Jenny O’Connell’s 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, her award-winning nonfiction has appeared in Backcountry Magazine, Creative Nonfiction, SLICE, Appalachia Journal, Hippocampus, Camas, Stonecoast Review, and the anthology Awake in the World, v. 2 (Riverfeet Press). She is a regular contributor of outdoor features and profiles for Maine Magazine and Decor Maine.
Jenny earned her master’s degree in creative nonfiction from the Stonecoast MFA in Creative Writing program at the University of Southern Maine in 2017. She has held artist residencies at Hewnoaks, the KISMET Foundation, Monson Arts, the Norton Island Residency for Writers and Artists, the Ellis-Beauregard Foundation, Feathered Ink, and Chulitna Lodge Research Institute.
An outdoor guide for 13 years, Jenny’s writing carves out sharper space for women in the outdoors, explores themes of risk-taking and transformation, and asks questions of the way we live. She lives in Portland, Maine, where she teaches creative writing to youth and adults, works for Stonecoast MFA on initiatives that empower writers to create positive change through the literary arts, and guides wilderness expeditions in the eastern U.S. and abroad.
Jenny is represented by Jamie Chambliss and Steve Troha of Folio Literary.
Photo by Andy Gagne