Larry Watson was born in 1947 in Rugby, North Dakota. He grew up in Bismarck, North Dakota, and received his BA and MA from the University of North Dakota and his Ph.D. from the University of Utah. Watson has received grants and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Wisconsin Arts Board.
He is the author of Montana 1948, White Crosses, Orchard, American Boy, Let Him Go, and other novels, as well as the fiction collection Justice, and the chapbook of poetry Leaving Dakota. Watson’s fiction has been published in more than a dozen foreign editions, and has received prizes and awards from Milkweed Press, Friends of American Writers, Mountain and Plains Booksellers Association, New York Public Library, Wisconsin Library Association, and Critics’ Choice. Montana 1948 was nominated for the first IMPAC Dublin international literary prize, and Let Him Go was nominated for the same prize in 2014.
His short fiction and poetry have been published in Gettysburg Review, New England Review, North American Review, Mississippi Review, and other literary magazines. His essays and book reviews have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Sun-Times, the Washington Post, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, and other periodicals. His work has also been anthologized in Essays for Contemporary Culture, Imagining Home, Off the Beaten Path, Baseball and the Game of Life, The Most Wonderful Books, These United States, and Writing America.
Watson taught writing and literature at the University of Wisconsin/Stevens Point for twenty-five years and presently teaches at Marquette University. He has also taught at Warren Wilson College and Colorado College. He has been a featured writer at conferences in Colorado, Illinois, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Texas, Vermont, Wisconsin, and in St. Malo and Caen, France. Watson has given readings and presentations at many libraries, colleges and universities, and has also served as a judge and panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts. Ripon College awarded him an honorary doctor of letters, and the High Plains Literary Festival, the Wisconsin Library Association, and the Mountains Plains Library Association have given him lifetime awards for his body of work. Watson’s novel, Montana 1948, has been selected for more than thirty community reads programs, and it’s taught in high schools and colleges throughout the United States, Great Britain, Australia, and New Zealand.
He and his wife Susan live in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. They have two daughters and two grandchildren.