10 Nov

Kentucky Humanities announces 2022 Kentucky Reads

Kentucky Humanities has selected Bobbie Ann Mason’s Dear Ann for its 2022 Kentucky Reads. The novel will be at the center of statewide conversations on nostalgia, the choices we make and how they affect our lives, and thinking back on the road not taken.


Kentucky Reads will offer 50 scholar-led discussions of Dear Ann to community organizations throughout the Commonwealth. Kentucky Humanities has accumulated an impressive group of scholars who will lead engaging, thought-provoking discussion about the themes of the book.


Any non-profit organization in Kentucky can host a discussion of Dear Ann for a booking fee of $50 and each host organization will be provided with 15 copies of the novel to share among participating members. Publicity materials to promote the discussion will also be provided. Host organizations will determine if their scheduled discussion will be held in-person or virtually. A list of scholars can be found at Bookings will begin on January 1, 2022.


“Bobbie Ann Mason’s work has riveted audiences for decades and Dear Ann is no exception,” said Bill Goodman, Kentucky Humanities Executive Director. “We are thrilled to announce Bobbie Ann’s latest book as our 2022 Kentucky Reads selection and look forward to the conversations Dear Ann will bring about throughout the state.”



The Vietnam War serves as the background of a love story in the turbulent ’60s in Bobbie Ann Mason’s newest book, Dear Ann. Ann Workman, a smart yet naïve misfit, travels from rural Kentucky to attend graduate school in search of education and to fall in love. Many years later, Ann recalls this time of innocence 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.


Bobbie Ann Mason was raised on her family's dairy farm in western Kentucky. She earned a B.A. in English at the University of Kentucky, an M.A. at the State University of New York at Binghamton, and a Ph.D. at the University of Connecticut. Her 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 former writer-in-residence at the University of Kentucky and lives in 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. In 2020, Wendell Berry’s Hannah Coulter was chosen, and in 2021 Crystal Wilkinson’s The Birds of Opulence was featured.