Born in Lancashire, England, Jowett took his BA and MA at Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and was awarded a PhD from Liverpool University. His doctoral thesis was an edition of Henry Chettle’s Tragedy of Hoffman (1983). He went to the Oxford University Press as an academic editor of the Oxford edition of Shakespeare's Complete Works (1986–87). He was lecturer at the University of Waikato in Hamilton, New Zealand, and taught for a year at Glasgow University. He was appointed to the Shakespeare Institute in 1993. He is the general editor of the New Oxford Shakespeare and general editor of Arden Early Modern Drama, a series that publishes non-Shakespearean drama of the early modern period; and serves on the editorial board of the Malone Society and the advisory board of Internet Shakespeare Editions.
- Chettle, Henry. The Tragedy of Hoffman (1983) University of Liverpool.
- William Shakespeare, Complete Works (1986, rev. 2005) ed. with Wells, Taylor, and Montgomery, Oxford University Press.
- William Shakespeare: A Textual Companion (1987) With Wells, Taylor, and Montgomery, Oxford University Press.
- Shakespeare, William. Richard III (2000) Oxford University Press.
- Shakespeare, William, and Thomas Middleton. Timon of Athens (2004) Oxford University Press.
- "Arden Early Modern Drama". Bloomsbury Publishing. n.d. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
- "Editorial Board: Biographies". Internet Shakespeare Editions. 2 October 2017. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
- Jowett, John (n.d.). "Professor John Jowett". University of Birmingham. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
- "About the Editorial Team". Oxford Presents. n.d. Retrieved 5 January 2018.