Jenna Butler was born in Norwich, England in 1980, but has spent most of her life on the prairies of Western Canada. The varied landscapes and histories of the prairies — their intense harshness and incredible richness — feature prominently in her poetry, fiction, and essays. Her work has garnered a number of awards, including a Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Emerging Artist Award, two Canadian Authors Association Exporting Alberta Awards, the James Patrick Folinsbee Prize, and a gold medal for Green Living in the Living Now Book Awards. Beyond Canada, Butler’s writing has been shortlisted for both the Bridport and the International Salt Prizes (UK), in addition to the High Plains Book Awards (USA). Her work has appeared in literary journals, magazines, and anthologies around the world, and she is the author of Aphelion (NeWest Press, 2010), Wells (University of Alberta Press, 2012), Seldom Seen Road (NeWest Press, 2013), and the collection of essays A Profession of Hope: Farming on the Edge of the Grizzly Trail (Wolsak and Wynn, 2015). See the Books section for details.
Butler is a professional member of the League of Canadian Poets, the Canadian Authors Association, the Writers Union of Canada, the Writers Guild of Alberta, and the Association for Literature, Environment, and Culture in Canada. She is a former National Council member and the League’s first Online Poet in Residence, and spent 2013/14 as the Canadian Authors Association Alberta Branch Writer in Residence.
With deep roots in the Alberta literary community, Butler is a founding board member and former Poetry in the Schools coordinator for the Edmonton Poetry Festival, and volunteers on the editorial committee for Edmonton’s Olive Reading Series. She ran Alberta-based Rubicon Press from 2004 to 2017, and in 2011, joined the Board of Directors of NeWest Press and now serves on its Executive. She is a series editor for NeWest Press’s new poetry imprint, CrowSaid Poetry, named in honour of prairie writer Robert Kroetsch.
Butler holds Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Education degrees (distinction) from the University of Alberta, in addition to a Master’s degree in Creative Writing: Poetry (distinction) and a PhD in Creative and Critical Writing from the University of East Anglia (UK).
Jenna Butler makes her home in Alberta, Canada, where she is a professor of creative writing and environmental writing at Red Deer College and runs a small off-grid organic farm/apiary in the northern part of the province with her husband. As a writer, teacher, and academic, Butler’s travels have taken her around the world, from the Deep South of the United States to the Norwegian Arctic Circle, exploring international concerns connecting art and environment.
Jenna enjoys working with writers and instructors of all levels, and is available for speaking and teaching engagements in Canada and abroad, in addition to manuscript consultations. Please visit the Speaking & Workshops section of the site.