University of Wyoming Associate Professor Brad Watson is among six finalists for a $50,000 literary prize from St. Francis College in Brooklyn Heights, N.Y. The winner will be announced Sept. 17.
Watson's collection, "Aliens in the Prime of Their Lives," is 12 stories of family strife, personal loss, physical trauma and emotional reckoning. Watson, who teaches in the UW Department of English and the MFA in Creative Writing Program, was selected from among 116 entries.
The six writers, competing for one of the richest awards in North America, are a diverse mix of authors, coming from across the United States and around the world.
The other writers and their nominated books are: Kevin Brockmeier, "The Illumination" (Pantheon); Joshua Cohen, "Witz" (Dalkey Archive Press); Jonathan Dee, "The Privileges" (Random House); Yiyun Li, "Gold Boy Emerald Girl" (Random House); and Marlene van Niekerk, "Agaat" (Tin House Books).
The prize-winning author will be announced at the opening night gala for the 2011 Brooklyn Book Festival.
Last spring, Watson was a finalist for the prestigious 2011 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, America's largest peer juried prize for fiction. The Boston Globe named "Aliens in the Prime of Their Lives" among the year's best fiction books.
Also during the spring semester, Watson was among 180 recipients of a prestigious fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. Guggenheim Fellowships are grants for a minimum of six months and a maximum of 12. The program provides recipients with blocks of time in which they can work with as much creative freedom as possible.