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Ashley Blooms

2024 Kentucky Fellow for Literary Arts

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Recipient Information


Lexington, Kentucky



Year of Award


Grant or Fellowship

Southern Prize and State Fellowships

Grant Amount


Ashley Blooms (they/she) is the author of Where I Can’t Follow, which was a finalist for the Weatherford Award. Their debut novel, Every Bone a Prayer, was long-listed for the Crook’s Corner Book Prize. She’s a graduate of the Clarion Writer’s Workshop and received their MFA as a John and Renee Grisham Fellow from the University of Mississippi. Their fiction has appeared in The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror, Fantasy & Science Fiction, and Strange Horizons, among others.

Artist Statement

Appalachian Kentucky has always felt, to me, like a liminal space—ever on the verge of a spectacular uprising or spectacular collapse. It drifts somewhere between the two and its resistance to definition makes it a magical place. I have been trying to capture that feeling in my work for years by infusing an Appalachian setting with speculative elements.

My current novel continues this work. It is my first historical novel, set during the rise of Spiritualism in the 1850's. I want to examine the concept of hauntings, especially in the context of mainstream stories where hauntings are often seen as a threat to the sanctity of the nuclear family. Instead, I want a haunting that is seen as a necessary disruption of power structures, a powerful and queer rupture that allows the characters a brief window of opportunity where they might break with what they have always known. I aim to incorporate what I have learned in writing my first two novels along with what I strive to be better at—like the slow and precise reveal of information in Laini Taylor’s Strange the Dreamer, the tense and heartrending language of Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House, and the complex familial dynamics of Marilynne Robinson’s Housekeeping.