Jeannine Ouellette is an award-winning essayist, author, editor, and teacher with an MFA in fiction from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She created Elephant Rock, named for a childhood memory of place, to combine the great loves of her life, writing and teaching, with the transformative power of yoga and nature. Jeannine's writing has appeared in a wide array of magazines and websites and her work has won a number of awards (see below). She has published several books including the children’s picture book Mama Moon and the young adult titles A Day Without Immigrants and Hurricane Katrina. She has collaborated on many other published books and memoirs and recently completed her first novel. She currently serves as Nonfiction Editor for Orison Books and as a reviewer for Up the Staircase Quarterly.
Jeannine's love of yoga developed gradually. When her children were young, she inched along with a home practice. Finally, when her daughter Sophie was in college, the two took classes together and established a regular practice together, which was life changing. Jeannine earned her yoga teaching certificate in 2012.
As a teacher, Jeannine has two decades of experience in a variety of settings. In addition to her work with Elephant Rock, Jeannine currently serves as a volunteer writing mentor through the Association of Writers and Writing Program's Writer-to-Writer and the Minnesota Prison Writers Workshop and as a guest lecturer in a variety of college and community writing programs in Minneapolis and St. Paul, including frequent lectures in the PhD science writing at the University of Minnesota. She spent ten years as an elementary and middle school teacher and has served as a faculty member of the Novalis Institute, teaching arts workshops for adults. Her teaching methods are inspired by the work of master teacher and poet Paul Matthews (Sing Me the Creation and Words in Place). Elephant Rock Retreats draw from Matthews' brilliant workshopping techniques, using playfulness as a portal to the profound, as well as from James Pennebaker’s groundbreaking work with writing for healing and transformation.
Learn more about Jeannine and her writing and teaching history by perusing her blog or Elephant Rock's Facebook page. Jeannine also works individually with writers (book coaching, craft, discovering and refining voice, and creative jumpstarting). About her writing, others have said:
"... [S]imply beautiful.... [P]recisely imagined, poetically structured, compelling, and vivid." ~Joyce Carol Oates
"We admire the vividness and complexity." ~editors, Penn Review
"Tender but blunt, quiet but cutting." ~editors, Masters Review
"Vivid, memorable, and affecting." ~Caitlin Horrocks, fiction editor, Kenyon Review
"Powerful and urgent with a stunning sense of language and a compelling metaphoric voice. This novel is emotionally authentic and gripping. " ~Sue William Silverman, award-winning author of three memoirs, a poetry collection, and a craft book on writing
"A writer with an extraordinary gift for prose that's complex, imagistic, and startling." ~Richard McCann, author of Mother of Sorrows
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Second Place, Masters Review Emerging Writers Award 2017
Second Place, Proximity Essay Award, 2016
Honorable Mention Curt Johnson Prose Awards 2015, judged by Joyce Carol Oates and the editors of december magazine
Honorable Mention, Glimmer Train 2016
Finalist, Fairy Tale Review Fiction Contest, 2016
Finalist, New South Fiction Contest, 2016
Finalist, Orison Anthology Awards 2015 & 2016
Finalist, Tiferet Journal Writing Contest 2015
Finalist, Barry Lopez Prize in Nonfiction 2015
Pushcart Nominations, 2015 & 2016
Page One Award from the Society of Professional Journalists for a cover story on the history of bees and the healing potential of propolis (“The Life-Giving Secret of Bees,” Rake magazine, September, 2005).
First Place Award of Excellence for Editor's Essay in Minnesota Parent from judges at Medill School of Journalism: “Some writing is powerful because it is funny. And some writing is powerful because it’s personal, sensitive, and honest, even shockingly honest. Jeannine Ouellette’s column . . . has that effect."
First Place Award for General Excellence for Minnesota Parent from judges at Medill School of Journalism. Judges cited the “literary quality” of the writing in Minnesota Parent, which they called "unusual in the parenting genre," as well as the highly unique and engaging format of the magazine.