OLGA BERROCAL ESSEX was born and reared in Panama City, Panama. She is a graduate of the Instituto Pan-Americano, received an Associate of Arts degree in Drama and Literature from the Institute of Fine Arts and an undergraduate degree in journalism from the University of Panama. She was a professional actress in Panama’s National Theatre and appeared in many plays and poetry readings in the theatre and other venues, including her own weekly radio program in Panama City. Essex’s writing career began as an arts reviewer and feature writer for daily newspapers in Panama City.
Essex continued her work as a reporter in the United States, working as a reporter and feature writer with the Tri-Valley Herald, a daily newspaper in Livermore, California, where she also wrote a Spanish-language column. She also worked as a writer and photographer for the Country News in Paso Robles, California.
She was part of the research and development staff at Kaiser Aluminum & Chemical Corp. in Pleasanton, California, where she did technical writing as part of her duties in engineering support. She retired from Kaiser Aluminum& Chemical and went to work at US Windpower, a pioneer of wind energy in California. She has worked translating computer software and operations manuals to Spanish.
A member of the Paso Robles Writers Workshop and the Cambria Writers Workshop, her work has been published in national magazines such as Vegetarian Gourmet, Westways, <i>LottoWorld, Lady’s Circle, New Times. Under the Oaks, an anthology of California Central Coast writers, includes her short stories.
Essex and her husband Jack met in Panama and married there. They continue to live in California, where they enjoy their four grown children and grandchildren.