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See Photos from Dr. Mason's Centenary Visit

Novelist Bobbie Ann Mason to Receive Corrington Award Nov. 2 at Centenary College

Bobbie Ann Mason, 2005 Corrington Award Recipient

SHREVEPORT, LA— Bobbie Ann Mason, whose most recent novel, An Atomic Romance, was published by Random House in August, will receive the 16th annual John William Corrington Award for Literary Excellence at Centenary College on Wednesday, Nov. 2. The ceremony, which will include a reading by the author, will take place at 7 p.m. in the Smith Building's Kilpatrick Auditorium on the Centenary campus. Hosted by Centenary’s English Department, the event is free and open to the public.

A native of rural Kentucky, Mason made her mark on contemporary fiction with Shiloh and Other Stories (1982), which received the PEN/Hemingway Award in 1983. As a novelist, she is best known for In Country (1985), a coming-of-age narrative about a 17-year-old girl whose father was killed in Vietnam before she was born. The New York Times Book Review called In Country "an exceptional achievement, at once humane, comic and moving." The 1989 film version of In Country was directed by Norman Jewison and starred Bruce Willis as the girl's uncle, himself an ailing Vietnam veteran with whom she travels from their home in rural Kentucky to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Altogether, Mason is the author of four novels, four collections of short stories—many of the stories appeared first in such national magazines as The New Yorker and The Atlantic—a literary memoir, a brief biography of Elvis Presley, a scholarly guide to Vladimir Nabokov's novel Ada, based on her doctoral dissertation, and a feminist study of such heroines of adolescent literature as Nancy Drew and the Bobbsey Twins.

Mason's work, according to Emma Cobb in Contemporary Southern Writers, "is important as a chronicle of the changing physical landscape of the contemporary South. Brand names and popular culture references infiltrate her characters' vocabularies as strip-malling, chain-store spreading, and convenience-promising change sweeps into previously isolated regions. Characters try to make their way amid the changes...often unsure of how to proceed and struggling to articulate their feelings."

Mason was educated at the University of Kentucky, the State University of New York at Binghamton, and the University of Connecticut, where she earned a doctorate in English. She is the recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship, a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and two Southern Book Awards.

Named for the Centenary alumnus and author of the short novel Decoration Day, the John William Corrington Award takes the form of a bronze medal designed by the internationally acclaimed Louisiana sculptor Clyde Connell. Previous recipients include poets as well as novelists: Eudora Welty, Ernest J. Gaines, James Dickey, Miller Williams, Lee Smith, Paul Auster, Elizabeth Spencer, Anthony Hecht, Richard Wilbur, Eleanor Wilner, Richard Powers, C. K. Williams, Eavan Boland, Michael Longley and last year's co-recipients Debora Greger and William Logan.

For more information, contact Professor of English David Havird at 318-869-5085.

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