charlotte watson sherman

Tod M. Kelly Photographs

Born Charlotte Denise Watson, in 1958 in Seattle (Washington), the eldest

of three children in a working class family. Displayed an early

interest in literature. Dreamed of being a writer since third grade when

Pippi Longstocking hijacked my imagination.

My mother believed it was dangerous for a daughter to always have her head

in a book -- which led to reading by flashlight beneath bedcovers, a

geeky, camouflaged appetite for studying the dictionary and keeping poems

secret until publishing my first at nineteen.

I studied Social Sciences at Seattle University and began law school

shortly after the birth of my first daughter. Once I realized I could

actually become a lawyer, I left the University of Puget Sound and never

looked back.

I worked as a pretrial screener, outreach coordinator, sexual abuse

counselor, emergency housing counselor, child welfare worker, mental

health screener, volunteer coordinator for a literacy program, research

interviewer, and finally, when my youngest daughter left for college, a

professional librarian.

It turns out, writing is the only thing I thought I was any good at, but it is definitely my calling.

Through an extraordinary blast of effort and good fortune, a collection of

short fiction, Killing Color, was published by Calyx Books (1992); then

shortly after, a novel, One Dark Body, by HarperCollins (1993); then an

anthology, Sisterfire: Black Womanist Fiction and Poetry (1994); another

novel, touch, (1995), and finally, a children's book, Eli and the Swamp

Man (1996).

I received the following awards, fellowships, grants:

Seattle Arts Commission Individual Artist Grant, 1989; King County Arts

Commission Fiction Publication Award, 1989; Artist Trust GAP Grant, 1989;

Seattle Artists 1991 Research and Development Grant; Great Lakes Colleges

Association Fiction Award, 1992; Black Womenís Gathering Women of

Achievement Award, 1992; Washington State Arts Commission Fiction

Fellowship, 1993; Brandeis University Womenís Committee Distinguished

Authorís Award, 1993; Governorís Writers Award, 1993; Seattle University

Award for Professional Achievement, 1994; Granta literary magazineís Best

of Young American Novelists, shortlist, 1995; Barbara Deming Memorial


My fiction and nonfiction have been published in Essence, Ms., Parenting,

American Visions, The Seattle Times, and Goodness Portland; as well as

anthologies such as When I Am An Old Woman I Shall Wear Purple, The

Bluelight Corner, Spooks, Spies, and Private Eyes, Edgewalking on the

Western Rim, and In Search of Color Everywhere.

I am currently revising a third novel, as well as a YA historical

fiction tale I hope will be published as an illustrated story.

My muse is history. The task of healing and reconciling the past, propels

the writing. My tools: word, image, ritual, dream, magic.