Kentucky Humanities is pleased to announce the 2022 Kentucky Reads selection is Dear Ann, by Bobbie Ann Mason. 

About the book:

In the transformative years of the late 1960's, 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?

About the author:

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.

Booking fee:

The booking fee for your organization is only $50. Kentucky Humanities will supplement the remaining cost of the program. Each host organization will be provided with 15 copies of Dear Ann to share among participating members and publicity materials to promote your discussion. Kentucky Humanities will pay an honorarium to the discussion leader (you choose) below to lead your book discussion. Or you can choose to find your own book discussion leader and your organization will pay that leader or he/she will donate his/her time to serve as a discussion leader.
Any nonprofit organization in Kentucky can host this program, including libraries, historical societies, churches, prisons, veterans’ groups, museums, book clubs, etc. These programs will be awarded on a first-come first-served basis and must take place between February 1, 2022 and December 31, 2022.
Social media hashtag: #KyReads

How to host book discussion:

  1. Decide your organization would like to host a book discussion of Dear Ann.
  2. Select who will serve as your scholar to lead a discussion about the book and relevant topics. (see list below)
  3. Contact the scholar and set a date, time, and location for your group discussion and discuss any special arrangements.
  4. Book the program using the online booking form at least six weeks in advance, beginning January 1, 2022, and pay the $50 booking fee.
  5. Kentucky Humanities will send you an agreement to sign and return.
  6. Kentucky Humanities will also send an electronic social media graphic, flyer, bookmarks, and 15 copies of Dear Ann to promote your event.
  7. Publicize your book discussion once it has been approved using the supplied materials.
  8. Host your discussion and have participants complete the provided evaluation forms.
  9. Complete the program coordinator's report.
  10. Return evaluation forms to Kentucky Humanities within two weeks of your program taking place.

Discussion Guide:

Click here to download a copy of the discussion guide for Dear Ann.

Scholars available to lead discussions for your group:

  1. Constance Alexander,, (270) 293-7920, Murray, KY. Constance Alexander is Faculty Scholar/Arts & Humanities at Murray State University’s Teacher Quality Institute. The Kentucky Press Association recently honored Constance Alexander as Best Columnist in its 2020 competition.
  2. Diane Calhoun-French,, (502) 500-2176, Louisville, KY. Diane Calhoun-French recently retired as Provost at Jefferson County Community & Technical College. She has been a member of the Kentucky Humanities Speakers Bureau for many years with talks such as Popular Fiction for Women, A Cultural History of Paper Dolls, Tea for Two, Reading in the Age of the Kindle, and others.
  3. Erin Chandler,, (859) 940-2087, Versailles, KY. Erin Chandler's memoir, June Bug Versus Hurricane was published in 2018. Her original play of the same name was produced at the Lost Studio in Los Angeles in 2009. Cinderella Sweeping Up, a collection of essays was released in June 2019. The essays were originally published in the Woodford Sun where she writes a weekly column. Erin holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Spalding University and Masters in Theatre from the University of Kentucky. She teaches playwrighting and screenwriting at the Carnegie Center in Lexington, KY, and is hard at work on a new novel, Nervous Blood. Erin was on the roster for the 2019-2020 Kentucky Humanities Speakers Bureau.
  4. Elizabeth Glass,, (502) 552-0088, Louisville, KY. Elizabeth Glass earned her PhD in Humanities from the University of Louisville. She is a scholar, creative writer, and teacher. She has received an Emerging Artist Award in Nonfiction from the Kentucky Arts Council and a grant from the Kentucky Foundation for Women.
  5. Donna Eastham,, (606) 425-3764, Somerset, KY. Donna Eastham is originally from Ohio and has been in the state of Kentucky since 1982. Donna has taught at Eastern Kentucky University and currently teaches at Somerset Community College in the IECE program. Donna is the recipient of Distinguished Faculty Member 2006-2007/2007-2008 voted by the students of Somerset Community College.
  6. Morris Grubbs,, (270) 384-6172, Lexington, KY. Morris Grubbs has directed Graduate Student Professional Enhancement at the University of Kentucky since 2007 and has served as Assistant Dean of the Graduate School since 2010. He holds a bachelor’s of science degree in English (minor in Biology), a master’s in English, and a PhD in English with a focus on the short story internationally.  He is editor of three University Press books, including Home and Beyond: An Anthology of Kentucky Short Stories and Conversations with Wendell Berry.
  7. Ann C. Hall,, (614) 404-2579, Louisville, KY. Ann C. Hall is a Professor of Comparative Humanities. She has published A Kind of Alaska: Women in the Plays of O’Neill, Pinter, and Shepard and Phantom Variations: The Adaptations of Gaston Leroux’s Phantom of the Opera, 1925-present. She is passionate about the humanities, film, the arts, teaching, and performance. She teaches courses in film, modern drama, and interdisciplinary humanities.
  8. Jacqueline Hamilton,, (859) 935-5153, Winchester, KY. Jacqueline Hamilton is an English professor at Eastern Kentucky University. She studied in London, England, on a Rotary Foundation fellowship in journalism, and received a Jesse Stuart fellowship during graduate school. Hamilton portrays Alice Lloyd and Sue Grafton for Kentucky Chautauqua. She hosts reading and writing camps for teenagers during the summer.
  9. Alana Scott,, (606) 783-2540, Morehead, KY. Alana Scott is an Associate Professor of History in the Department of History, Philosophy, Politics, Global Studies & Legal Studies (School of Humanities & Social Sciences) at Morehead State University. She holds a Ph.D. in History from Florida State University. She has served as a Prime Time Family Reading discussion leader for many years.
  10. Richard Taylor,, (502) 352-3516, Frankfort, KY. Richard Taylor is professor of English and Kenan Visiting Writer at Transylvania University and former Poet Laureate of Kentucky. Taylor has written more than a dozen books including Girty and Earth Bones. His newest release, Elkhorn: Evolution of a Kentucky Landscape, was awarded the Thomas D. Clark Medallion. He lives near the banks of the Elkhorn outside of Frankfort.
  11. Jayne Moore Waldrop,, (859) 494-8262, Lexington, KY. Jayne Moore Waldrop is a writer, attorney, and author of Retracing My Steps, a finalist in the New Women's Voices Chapbook Competition (Finishing Line Press 2019). She had two books published in 2021, a linked story collection, Drowned Town (University Press of Kentucky) and a poetry collection, Pandemic Lent: A Season in Poetry (Finishing Line Press). She's a former book columnist for the Louisville Courier-Journal and literary liaison at the Carnegie Center of Literacy and Learning in Lexington.
  12. Marianne Worthington,, (606) 521-7115, Williamsburg, KY.  Marianne Worthington is a poet, editor, and educator living in southeastern Kentucky. She co-founded the online literary magazine Still: The Journal in 2009 and serves as its poetry editor.
  13. John "Spike" Wright,, (859) 567-5555, Warsaw, KY.  Most people know John Wright by his nickname, "Spike". He is a lifelong resident of Gallatin County and has led discussions for Kentucky Reads including All the King's Men, Hannah Coulter, and The Birds of Opulence. He has served as a Prime Time Family Reading discussion leader. A graduate of Transylvania University and the Salmon P. Chase College of Law at NKU, Spike has served as the Gallatin County Attorney since 2003.

Booking form:

Once you have contacted the discussion leader and made your book discussion plans, please complete the booking form below and submit online.