Jennifer O’Grady is an award-winning playwright and poet. Born to an Irish father and Italian-American mother, she grew up in New York City and earned a BA from Vassar, where she won awards for her writing, and an MFA from Columbia University.
As a poet, she is the author of White, winner of the Mid-List First Series Award for Poetry and a Greenwall Award from The Academy of American Poets, and Exclusions & Limitations, published in 2018 by Plume Editions/MadHat Press. Jennifer’s poems are taught, anthologized, and featured in numerous prominent places including Harper’s Magazine, The New Republic, The Writer’s Almanac, The Kenyon Review, Poetry Daily, The Yale Review, Plume and American Poetry: The Next Generation (to name a few). Her poem “Moths,” originally published in Poetry Magazine and included in White, has been widely reprinted and was recently featured in BBC Radio 4’s 2019 poetry broadcast “Four Season: Summer” (read by Juliet Stevenson). “Moths” was also set to music by composer Robert Paterson and premiered with American Modern Ensemble at New York’s Tully Hall. Jennifer’s other poetry honors include a Billee Murray Denny Award, a W. K. Rose Fellowship, and Pushcart Prize nominations.
Jennifer’s plays have been staged by theaters around the US as well as the UK and in Dublin, Ireland. Full-length plays include Charlotte’s Letters (Winner: Henley Rose Award; NEWvember Festival Dublin; Semifinalist: O’Neill Playwrights Conference and other honors); Paranormal Love (Winner: MTWorks NewBorn Festival; NEWvember Finalist; Pandora’s Box Honorable Mention); Ellery (selected for The Best Women’s Stage Monologues 2017); Juggling with Mr. Fields (Kilroys List nominee) and other plays. Jennifer’s short plays include Persephone (winner of Heartland Theatre’s, Lowell Arts’, and The Hive Collaborative’s ten-minute play competitions and selected for The Best New Ten-Minute Plays 2019); Listening (Audience-Choice Winner in Weathervane Playhouse’s 2019 8×10 TheatreFest); Pre-War (winner of Stage It’s 2019 Ten-Minute Play Festival competition and published in Stage It 3: Twenty Ten-Minute Plays); Only Human (selected by The Factory Theatre at Greenville University for its 2019 New Plays Festival); The Mysterious Affair at the Christies (Rover Dramawerks and forthcoming by Saw It Here First Productions, UK), First Day in Trade (published in The Best Ten-Minute Plays 2017), The Great Gaffe (published in The Best Ten-Minute Plays 2016) and many others. Her work has also been presented by the Irish Repertory Theatre, The Bechdel Group, Monster Box Theatre, White Mouse Theatre Productions, Primal Theatre UK, 13th Street Repertory Theatre, Gi60 (both the US and UK Editions in 2019) and other theater companies. Jennifer’s three-minute play “New Kitten” is a winner of ICWP’s 2019 3-Minute Play Contest. Her work is alsp published in The Best Women’s Stage Monologues 2014 (Smith and Kraus), Best Contemporary Monologues for Women 18-35 (Applause) and Feels Blind Literary. Jennifer is a member of ICWP and the Dramatists Guild, and is recent playwriting alum of AWP’s Writer2Writer Program.
Jennifer has worked in publishing and directed nonprofit literary programs for The National Writer’s Voice and The Academy of American Poets. She lives just outside New York City with her husband, son, and daughter, two dogs, two cats, and a rabbit.