Jenny O’Connell’s writing explores themes of risk-taking and transformation, carves out sharper space for women in the outdoors, centers joy, and reimagines the way we connect with ourselves, each other, and the planet. Her debut book project, Finding Petronella, traces her 2014 solo trek across Finland following the footsteps of a legendary woman beyond the Arctic Circle.
A 2019 Maine Literary Award finalist and Pushcart Prize nominee, Jenny’s award-winning nonfiction has appeared in Backcountry, Creative Nonfiction, SLICE, Appalachia Journal, Hippocampus, Camas, Stonecoast Review, and the anthology Awake in the World, v. 2 (Riverfeet Press). She’s a regular contributor of outdoor features and creative profiles for Maine Magazine and Decor Maine. Jenny has held artist residencies at Hewnoaks, the KISMET Foundation, Monson Arts, Norton Island Residency for Writers and Artists, the Ellis-Beauregard Foundation, Feathered Ink, and Chulitna Lodge Research Institute.
Jenny’s 14 years as an outdoor guide have brought her all over the globe leading backpacking, sea kayaking, cultural exchange, winter adventure, and river expeditions from the Peruvian Andes to the wild waters of her home state of Maine. She is the Visiting Professor of Creative Writing at Seguinland Institute, where she facilitates university level creative writing intensives based around craft, climate change, and connection to the outdoors. She teaches craft seminars and creative writing courses at Stonecoast MFA, Maine Media Workshops, The Telling Room, and elsewhere; and guides creative writing-focused outdoor expeditions in collaboration with Hurricane Island Outward Bound and Adventures in Good Company. She never leaves home without a trusty pair of adventure pants and a waterproof ukulele.
Jenny is represented by Jamie Chambliss and Steve Troha of Folio Literary. She lives in Portland.