We are thrilled to welcome to Northshire legendary author Bobbie Ann Mason to present her latest novel Dear Ann in conversation with acclaimed novelist Steve Yarbrough.
Bobbie Ann Mason, acclaimed and award-winning author of the classics Shiloh and Other Stories and In Country called by George Saunders "a strange and beautiful writer," will present Dear Ann, her first novel in almost ten years, a beautifully crafted and profoundly moving novel which follows a woman as she looks back over her life and her first love, in a conversation with returning Northshire favorite Steve Yarbrough.
Ann Workman is smart but naïve, a misfit who’s traveled from rural Kentucky to graduate school in the transformative years of the late 1960s. While Ann fervently seeks higher learning, she wants what all girls yearn for—a boyfriend. But not any boy. She wants the “Real Thing,” to be in love with someone who loves her equally.
Then Jimmy appears, as if by magic. Although he comes from a very different place, upper-middle class suburban Chicago, he is a misfit too, a rebel who rejects his upbringing and questions everything. Ann and Jimmy bond through music and literature and their own quirkiness, diving headfirst into what seems to be a perfect relationship. But with the Vietnam War looming and the country in turmoil, their future 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, as her mentor had urged, 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?
Beautifully written and expertly told, Dear Ann is the wrenching story of one woman’s life and the choices she has made. Bobbie Ann Mason captures at once the excitement of youth and the nostalgia of age, and how consideration of the road not taken—the interplay of memory and imagination—can illuminate, and perhaps overtake, our present.
Bobbie Ann Mason is the author of a number of works of fiction, including The Girl in the Blue Beret, In Country, An Atomic Romance, and Nancy Culpepper. The groundbreaking Shiloh and Other Stories won the PEN Hemingway Award and was shortlisted for the National Book Critics Circle Award, the American Book Award, and the PEN Faulkner Award. Her memoir, Clear Springs, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. She has won two Southern Book Awards and numerous other prizes, including the O. Henry and the Pushcart. Former writer-in-residence at the University of Kentucky, she lives in Kentucky.
Steve Yarbrough is the author of eleven books, most recently the novel The Unmade World, published in January 2018. His other books are the nonfiction title Bookmarked: Larry McMurtry’s The Last Picture Show, the novels The Realm of Last Chances, Safe from the Neighbors, The End of California, Prisoners of War, Visible Spirits and The Oxygen Man, and the short story collections Veneer, Mississippi History and Family Men. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Award for Fiction, the California Book Award, the Richard Wright Award and the Robert Penn Warren Award. He has been a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award and is a member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers. The Unmade World won the 2019 Massachusetts Book Award for Fiction.
Northshire Live virtual events feature weekly author guests via Zoom, as well as a chance to connect with other readers and book lovers. Your event ticket includes a copy of "Dear Ann" as well as access to the zoom event for your household. If you have already purchased a copy of "Dear Ann" from Northshire Bookstore or the cost of a ticket is prohibitive for you, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire about a complimentary ticket.