Alumni News Donohue ’04 Merges Shakespearean Themes With Modern Day in Debut Novel

March 9, 2023

A Hawks in Flight Feature

Jennifer Donohue ’04 has published her first novel, Exit Ghost, a contemporary retelling of Hamlet, where New Jersey heiress and witch Juliet Duncan summons her father’s ghost through his old rotary phone to answer the question: who murdered him?

“I’ve always loved Shakespeare,” she said. “And I’ve always done National Novel Writing Month. I wrote one story that was a Hamlet-based thriller, and another that was about witches in Asbury Park in the 70s.”

A psychology major at Hartwick, Donohue took several creative writing courses from professors Carol Frost and Robert Bensen. “Those classes gave me a space that expected me to take my writing seriously,” she said. “Even though I was still finding my voice and my genre niche, it was time that I enjoyed and considered well spent.”

But it was a 100-word story contest from literary agent Janet Reid that inspired her to combine her two concepts, and eventually became the first chapter of Exit Ghost.

Donohue is a library clerk at the Huntington Memorial Library, where she also leads the HML Writers group. Her work has been published in Daily Science Fiction, Apex, Syntax & Salt, and Escape Pod. She has also published several novellas in her Run with the Hunted series, and the stand-alone novella, The Drowned Heir.

A frequent fixture at the CANO Writer’s Salon, she lives in Oneonta with her husband, Jim Tanner ‘04.

And she’ll be reunited with one of her Hartwick mentors when Bensen reads from his newest collection, What Lightning Spoke, at the library at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 29.

Exit Ghost is available in e-book and hardback from