Jean O'Brien has four collections to her name, her last being Merman in 2012 (Salmon Publishing Ire.) Her New & Selected Fish on a Bicycle is due out from Salmon in the Autumn. A prize winning poet O'Brien won the 2010/11 prestigious Arvon Internation Award judged by the British Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy. She was also the winner of the Fish International Poetry Award and has been placed or shortlisted for many other awards, the most recent being the Forward Prize.

O'Brien has worked as a Writer in Residence for Co. Laois and been involved in countless readings, festivals, judging competitions, course director etc, again her latest readings were as part of the Windharp Anthology Poems Since 1916 (ed. Niall MacMonagle) where she read in the Irish Embassy in London and the Polish Embassy in Dublin.

Her work is widely published and anthologised, the latest being an Indian Anthology (Ed Pat Cotter) and Cork Literary Review Anthology. She is also involved in collaboration with the Texan Artist Dixie Friend Gay on a project called Love/Liebesgedichte. She has previously collaborated with the artist Ray Murphy on a series of painting arising from her prize winning poem Merman.

O'Brien has run many courses and workshops over the years, including working with High Security Prisoners, Traveler Groups, Community Groups, Schools, Libraries and for the past fifteen years given courses in the Irish Writers Centre in Dublin.