About

Jenn Thornhill Verma is a freelance journalist, landscape painter and non-profit healthcare executive from Newfoundland and Labrador, living in Ottawa with her family. She is a proud descendent of a long line of fishers. She is a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, holds a Master of Science in Medicine (Memorial University of Newfoundland) and a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Nonfiction and Bachelor of Journalism-Biology (University of King’s College). What connects Jenn’s interests is her desire to make what’s important, a pleasure for people to learn.

Jenn’s journalism and writing appears in such publications as Atlantic Books TodayAtlantic Business Magazine, Downhome, [EDIT], Explore, Maisonneuve, Newfoundland Quarterly, Reader’s Digest, Saltscapes, The Telegram, and The Independent (NL). She is a member of The Writers’ Union of Canada and the Canadian Association of Journalists. For two years running, Jenn was a silver finalist for Best Profile Article (Atlantic Journalism Awards 2019, 2020). In 2019, Jenn was also a finalist for Best New Magazine Writer (National Magazine Awards). Her first book, Cod Collapse: The Rise and Fall of Newfoundland’s Saltwater Cowboys, was released in Canada in October 2019 (Nimbus Publishing), and is now available in the United States and the United Kingdom among other countries, with a forthcoming audiobook version. The Hill Times listed Cod Collapse as no. 19 on their top 100 Non-fiction Canadian Books of 2019. The book has also received praise from musician and author, Alan Doyle, fisheries scientist, Jeffrey A. Hutchings, author David MacFarlane (The Danger Tree), among others. In 2020, Jenn and Kat Frick Miller received a Canada Council for the Arts Digital Opportunities grant to pursue a project that extends the life of Cod Collapse (see Last Fish, First Boat).  Learn more about Cod Collapse, its early praise and book reviews. Also, see Jenn’s writing portfolio or preview quotes from her writing in her keepsake gallery.

Seaside scenes are Jenn’s primary landscapes for her artwork. Since 2016, Jenn has been an apprentice painter with Ottawa-based, Canadian landscape painter, Gordon Harrison. Her landscape and nature artwork have been featured in galleries in Ontario and Newfoundland, and she has hosted three solo art shows since 2019 (“Downhome Seascapes” in 2019, “For the Love of SEAnery” in 2020 and “Coastal Reflections” in 2020-21). She is represented at Santini Gallery in Ottawa. In 2020, Jenn’s artwork was recognized at the Atlantic Journalism Awards for Best Cover (Gold recipient) for the fall 2019 cover of Atlantic Books Today. In 2019, Jenn’s artwork was featured as cover art (for her first book, her publisher’s fall catalogue, and the fall issue of Atlantic Books Today) as well as in the pages of [EDIT] magazine (this issue became an insert to The Globe and Mail) and Newfoundland Quarterly (online). Jenn is a member of the Folklore Studies Association of Canada. She recently received the Denis Diderot Grant as part of a forthcoming (2021) Artist-in-Residence at Chateau d’Orquevaux in France. Jenn predominantly paints in oils, but sometimes uses acrylic. Like her mentor, Harrison, Jenn’s art loosely combines realism and impressionism, wherein the primary subject is recognizable (realism, based on photographs), yet is depicted with bold shapes and colours (impressionism, using a variety of bold brush strokes, knife work and an equally bold palette mixed by hand). Learn more about Jenn’s artwork and contact the galleries where she is represented.

Jenn is an experienced non-profit executive, having started a new role in 2021 as a senior advisor with the McMaster Health Forum. She worked for 15 years with the Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement, where she designed the foundation’s quality improvement collaborative approach, bringing together frontline providers, policymakers and system leaders (including patients and families) to spread and scale innovation across Canada. She has published and contributed to more than forty articles in her field (healthcare), presents at national and international conferences and guest lectures for graduate-level programs. She joined the Board of Bruyère, a multi-site academic health care organization, as a Community Representative in 2019 and is a member on the Quality Management & Mission Effectiveness Committee. Jenn has served on a number of national health committees including the Advisory Council on Population Health (Canadian Institute for Health Information); the Policy Legal and Regulatory Affairs Advisory (Canadian Patient Safety Institute); the Quality Mental Health Care Network (Mental Health Commission of Canada and HealthCareCAN); and the Collaborative Healthcare Improvement Partnerships theme group (Canadian Association for Health Services and Policy Research). She currently advises the McConnell Foundation’s Nourish initiative, which is all about the intersections between food, health and healthcare.

Previously, Jenn worked as a producer/reporter in public and private radio in Newfoundland and Labrador.

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