Joanna MacKenzie

I owe my love of books to the librarian of my childhood bookmobile, who, after I had worked my way through The Baby-Sitters Club and Sweet Valley High, lifted the velvet rope and let me in to the grown-up section, where I discovered V.C. Andrews. And to my father, who gifted me Cat’s Cradle, Wuthering Heights, and One Hundred Years of Solitude for my 15th birthday.

In 2002, I began my career at a Chicago-based literary agency, moving to NLA in 2017 although I’m still Chicago-based. Originally from Poland, and by way of Canada, I’m all about narratives that deal with the themes of identity and the immigrant experience as well as those that delve into all aspects of the relationships that make us who we are – parents, siblings, best friends, and first love.

I’m looking for that epic adult or YA read that, at its center, beats with a universal heart. You can also visit me at Publishers Marketplace and follow me @joannamackenzie.



  • Anything set on a creepy island.
  • Women’s fiction featuring witches and touches of magic—especially as both pertain to women finding their voices and power.
  • Mysteries/thrillers set in close-knit communities. (If those communities happen to be in the Midwest, all the better.)
  • High-concept stories with a strong voice in the areas of women’s fiction, mystery/thriller, and speculative. (Think Before I Go To Sleep by S.J Watson or Dark Matter by Blake Crouch.)
  • Anything featuring fierce female heroines who will do whatever it takes to protect their brood.
  • Smart and timely women’s fiction where the personal intersects with the world at large. (Think This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel or All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin.)
  • Narratives about reinvention or the second and third acts of women’s lives.
  • Stories about the immigrant experience for both adult and YA (like The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri).
  • Anything dealing with the relationships that make us who we are for both adult and YA.
  • For all of the above, I am especially interested in diverse and marginalized voices.

Joanna is currently closed to queries.

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Joanna’s Recent News


Kate Baer’s I Hope This Finds You Well lands on the Trade Paperback IndieBound Bestsellers list.

Kate Baer’s collection of poetry I Hope This Finds You Well is an instant New York Times Bestseller.

American Booksellers Association

Kate Baer’s I Hope This Finds You Well makes the ABA Indie Next List.

USA Today

John Galligan’s Bad Moon Rising named one of 5 Books to not Miss.


In a starred review, Kirkus declares that “intriguing characters take a wild ride through backwoods Wisconsin in this irresistible mystery” Galligan’s Bad Moon Rising.



Alison Hammer’s Little Pieces of Me named one of the Best New Books of Spring.

Kathleen West’s Are We There Yet? called “a breezy yet affecting read filled with struggle and hope” by People magazine.

In an exclusive submission, two book deal, Berkley’s Cindy Hwang acquired rights to The Beach Trap by Alison Hammer and Bradeigh Godfrey writing as Ali Brady. 

Kate Baer’s What Kind of Woman was selected as the GOOP book club pick for January.

Katrina Monroe’s The Drowning Girls, a feminist horror about a woman untangling a generations-old curse after returning to the village of her youth, to Mary Altman at Sourcebooks.

Gillian Libby’s debut novel Something Real, following three twenty-something friends finding love as they leave New York City, in a 3-book series deal to Rachel Gilmer at Sourcebooks.

Kate Baer’s collection of poetry What Kind of Woman is an instant #1 New York Times Bestseller.

Joanna’s Film/TV Options

Currently Under Option

Optioned to:
MiMo Studio

Currently Under Option

Joanna’s Featured Books