a teenager whose father died in Vietnam before she was born. She is coming of age, now desperate to know more about her father.

Mason's newest novel, "The Girl in the Blue Beret," ventures into World War II and the ways it is remembered. Marshall Stone, a former bomber pilot, returns to France in 1980 and tries to recapture his younger self.

Mason's memoir, "Clear Springs," about an American farm family throughout the twentieth century, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Her book of linked stories, "Nancy Culpepper," is inspired by this family, and she says that while the circumstances are different, this is the work of fiction most closely identified with her own life and sensibility.

She is former writer-in-residence at the University of Kentucky.

Awards


Finalist for Pulitzer Prize for the memoir, "Clear Springs"

Arts and Letters Award for Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters


"Shiloh and Other Stories," PEN Hemingway Award for first fiction. Nominated for the PEN Faulkner Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the American Book Award. "Shiloh" was published in 1982.


Kentucky Book Award for The Girl in the Blue Beret" (2012) and "Elvis Presley" (2004)

Southern Book Critics Circle Award for "Feather Crowns"and "Zigzagging Down a Wild Trail"

Guggenheim Fellowship

National Endowment for the Arts grant

Memberships



Authors Guild
PEN
Fellowship of Southern Writers

"The Girl in the Blue Beret" is one of three "Hot Summer Literary Fiction" books recommended by USA Today.

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