While holding down a series of jobs ranging from journalist to Harvard professor -- with a stint as a garbage collector along the way -- Brad Watson first marked his territory in the literary world with the short story collection, Last Days of the Dog-Men. Watson’s South-steeped first novel, the 2002 National Book Award-nominated The Heaven of Mercury is sure to secure this Mississippi native’s future as a full-time author.
Read the interview
Place of Birth:
Meridian Junior College; B.A., Mississippi State University, 1978; M.F.A., University of Alabama, 1985
Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and Great Lakes Colleges Association New Writers Award for Last Days of the Dog-Men
|2002 National Book Award Finalist|
|The Heaven of Mercury|
A honey-dipped tale about how an unrequited love affair affects the citizens of the backwoods town of Mercury, Mississippi, Watson's first full-length novel showcases his trademark Southern Gothic style. Father and Son author Larry Brown called it “a sublime delight for the lucky readers who get their hands on it. A novel so fine you don't want it to ever end."
|Before going on to prestigious teaching jobs at the University of Alabama and Harvard, Watson took a brief detour to work as a setbuilder (with acting aspirations, of course) in Hollywood -- fresh from Meridian, Mississippi -- when he was just seventeen. As he recounted to Identity Theory magazine, “As soon as I got out there the guy said, ‘Well, the studio has just gone on strike. Nobody's working.’ And they told me to go home. I didn't want to go home, just yet. I ended up staying out there about nine months and working as a garbage man in Hollywood, driving a truck.”|
|Top-Dog Debut||Watson's Inspirations|
|Last Days of the Dog-Men: Stories|
Watson's first collection of short stories featured tales told from the perspective of Man's Best Friend. Said Tom DeHaven in The New York Times Book Review, "Mr. Watson's work manages to avoid the showboating and fey self-esteem that infect so much contemporary short fiction. His men, women and dogs -- those wonderful dogs! -- are superbly imagined."
|Collected Stories of William Faulkner|
It was in an Honors English class at Meridian Junior College that Watson first got inspired to put pen to paper. While he mentioned the works of Eudora Welty and Flannery O'Connor as major inspirations in an interview with Barnes & Noble.com, he named Robert Penn Warren's All the King's Men as a standout. Said Watson, "Its combination of beautiful sentences and great storytelling first stirred in me a desire to be a writer myself."
|Photo by Rickey Yanaura||