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Published January 03, 2019
Brad Watson’s “Miss Jane” already is an award-winning novel in English, but it recently earned another accolade for the French translation as well.
A professor and director of the University of Wyoming’s Creative Writing Program, Watson has seen his 2016 publication translated into French, Dutch and Turkish, with Chinese and Indian translations in progress. Last month, the French version of his work won the 2018 Prix Millepages. The award is given by the booksellers of the well-known bookstore Mille Pages, located in Vincennes, France, a suburb of Paris. The book also was a finalist for the more prestigious French prize, Prix Medicis.
“Miss Jane” was inspired by the story of Watson’s own great-aunt and explores the life of Miss Jane Chisolm, born with a genital birth defect in rural, early 20th century Mississippi. Her irrepressible vitality and generous spirit give her the strength to live her life as she pleased in spite of the limitations that others, and her own body, would place on her.
The book, originally published by W.W. Norton in New York, has received critical acclaim and was among 10 nominees for the prestigious National Book Award for Fiction in 2016.
Originally from Mississippi, Watson joined the UW faculty in 2005. He previously taught at the University of Alabama, Harvard University, the University of California-Irvine and the University of Mississippi. He has held fellowships through the National Endowment for the Arts, the Lannan Foundation and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.
Watson’s first novel, “The Heaven of Mercury,” was a finalist for the 2002 National Book Award for Fiction and received the Southern Book Critics Circle Award in Fiction. He has written two collections of short stories: “Last Days of the Dog-Men,” which received the Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1997, and “Aliens in the Prime of Their Lives,” which was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction in 2011. Additionally, he won an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2013.