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. Her poems are taught, anthologized, and featured in numerous places including Harper’s, The New Republic, The Kenyon Review, The Yale Review, Plume, Poetry Daily and American Poetry: The Next Generation (to name a few). Her poem “Moths,” originally published in Poetry Magazine as well as in her book White, has been widely reprinted and featured on The Writer’s Almanac with Garrison Keillor and BBC Radio 4’s 2019 poetry broadcast “Four Season: Summer,” read by Juliet Stevenson. “Moths” was also set to music by composer Robert Paterson for performance by American Modern Ensemble. Jennifer’s other honors include a Billee Murray Denny Award, a W. K. Rose Fellowship and Pushcart Prize nominations.
Jennifer’s plays have been produced and presented by theaters around the U.S. as well as the UK and Dublin, Ireland. Her full-length plays include Charlotte’s Letters (2017 Henley Rose Award; NEWvember Festival Dublin; Semifinalist: O’Neill Center Conference; BETC’s Generations Award and other honors); Paranormal Love (MTWorks NewBorn Festival; Finalist: NEWvember Festival); Ellery (selected for The Best Women’s Stage Monologues 2017); Juggling with Mr. Fields (Kilroys List nominee) and other works. Her short plays include Persephone (Heartland Theatre’s 2018 10-Minute Play Festival and Lowell Arts Center’s 2019 Playbytes by Playwrights); Listening (Weathervane Playhouse’s 2019 8×10 TheatreFest and an Audience Choice Winner); Pre-War (Stage It’s 2019 Ten-Minute Play Festival); Only Human (The Factory Theatre at Greenville University’s 2019 New Plays Festival); The Mysterious Affair at the Christies (Rover Dramawerks and Saw It Here First Productions, UK) and many others. Her work has also been produced or developed by the Irish Repertory Theatre, The Bechdel Group, Monster Box Theatre, White Mouse Theatre Productions at FSU, 13th Street Repertory Theatre, 29th Street Playwrights Collective, Gi60 (U.S. and UK Editions), Twilight Theatre Productions and other companies. Her three-minute version of “New Kitten” won ICWP’s 3-Minute Play Contest in 2019. Jennifer’s plays are also published or forthcoming in 30 New Ten-Minute Plays (Applause Theatre & Cinema Books, 2019), Stage It 3: Twenty Ten-Minute Plays (2019) The Best Ten-Minute Plays 2017 and 2016, The Best Women’s Stage Monologues 2017 and 2014 (Smith and Kraus), Best Contemporary Monologues for Women 18-35 (Applause) and Feels Blind Literary. She is a recent playwriting alum of AWP’s Writer2Writer Program.
Jennifer has worked in publishing and directed nonprofit literary programs for both the YMCA National Writer’s Voice and The Academy of American Poets in New York. She currently lives near New York City with her husband, son, and daughter, two dogs, two cats, and a rabbit.