Kentucky Reads Dear Ann

by Bobbie Ann Mason

Book Discussion Event featuring Kentucky Humanities 2022 Kentucky ReadsA Statewide literacy initiative featuring Dear Ann by Bobbie Ann Mason

When: Sunday, May 15th – 2:00 PM

Where: Murray Woman’s Clubhouse, 704 Vine Street, Murray, KY

Constance Alexander, award-winning author, poet, and scholar, will facilitate the discussion.

Copies of the novel, which were provided by the Kentucky Humanities, are now available for checkout from the Calloway County Public Library on CCPL Remote Service Days. The book is also available to borrow in ebook and audiobook formats from CCPL’s Kentucky Libraries Unbound and Hoopla digital services.

The Kentucky Humanities Council writes about Dear Ann, “In the transformative years of the late 1960s, smart yet naive misfit Ann Workman has traveled from rural Kentucky to graduate school in search of an education and the “Real Thing”—to be in love with someone who loves her equally. Then Jimmy appears as if by magic. A misfit like Ann, Jimmy is a rebel who rejects his upper-class Midwestern upbringing and questions everything. But with the Vietnam War looming and the country in turmoil, their future together is uncertain.

Many years later, Ann recalls this time of innocence—and her own obsession with Jimmy—as she faces another life crisis. Seeking escape from her problems, she tries to imagine where she might be if she had chosen differently all those years ago. What if she had gone to Stanford University instead of a small school on the East Coast? Would she have been caught up in the Summer of Love and its subsequent dark turns? Or would her own good sense have saved her from disaster?”

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.

Bobbie Ann Mason’s groundbreaking Shiloh and Other Stories won the Pen/Hemingway Award and was short-listed for the National Book Critics Circle Award, the National Book Award, and the PEN/Faulkner Award. She has won two Southern Book awards and numerous other prizes, including the O. Henry and the Pushcart. She is a former writer-in-residence at the University of Kentucky.

Kentucky Humanities’ first edition of Kentucky Reads, in 2018, featured Kentucky native Robert Penn Warren’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel: All the King’s Men to guide statewide conversations on contemporary populism, political discourse, and their relationship to journalism.

This program is funded in part by the Kentucky Humanities and the National Endowment for the Humanities. For information about Kentucky Humanities’ programs and services, including Kentucky Reads, visit

The Calloway County Public Library is temporarily closed due to construction work. However, CCPL is hosting Remote Service Days each Tuesday & Wednesday, 9:00 AM – 2:00 PM, in the lower level of the Murray Woman’s Clubhouse during April.

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