Author, The Ambassador’s Wife, a novel, published by Doubleday July 28, 2015. The book won the Best Novel award in the 2013 William Faulkner-William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition and has received considerable critical acclaim, notably in the Seattle Times, Publishers Weekly, Booklist, and The New York Times Book Review. The paperback was published by Anchor on June 14, 2016.

Oscar-winner Anne Hathaway has signed on to star in a television miniseries based on The Ambassador’s Wife, which the Mark Gordon Company has acquired the rights to finance and produce with Hathaway.

Author, The Woman Who Fell from the Sky, a memoir about my adventures as the editor of a newspaper in Yemen, published by Broadway Books/Random House in May 2010. The book is also published in Australia, New Zealand, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Poland, and Turkey.

The book received accolades in The New York Times and was chosen as a Travel Book of the Year by the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune. Elle magazine awarded it its Readers’ Prize in August 2010. It has been reviewed in countless other periodicals and blogs.

Contributor, Not A Rose, CHARTA, Milan, New York, 2012. For this book, a hybrid work that is both book and conceptual art installation, I wrote an essay entitled “Roses After Rain.”

Articles, Essays, & Stories

Fault Lines

Writing tips from Jennifer Steil, author of The Ambassador’s Wife

6 great books about living abroad

My First Bodyguard

The Safety Illusion: A Writer Builds Her Life in the Bedlam of Yemen

An Enemy to No Man But Himself
The Rumpus

Snake Shots and Salsa—The Perfect Night Out in La Paz
Yahoo Travel

Sound and Fury
Burlesque Press

Yemen: Descending into despair
World Policy Journal

Remnants of Twin Towers find role in London 9/11 memorial
The Washington Times

William and Kate’s romance obsesses Brits
The Washington Times

Mutige Frauen stellen den Jemen auf den Kopf
Die Welt

Royal wedding bells fall on deaf ears
The Washington Times

Unlikely U.K. government coalition holds fast
The Washington Times

Prince William, Kate Middleton wed as Britain celebrates
The Washington Times

Britain basks in royal wedding afterglow
The Washington Times

The Yemen I know
New York Post

Mutige Frauen stellen den Jemen auf den Kopf
Die Welt

More Things Your Nanny Won’t Tell You
Reader’s Digest

13+ Things Your Housecleaner Won’t Tell You
Reader’s Digest

Dollar Store Deals — What to Buy and What to Skip

How to Get Your Garden Ready For Spring

Want an Organic Garden? Here’s What to Do


Winner, Best Novel, 2013 William Faulkner-William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition, for The Ambassador’s Wife

Finalist, Bisexual Book Award for Fiction 2015, for The Ambassador’s Wife

Finalist, The Lascaux Novel Award, 2015, for The Ambassador’s Wife

First Runner-up, 2012 William Faulkner -William Wisdom
Creative Writing Competition, Novel-in-Progress category, for Chiaroscuro (now called The Ambassador’s Wife)

Residency, Writers Omi at Ledig House, Ghent, NY, April 25-May 15, 2014

Residency, Willapa Bay, Washington, July 2014

Residency, Can Serrat, Spain, November 2014

Residency, The Byrdcliffe Artist in Residence Program, Woodstock, NY June/July 2013

Residency, Arte Studio Ginestrelle, Assisi, Italy, April 2013

Residency, The Julia and David White Artists’ Colony, Costa Rica, Sept. 2005

Consultant/Speaker, A Room of Her Own Women’s Writing Retreat, August 2013, New Mexico

First Place, Specialty Reporting Portfolio, the New Jersey Press

Association’s 1998 Better Newspaper Contest

First Place (staff award), Lloyd P. Burns Memorial Award for Public

Service, for the series “Heroin: A Clear and Present Danger,” the New

Jersey Press Association’s 1998 Better Newspaper Contest


MS, Journalism (specializing in print), with Honors, Columbia University Graduate School of

Journalism, May 1997

MFA, Creative Writing/Fiction, Sarah Lawrence College, May 1996

BA, Theatre, Oberlin College, May 1990



Teacher of creative writing, fiction and nonfiction, at the Elizabeth Ayres Center for Creative Writing, April 2016—present

Teacher of short story writing at Rosemont College’s MFA Writing Retreat, Philadelphia, June 2016

Guest Speaker for the Tennessee Consortium for International Studies (spoke at several Tennessee colleges), February-March 2016

Guest teacher/visiting writer at SUNY Plattsburgh, NY, April 2016

Guest teacher of creative writing at the University of Algiers in Algeria 2014

Guest teacher of writing to the students of Wellington College in Crowthorne, England in 2011

Journalism trainer for the staff of the Yemen Times in Sana’a, Yemen in 2009

Journalism trainer for the staff of the Yemen Observer in Sana’a, Yemen in 2006-2007

Test preparation teacher for the SAT, GRE, GMAT, and LSAT with the Princeton Review from 1993 to 1997

Shakespeare in Performance teacher at St. Paul’s School in Concord, New Hampshire in the summer of 1990


Freelance work has appeared in the Saranac Review, World Policy Journal, The Washington Times, Vogue UK, Die Welt, New York Post, The Rumpus, Time, Readers’ Digest Version,, Irish National Radio, France 24 (English), CBS radio, and GRN Global Reporter Network Service


Yemen Observer, Editor-in-chief, Sana’a, Yemen

September 2006-September 2007

Overhauled and edited the entire newspaper, managed staff, and wrote news, features, and editorials


The Week, Senior Editor, New York, NY

February 2001-August 2006

Wrote and edited health, science, theater, travel, opera, art, and film pages


Folio: The magazine for magazine management, Associate Editor, New York, NY

October 1999—March 2001

Wrote news and feature stories about all aspects of the magazine business, including new launches, repositioning, information technology, editorial issues and advertising


Daily Record, Health/General Assignment Reporter, Parsippany, NJ

October 1998-March 1999

Covered health issues, breaking news and general features


Daily Record, Municipal Reporter, Parsippany, NJ

October 1997-1998

Covered five towns, wrote features on education, health,

development issues and politics


The Patriot Ledger, Intern/Reporter, Quincy, MA

June-October 1997

Covered two towns, wrote features on religion, health, business,

art, kids and other subjects


Good Housekeeping, Freelancer, New York, NY

August 1997-present

Wrote several stories, including a profile and a humor page


Life, Stringer, New York, NY                 January 1997

Reported for special issue in May, 1997


Time, Stringer, New York, NY                 January 1997

Reported for cover story on Ennis Cosby, January 27, 1997




Speaking Engagements


2015 & 2016 I gave dozens of talks and readings on a 17-city book tour across the United States. I’ve also given talks and book presentations for the US Embassy in La Paz, Bolivia, for the American Cooperative School in La Paz, Bolivia, and for the public in Sauve and Anduze, France. I have also been a guest speaker at many universities.


2015 I spoke on three literary panels at the Words & Music literary festival in New Orleans, LA.


2015 I spoke on two literary panels at the AWP in Minneapolis


2014/15 I was a featured reader, panelist, and teacher at the Hands On Literary Festival in New Orleans, LA


2014 The US Embassy in Algeria invited me to be a featured author at the Algiers International Book Fair. I gave several talks, spoke on panels, taught classes, and gave television and radio interviews.


2013 I was an invited speaker and consultant at the A Room of Her Own Women’s Writing Retreat, August 2013, New Mexico. I will also be speaking and consulting at their 2015 retreat.


2012 I was an invited speaker at the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair.


I have also given talks on Yemen and my book in Amsterdam, Algeria, The Hague, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Cairo, as well as at Columbia University, Fordham University, Sarah Lawrence College, Boston University, and the Vermont Council on World Affairs.