Brad Watson biography

Author Biography  | Interview  | Books by this Author  | Readalikes

Brad Watson
Photo: Neil Hanley

Brad Watson

Brad Watson Biography

Brad Watson was an award-winning author and director of the University of Wyoming's creative writing program. He published four books, including his 2010 short story collection, Aliens in the Prime of Their Lives, which was nominated for a PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction; The Heaven of Mercury (2002), a National Book Award finalist; Last Days of the Dog-Men: Stories (1996), which won the Academy of Arts and Letters award for first fiction; and Miss Jane: A Novel (2016), longlisted for the National Book Award. He died in July 2020 aged 64.



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Interview

Brad Watson discusses his novel Miss Jane and the woman who inspired it, his great-aunt who suffered from the same birth defect as his character.

Miss Jane is based on your great-aunt who suffered from the same genital birth defect as your main character. What was your great-aunt's condition?

As was common in her day (she actually lived from 1888–1975, but it applies to my Jane's day and time, too), no one really talked about it. And so no one alive by the time I came into the world really knew "what was wrong with Aunt Jane." Her name wasn't really Jane, by the way. She was Mary Ellis Clay, and my mother didn't even know how she came to be called Jane. "Jane" is not on her gravestone. In any case, one of the more difficult parts of my research was figuring out what her condition may have been. I had little to go on: her known incontinence, and a late discovery that she had only one opening for the elimination of waste, which led me down a long path of crossing out this and that possibility. Based on those two facts, and some things I learned doing research, and the fact that she lived a long and apparently otherwise healthy life, I finally decided she probably had something called "persistent cloaca," a rare condition that occurs only in females and only in about 1 in 20,000–25,000 births. To simplify, there are no external genitalia, and ...

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Books by this Author

Books by Brad Watson at BookBrowse
Miss Jane jacket Aliens in the Prime of Their Lives jacket
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Readalikes

All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Brad Watson but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
How we choose readalikes

  • Rabih Alameddine

    Rabih Alameddine

    Rabih Alameddine is the author of the novels An Unnecessary Woman; I, the Divine; Koolaids; The Hakawati; The Wrong End of the Telescope; and the story collection, The Perv. In 2019, he won the Dos Passos Prize. (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Miss Jane

    Try:
    An Unnecessary Woman
    by Rabih Alameddine

  • Laurel D. Huber

    Laurel D. Huber

    Laurel Davis Huber was born in Milton, Massachusetts, and grew up in Rhode Island and Oklahoma. She is a graduate of Smith College. She has worked as a corporate newsletter editor, communications director for a botanical ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Miss Jane

    Try:
    The Velveteen Daughter
    by Laurel D. Huber

We recommend 7 similar authors

View all 7 Readalikes

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