Photo by Deborah Lowery

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’s School of the Arts.

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 places, including Harper’s, The New Republic, Poetry Daily, The Kenyon Review, The Yale Review, Plume and American Poetry: The Next Generation (to name a few). Her poem “Moths,” originally published in Poetry and included in White, has been widely reprinted and featured on The Writer’s Almanac with Garrison Keillor and in BBC Radio 4’s 2019 poetry broadcast “Four Season: Summer” (read by Juliet Stevenson). “Moths” has also been 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 produced and developed around the US and the UK as well as in Dublin, Ireland. Her full-length plays include Charlotte’s Letters (Henley Rose Award Winner; NEWvember Festival Dublin Winner; Semifinalist: O’Neill Playwrights Conference and other honors); Paranormal Love (MTWorks NewBorn Festival Winner; NEWvember Finalist; Pandora’s Box runner-up); Ellery (selected for The Best Women’s Stage Monologues 2017 and a Bechdel Group selection); and Juggling with Mr. Fields (Kilroys List nominee). Jennifer’s short plays include Persephone (selected for The Best New Ten-Minute Plays 2019); Listening (a 2019 Audience-Choice Winner at Weathervane Playhouse); Pre-War (published in Stage It 3: Twenty Ten-Minute Plays); Only Human (with readings and productions at multiple theaters around the US); First Day in Trade (selected for The Best Ten-Minute Plays 2017), The Great Gaffe (selected The Best Ten-Minute Plays 2016) and many others. Her plays have also been staged by Monster Box Theatre, White Mouse Theatre Productions, Primal Theatre UK, 13th Street Rep, Gi60 (both the US and UK Editions), The Factory Theatre at Greenville University, The PlayGround Experiment, and off-Broadway by the Irish Repertory Theatre, among many other theaters. Her three-minute play “New Kitten” is a winner of ICWP’s 3-Minute Play Contest. Jennifer’s work is also published in The Best Women’s Stage Monologues 2014 (Smith and Kraus), Best Contemporary Monologues for Women 18-35  (Applause), and Feels Blind Literary. She is a member of ICWP, the Dramatists Guild, and Honor Roll, and a recent Playwriting Mentee in 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 near New York City with her husband, son, and daughter, two dogs, two cats, and a rabbit.

Read about Jennifer at The Poetry Foundation
Find Jennifer on the New Play Exchange
Find Jennifer at 365 Women a Year: A Playwriting Project