An associate professor in the University of Wyoming Creative Writing Program is one of ten people whose work is being considered for the National Book Award in fiction.

Brad Watson's newest novel, "Miss Jane," tells the story of a woman born in early 20th century Mississippi with a genital birth defect.

"Her 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," according to a UW news release.

Watson's work has previously received and been nominated for numerous awards.

"The Heaven of Mercury," Watson's first novel, received the Southern Book Critics Circle Award in Fiction and was a finalist for the 2002 National Book Award for Fiction.

One collection of Watson's short stories, entitled "Last Days of the Dog-Men," won the 1997 Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. "Aliens in the Prime of Their Lives," another collection of short stories, was a 2011 finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction.

Watson also won an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2013.

"Brad Watson goes a long way to explaining why our MFA program in creative writing draws 300 applications each year for nine positions -- and why creative writing is one of the largest undergraduate minors at UW," says UW Creative Writing Program Director Jeff Lockwood. "The opportunity for students to learn from a writer of this caliber is truly astounding."

Lockwood also calls Watson "a source of institutional pride and a phenomenal mentor of students."

Watson, a Mississippi native, became a UW faculty member in 2005. Before coming to Laramie, Watson taught at Harvard University, the University of Alabama, the University of Mississippi and the University of California-Irvine.

Watson has held fellowships through the National Endowment for the Arts, the Lannan Foundation and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.