About René

I am a native of Chicago, of Irish and Norwegian heritage. My writing and photography have appeared in Sojourners, America, National Catholic Reporter, Memoir Mixtapes, Hobart, Brevity (blog), Cease, Cows, Rose Red Review, Literary Orphans, The Masters Review (blog), Tiny Donkey, Drunk Monkeys, The Writing Disorder, Eunoia Review, Rockwell’s Camera Phone, Wilderness House Literary Review, We Said Go Travel, and Encyclopaedia Britannica (blog and articles), among other places. You can find some of my published credits here. From 2011 to 2015, I also authored a blog with a travel theme called Writing and Wayfaring.

I am open to freelance work at the moment: writing, copy editing, fact checking, proofreading, you name it. Along with the publications above, companies and clients I have worked for include Britannica, What on Earth Books, Flinn Scientific (educational kits), City Owl Press (genre fiction), Merriam-Webster’s, Publications International (cookbooks), U.S. Catholic and Conscious Choice magazines, and many others.

On Inis Oirr, fadó fadó. 1997.

Some fun facts about me… Back in the ’90s, I studied culinary arts at a community college. Beginning in 1995 I spent several summers living in Ireland, where I worked in a hotel on Inis Oírr (Aran Islands) and a cafe & conference center in County Down (Northern Ireland). Somewhere in the middle of all this I got a bachelor’s in English (with a focus on Irish Studies) from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale and began working in publishing in 2001. I am currently earning my master’s in library and information science at Dominican University.

part2 711
Santiago de Compostela. 2011.

I used to be a travel bug. Those were great days. Along with Ireland, I’ve been to France, Australia, Mexico, Bolivia, Spain, Puerto Rico, Portugal, and all around my own home country. I even ran my own tour company (Wayfaring Women Tours) for awhile (2010-2013). In 2011 I walked the 500-mile Camino Frances route of the Camino de Santiago, from the south of France to Santiago de Compostela in Spain.

I currently live outside Chicago, with four cats, down the road from a railroad tracks and across the street from a lovely muddy old river. (In May and then September 2022, I lost two of my feline friends, but I can’t bring myself to change the number in the previous sentence. They’ll always be with me.)


That’s me on the far left in the pic below–the one with the great fashion sense, blonde pigtails, and prominent elbow. If you ever run into me sometime–in Chicago or elsewhere in the world–say hi. If you ever read something of mine you like–here or anywhere else in the world–drop me a line and let me know. I’ll appreciate the encouragement. Email: renemadonna@gmail.com

Chicago, Dunning neighborhood, 1976.