Jessica Lewis Watson is an author, photographer and lecturer whose scholarly book of Literary Criticism, Bastardy as a Gifted Status in Chaucer and Malory, has been enjoyed by Medievalists around the world. Watson is also the author of the book, Illegitimacy Empowered, published in the Women in History Series from Ide House.
In addition to her books, Watson has published articles and photographs in such popular magazines as, Writer's Digest, Log Home Living, Backpacker, Diversion, Mushing Magazine, Good Dog!, Health Foods Business, Guideposts, and many more.
Besides her written journalism, Watson's photographs have appeared in magazines and fine art exhibitions locally and nationally. While Watson is indeed an interdisciplinary artist and scholar (holding a BA with Distinction in English from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; an MA in English Literature from Baylor University; an attestation in Danse Moderne from the Centre de Danse du Marais in Paris; and a diplome in American Language and Literature from the University of Liege, Belgium). Watson, nevertheless, is currently specializing in writing two separate books on the subjects of synchronicity and mental illness respectively.
Watson is also much in demand as a public speaker on mental illnesses. Her talents in public presentation were honed during her years of teaching, first at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and then on the English Faculty at Baylor University. Watson has also lectured for Champaign County at the Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) Police Officers' training sessions; at Parkland College nursing courses specializing in treatment of mental illnesses; at various philanthropic organizations; and at conferences.
A self-taught photographer, Watson began publishing her photos while illustrating her magazine articles. She has blossomed into an artist who shows and publishes her photography widely. Galleries that have hosted her exhibitions include Indigo, The Institute 4 Creativity, and Springer Cultural Center. Watson displays her work choosing beautiful and happy subjects to light up the world, and to bring forth joy in viewers. Some of her photography subject matters are still life, landscapes, gardens, dogs, and other animals.
With all of her activities in writing, photography and lecturing, Watson enjoys promoting her agenda of advocating for people with mental illnesses. Having previously worked full time in public relations and marketing for the performing arts, Watson is able to use her knowledge, skills, and recognition to promote understanding and anti-stigma for people with mental illnesses.
Due to her prolific nature, Watson continues to receive grants and awards for her activities from organizations such as The Champaign County Chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (Illinois), The Texas Commission on the Arts, The Austin Writers' League (Texas), The Aspen Writers' Foundation (Colorado), and many more.
ARTICLES, INTERVIEWS, & VIDEOS
WCIA-TV live interview. CBS Affiliate for Champaign, Illinois.
5 minute personal interview by Jillian Deam about my art showing at the Disabilities Expo. Aired live on “Morning News.” October 9, 2013.
The Buzz. Urbana/Champaign, Illinois.
“Local Poet Jessica Watson.” Interview by Katie Gamble. April 25, 2013.
Inside Illinois. University of Illinois. Faculty & Staff Newspaper.
“On the Job: Jessica Lewis Watson.” Profile and interview by Sherita Forrest. May 1, 2003. (online version: www.news.illinois.edu/ii/03/0501/otj.html)
Waco Tribune Harold. Sunday Edition Feature. Brazos Living, Texas.
“Fighting the Stigma.” Article and interview about my book, Illegitimacy Empowered. By Mia B. Moody. April 24, 1994.
The Lariat. Baylor University. Waco, Texas.
“Graduate Student's Book on Illegitimacy Published.” Article and photo of me reviewing book signing event. By Nicole Reynolds. April 21, 1994.
The Lariat. Baylor University. Waco, Texas.
“Student Writes about Illegitimate Children.” Article reviewing Illegitimacy Empowered. By Kristen Malacarne. April 1994.
The Highland Herald. McLennan Community College. Waco, Texas.
“Baylor Book Signing.” Article and photo of me reviewing book signing event. By Elisha Niemeyer. April 1994.
KWTX-TV live interview. CBS Affiliate for Central Texas.
5 minute personal interview by Joe Caleo about my book, Illegitimacy Empowered. Aired on “Morning News.” April 19, 1994.
KWTX-TV segment. CBS Affiliate for Central Texas.
“A Day in the Life of a Freelance Writer.” Profile of Jessica Lewis Watson by James Napir. Aired on “Live at Five.” April 7, 1992.
Edwin Mellen Press. Lewiston, New York.
Bastardy as a Gifted Status in Chaucer and Malory. 1996. Vol. 14 in Mediaeval Literature Series.
Ide House Publishers. Las Colinas, Texas.
Illegitimacy Empowered. 1994. Vol. 76 in Woman in History Series.