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.