Southern Kentucky Book Fest partners announced author Bobbie Ann Mason as the winner of this year’s Kentucky Literary Award for her book The Girl in the Blue Beret, a moving tale of World War II based on a true incident of Mason’s father-in-law and memories of that era.
First awarded in 2003 and reintroduced this year after a brief hiatus, the Kentucky Literary Award is given to an author from Kentucky or one whose book has a strong Kentucky theme.
According to Libby Davies, chair of the award committee and longtime bookseller and staff writer for Barnes & Noble Booksellers, committee members praised the novel for its well-constructed structure and skillful use of language and character development. “I enjoyed Mason’s vividly dramatic description of Stone’s escape through Nazi-occupied France, her believable emphasis on the lasting effects of war, and the surprising, poignant romance that grows during his return to France,” Davies said.
Mason was raised on her family’s dairy farm in western Kentucky. Her first short stories were published in The New Yorker, and then included in her first book of fiction, Shiloh & Other Stories. The collection won the PEN/Hemingway Award and was nominated for the American Book Award, the PEN/Faulkner Award, and the National Book Critics Circle Award.
Her first novel In Country is taught widely in classes and was made into a film starring Bruce Willis and Emily Lloyd. Both Feather Crowns and Zigzagging Down a Wild Trial won the Southern Book Critics Circle Award. Her memoir, or family history, Clear Springs, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. She is a member of Authors Guild, PEN, and the Fellowship of Southern Writers.
The award announcement was made at the Knicely Conference Center at an authors’ reception on April 20, the night before the main Book Fest event. Mason was recognized with a commemorative certificate and a cash prize of $500.
Contact: Kristie Lowry, (270) 745-4502.