Mary O'Donnell lives near Straffan, County Kildare and worked intermittently in journalism, especially theatre criticism, and her essays on contemporary literary are widely published. She also presented and scripted three series of poetry programmes for RTE Radio, including a successful series on poetry in translation during 2005 and 2006 called 'Crossing the Lines'. She teaches Creative Writing, part time, at NUI Maynooth and in 2011 she received that university’s President's Alumni Award She has also worked on the faculty of Carlow University Pittsburgh's MFA programme, as well as on the University of Iowa's summer writing programme at Trinity College Dublin. In December 2001 she was elected to the membership of Aosdana. She is also a member of the Irish Writers' Union and served for three years as an external representative for arts and culture on the Governing Authority of the National University of Ireland, Maynooth.