Book Title: Miss Jane (W.W. Norton & Company)
Date & Time: Wednesday, April 18, 2018; 11:30 a.m.
Location: NB-2100/2101 (Student Center) Perimeter College’s Dunwoody Campus
About Miss Jane: Astonishing prose brings to life a forgotten woman and a lost world in a strange and bittersweet Southern pastoral. Based on the story of Brad Watson’s great-aunt, Miss Jane explores the life of Miss Jane Chisolm, the novel’s protagonist, born in rural, early-twentieth century Mississippi, with a genital birth defect that would stand in the way of the central “uses” for a woman in that time and place: sex and marriage. From the highly erotic world of nature around her to the hard tactile labor of farm life, from the country doctor who befriends her to the boy who loved but was forced to leave her, Miss Jane Chisolm and her world are anything but barren. In Miss Jane, Watson brings to life a hard, unromantic past that is tinged with the sadness of unattainable loves, yet shot through with a transcendent beauty. Jane Chisolm’s irrepressible vitality and generous spirit give her the strength to live her life as she pleases in spite of the limitations that others, and her own body, would place on her. Free to satisfy only herself, Miss Jane mesmerizes those around her, exerting an unearthly fascination that lives beyond her still.
About Brad Watson: Brad Watson was born in Meridian, Mississippi, and has lived there, as well as in Alabama, Boston, California, and most recently, Wyoming, where he teaches in The University of Wyoming’s creative writing program. He previously taught at The University of Alabama, Harvard University, The University of West Florida, Ole Miss, and The University of California-Irvine. Watson has received two awards from The American Academy of Arts and Letters, a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, and a fellowship from the Guggenheim Foundation. His four acclaimed works of fiction include Last Days of the Dog-Men, The Heaven of Mercury, Aliens in the Prime of Their Lives, and Miss Jane, which was longlisted for the 2016 National Book Award in Fiction. Watson lives with his wife, Nell Hanley, and their dogs and horses on the prairie south of Laramie, Wyoming. More information about Brad Watson can be found on his Website.
In Brad’s Own Words: Everything that’s in the novel developed over time. Everyone says first and even early drafts are awful, but the problem with mine, this time, was just how far off the mark they were, how far they fell short of realizing the character of Jane. I had to keep turning it on again, recycling my imagination, layering things in (even while I kept throwing a lot out). It was like a very slowly developing photographic world and person. I’d re-read a scene, a moment, and try, like a painter I suppose is the better analogy, to add just the thing that would make it richer, more real in my mind. She, Jane, was very hard for me to get at. A life and mind hard for me to imagine. And so it just required a lot of patience and tenacity, a willingness to start over more times than you’d like.
This reading is free and open to the public. Faculty members from the English and Humanities departments are strongly encouraged to bring their classes. For more information, contact Alicia Johanneson: firstname.lastname@example.org or 678.891.3275. To request disability accommodations at this event, please contact University Events Management at email@example.com or 404.413.1377 with your request. Please provide your name and the event’s name, date, and sponsor when making your request.
The Chattahoochee Review Guest Author Series connects the strong, vibrant, and diverse literary community The Chattahoochee Review has built over the course of its 37-year history to Perimeter College students with the intent that these students will have a greater opportunity to engage with real-world writers who can better shape their writing and understanding of literature in all of its forms.