Monday, May 1, 2017

Birth Dates of Notable Kentuckians: May 1, 1940 - Bobbie Ann Mason

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From The Kentucky Encyclopedia -
Bobbie Ann Mason, author of short stories and novels, was born May 1, 1940, in Mayfield, Kentucky, the daughter of Wilburn and Bernice Christie (Lee) Mason, and grew up on the family's fifty-four-acre dairy farm. She received an A.B. in English from the University of Kentucky in 1962, an M.A. from the State University of New York at Binghamton in 1966, and a Ph.D. from the University of Connecticut in 1972.

While still in college, Mason wrote for the Mayfield Messenger, and after college she contributed to popular magazines such as Movie Stars, Movie Life, and T.V. Star Parade in New York City. She taught English at Mansfield State College in Pennsylvania from 1972 to 1979. Her first books were nonfiction: Nabokov's Garden: a Nature Guide to Ada (1974), and The Girl Sleuth: a Feminist Guide to the Bobbsey Twins, Nancy Drew, and their Sisters (1975). Mason's first published short story appeared in the New Yorker in 1980, and her work soon began appearing in other national magazines. Shiloh And Other Stories (1982) and Love Life (1989) are collections of short stories. Her stories have appeared regularly in the New Yorker, Paris Review, North American Review, Redbook, Atlantic, Mother Jones, Southern Magazine, and Harper's, and in the annual volumes of Houghton Mifflin's Best American Short Stories.

Mason's first novel, In Country (1985), is about teenager Samantha Hughes's obsessive search to know her father, killed in Vietnam before she was born. The characters in her next novel, Spence + Lila (1988), are a farm couple who, after more than forty years of married life, cope with the problems of old age and death.

The scene of most of Mason's fiction is her native western Kentucky. She underscored the importance of her Kentucky background and its influence on her fiction in an interview with Mervyn Rothstein: "I think it's a matter of temperament and heredity and region. I think the style very much grows out of the place I come from." In 1988, when In Country was made into a motion picture by Warner Brothers, much of the filming was done near Paducah. A writer for the New York Review Of Books (December 16, 1982) called Mason "one of those rare writers who, by concentrating their attention on a few square miles of native turf, are able to open up new and surprisingly wide worlds for the delighted reader."

In 1969 Mason married Roger B. Rawlings, a writer and magazine editor; they live in Anderson County.

WADE HALL, Entry Author

Selected Sources from UK Libraries:

Mason, Bobbie Ann. Clear Springs : A Memoir. 1st ed. New York: Random House, 1999. Print.
PS3563.A7877 Z77 1999, Young Library - 5th Floor

Mason, Bobbie Ann. In Country : A Novel. 1st ed. New York: Harper & Row, 1985. Print.
PS3563.A7877 I5 1985, Young Library – 5th Floor

Beattie, L. Elisabeth, Wade Hall, Susan. Lippman, and University Press of Kentucky. Conversations with Kentucky Writers. Lexington: U of Kentucky, 1996. Kentucky Remembered. Web.
PS266.K4 C66 1996, Young Library – 5th Floor

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