Catherine Watson’s travel dreams took flight in grade school, when she and her best friend discovered Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan books. Her interest was sharpened by long road trips with her family and two student exchange programs – American Field Service to Germany in high school and the Minnesota SPAN Project to Lebanon in college.
Trained as a journalist, Catherine was a pioneer in voiced travel writing for American newspapers. She was the first travel editor at the Minneapolis Star Tribune and was its chief travel writer and photographer from 1978 to 2004. Now with Minnesota’s on-line newspaper, Minnpost, she continues to travel, write and take pictures – the only things she ever really wanted to do. She continues to accept freelance writing and photography assignments.
Catherine’s career has taken her around the around the world three times, to all seven continents and into 115 countries. Her work has won many awards, including the top two in the field: Lowell Thomas Travel Journalist of the Year and the Society of American Travel Writers Photographer of the Year.
Her writing appears in 16 anthologies, including “Best Women’s Travel Writing 2012,” “Best Travel Writing 2010’’ and “Best Women’s Travel Writing 2009” from Travelers’ Tales Books and “Best American Travel Writing 2008’’ from Houghton Mifflin Books.
Her own collections of travel essays, “Road Less Traveled – Dispatches from the Ends of the Earth’’ (Syren Book Company, 2005) and “Home on the Road – Further Dispatches from the Ends of the Earth ’’ (Syren, 2007), were finalists in the Minnesota Book Awards.
Catherine teaches intensive university-level workshops in travel writing and memoir in the U.S. and abroad. She has taught for the University of Minnesota (Split Rock Arts Program and LearningLife); Brown University in Pont-Aven, France; Hamline University in St. Paul; The Loft in Minneapolis; the Madeline Island School of the Arts on Madeline Island in Lake superior, and Ghost Ranch at Abiquiu, in the desert landscape of northern New Mexico.
An authority on the history of travel literature, Catherine also lectures on the genre’s masters, including Mark Twain, Ernest Hemingway, Robert Louis Stevenson and Richard Halliburton.
When not on the road, Catherine divides her time between a 1926 stucco cottage in Minneapolis and an 1869 frame house she restored in the historic village of Galena, Illinois. Her Galena house will be on the Galena Historical Society’s annual Tour of Homes Sept. 28-29, 2013.