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 places including Harper’s, The New Republic, The Writer’s Almanac, 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 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 around the US as well as in the UK and Dublin, Ireland. Full-length plays include Charlotte’s Letters (Henley Rose Award; NEWvember Festival Dublin; Semifinalist: O’Neill Conference and other honors); Paranormal Love (MTWorks NewBorn Festival; NEWvember Finalist; Pandora’s Box runner-up); Ellery (selected for The Best Women’s Stage Monologues 2017); Juggling with Mr. Fields (Kilroys List nominee) and others. Jennifer’s short plays include Persephone (selected for The Best New Ten-Minute Plays 2019); Listening (Audience-Choice Winner at Weathervane Playhouse’s 2019 8×10 TheatreFest); Pre-War (published Stage It 3: Twenty Ten-Minute Plays); Only Human (with readings at multiple theaters around the U.S.); 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 plays have also been produced or developed by the Irish Repertory Theatre, The Bechdel Group, 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 and other companies. 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 (2019). She is a member of ICWP, the Dramatists Guild, and Honor Roll, and is a former 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 just outside New York City with her husband, son, and daughter, two dogs, two cats, and a rabbit.