Jenny O’Connell’s debut book project, Finding Petronella, traces her 2014 solo trek across Finland following the footsteps of a female legend beyond the Arctic Circle. A 2019 Maine Literary Award finalist and Pushcart Prize nominee, Jenny’s writing has appeared in or is forthcoming from Backcountry Magazine, Creative Nonfiction, SLICE Magazine, Flyway Journal of Writing & Environment, Appalachia Journal, Hippocampus, Camas, Stonecoast Review, and the anthology Awake in the World, v. 2 (Riverfeet Press). She writes outdoor features for Maine Magazine, and is a regular contributor at Decor Maine. “The Sky Where You Are,” Jenny’s debut libretto commissioned by An Opera Theatre of Minneapolis (MN), shines a light on advocacy and domestic violence during quarantine. She earned her MFA in Creative Writing from Stonecoast, and has held artist residencies with the KISMET Foundation, Monson Arts, the Norton Island Residency for Writers & Artists, the Ellis-Beauregard Foundation, and Feathered Ink in Maine, and Chulitna Lodge Research Institute in remote Alaska.
An outdoor guide with twelve years of experience, Jenny’s writing carves out space for women in the outdoors, explores themes of risk-taking and transformation, and asks questions of the way we live. She cares deeply about representation in outdoor media, and is always looking for good stories about women, BIPOC, and LGBTQ+ adventurers and challenge-seekers. Jenny 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.