Friday, July 10, 2009


Brad Watson, born to Robert Earl Watson and Bonnie Clay Watson in Meridian, Mississippi, on July 24, 1955, published his first work, a collection of short stories called Last Days of the Dog-Men, and won a Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

However, Watson did not start out to becomes a writer. He was a high-school student/actor who married the summer of his junior year in high school. At seventeen, after graduating from high school, Brad Watson left Mississippi with the hope of making a name for himself in Hollywood. His stay in Hollywood, however, was not long because there was a strike. After finding work only as a garbage man (which was a job he loved because of the solitude it provided him), Watson came home to Meridian where he got a job as a carpenter.

Finally, after some persuasion from his family, Watson enrolled at Meridian Junior College, a turning point in Watson's life. Because he scored high on the entrance English exam, he was placed in an Honors English class. Although Watson had no previous interest in writing, this class turned him on.

Watson decided to further his education at Mississippi State University in 1976 by majoring in English. During Watson's first summer at Mississippi State, he wrote his first short story. In 1978, after graduating from Mississippi State with a bachelor's degree in English, Watson enrolled at the University of Alabama where he pursued a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and American Literature. He then moved to the Alabama gulf coast to work as a newspaper reporter for a couple of years. He also worked as an editor at the Montgomery Advertiser and spent a year in an ad agency before returning to Tuscaloosa to teach in 1988. He moved there with his wife and three-year-old son and taught creative writing at the University of Alabama.

Before he completed Last Days of the Dog-Men: Stories by Brad Watson in 1996, Watson had also worked in the University of Alabama public relations office for four years. Watson says the inspiration for writing stories about dogs and people came from his childhood. He said everyone he knew had a dog and he related the dog’s personality with the owners.

Returning to full time teaching, Watson moved to Harvard in 1997 to teach. He taught there until his second book, a novel called Heaven of Mercury, was published in 2002. Originally, the book was to be called Obituary of Helen Browning Wells. Following the publication of his novel, he took visiting writer-in-residence positions at the University of West Florida, the University of Alabama, Ole Miss (as Grisham Writer-in-Residence), and the University of California, Irvine. In 2005 Brad Watson began teaching at the University of Wyoming in the MFA program where he continues to teach in 2009.

A new book, a novella and stories titled Aliens in the Prime of Their Lives, will be published by W.W. Norton (also the publishers of his first two books) in March 2010. These stories have been published in The Oxford American, The Yalobusha Review, Greensboro Review, Idaho Review, The New Yorker, and elsewhere.

via Mississippi Writers and Musicians

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