MONDAY, JULY 10, 2017

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Author, activist and speaker A.J.K. O’Donnell releases “This Void Beckons”

Award-winning writer explores morality & the human experience in newest collection


As they approaches their 20th birthday, A.J.K. O’Donnell is emerging as a unique and powerful voice, showing prowess and fearlessness through an already-prolific writing career, including their first published book (“Nicoteane and Other Foolish Mistakes,” 2015) and an ongoing Huffington Post series “A Life in Transitions.” In their second collection to be released July 22, “This Void Beckons” (Cracked Jar Press, $15.99; $12.99 Ebook), O’Donnell’s art has evolved to a higher level, a distinct narrative prose formed as poetry that leads the reader through a sometimes dark spiritual journey that is nonetheless a triumphant examination of faith and humanity.

“This Void Beckons” began as a narrative of healing, specifically written as I worked through personal trials. However, the story grew, and the need for a universal narrative became increasingly apparent to me,” O’Donnell said. “I no longer felt this story could be contained in a singular lens, and that I must mold a work which is both distinctively intimate to each reader, and idiosyncratic in its approach.”

Born in Omaha, Neb., and currently residing in Chicago, O’Donnell’s exceptional talent was noticed early; they were named individual champion at the 2014 Maha Poetry Slam and also as one of 2015’s Ten Outstanding Young Omaha Teens, accolades both received while they were still in high school.

O’Donnell, who writes about their life experiences as genderqueer in their Huffington Post series, is also a relentless advocate and member of the LGBTQ+ community and was honored as a 2016 Youth Courage Award Winner from the Colin Higgins Foundation. This prestigious award honors youth who demonstrate courage in the face of adversity and discrimination based on gender and/or sexual orientation.

“My literary career will always be focused on investigating the human experience in an intimate, yet universal, fashion. I hope to remain a constant voice of the mundane, the unconsidered, and the improbably prophetic events of the human narrative,” O’Donnell said. “It is my sincerest desire that this work embodies my identity as a wordsmith.”

“This Void Beckons” is available online for purchase at, and O’Donnell has a companion podcast at



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