Jen was born in South Africa, and has lived in five of its nine provinces. She attended high school at Epworth High School in Pietermaritzburg. She attended university at Rhodes University between 2003 and 2008 where she completed her Bachelor of Arts in Politics and Philosophy, her Bachelor of Arts Honours in Politics, and received a Masters in Politics with distinction for her thesis focussing on raunch culture and feminism. In 2014 she received a Masters in Creative Writing from the University of Cape Town.
Jen has published three feminist essay collections and two novels. Find out more about them in the Books tab above. Her first novel, The Peculiars, was long listed for the Sunday Times Fiction Prize and the Etisalat Fiction Prize.
She has worked with the Rape Crisis Cape Town Trust, Parliament of South Africa, the United Nations Children’s Fund, the Organisation for Economic Development and Cooperation, the Open Society Foundation for South Africa, the World Bank, and the Girl Effect. She was appointed a Commissioner for Gender Equality in 2019 where she served until the end of January 2020. In these roles she has focussed on promoting gender equality and ending violence against women. Find out more about her career as a gender policy specialist here, or watch some of her interviews, here.
Jen has also written numerous features articles for the Daily Maverick, Mail and Guardian, the City Press, News24, the Heinrich Boll Foundation, Women and Girls Hub, Cosmopolitan SA, Marie Claire, Elle, the Saturday Star, the African Women’s Development Fund and others. Find out more on the Writing page.
For recent writing, take a look at her blog and subscribe, here.
If you’d like to get in touch with Jen for information or to commission her to write for you or your organisation, find her details on the contact page.