Jenny O’Connell’s book project, Finding Petronella, traces her solo trek across Finland as she follows the footsteps of a female legend into the heart of the Arctic Circle. A 2019 Maine Literary Award Finalist, Jenny’s writing has appeared in Creative Nonfiction, SLICE Magazine, Camas, Stonecoast Review, Hippocampus, and the anthology Awake in the World, v. 2 (Riverfeet Press). Her essay, “Valley of the Bulls,” won the 2019 Appalachia Journal “Humor in the Wild” Essay Contest.
Jenny earned her MFA in Creative Writing from Stonecoast. A firm believer in the power of storytelling to connect people to themselves, others, and the world, she teaches writing to a diverse range of students at The Telling Room in Portland, Maine. Co-founder of the Stonecoast MFA Writing for Inclusivity and Social Equity (W.I.S.E.) Program, Jenny serves as the Special Projects Coordinator for Stonecoast and works on initiatives that elevate underrepresented voices in the literary community. In 2016, she edited the King Fellows Anthology, Not An Apology—a body of work by student activists exploring issues of race and identity in Portland, Maine.
Jenny has held artist residencies with the Ellis-Beauregard Foundation and Feathered Ink in Maine, and the Chulitna Lodge Research Institute in remote Alaska. An outdoor guide with ten years of experience, her writing carves out space for women in the wild, explores themes of risk-taking and transformation, and asks questions of the way we live and the way we die. When Jenny’s not writing, she can be found guiding wilderness and international expeditions in the U.S. and abroad.