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 into the grown-up section, where I discovered V.C. Andrews. And to my father, who gave me Cat’s Cradle, Wuthering Heights, and One Hundred Years of Solitude for my fifteenth birthday.

A seasoned publishing professional with nearly twenty years on the agenting side, I’m driven by the stories my authors tell, both with the novels they write and with the careers they build. I represent New York Times bestsellers, Edgar and Anthony Award nominees, and critically acclaimed storytellers writing in all areas of adult and young adult fiction.

Visit me at Publishers Marketplace and follow me @joannamackenzie.



  • High-concept, twisty, unputdownable stories with a strong voice in the areas of women’s fiction, thriller, and speculative. (Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam, Before I Go To Sleep by S.J Watson, Dark Matter by Blake Crouch)
  • Timely commercial fiction in which the personal intersects with the world at large, and/or that explores toxic friendships and complex, challenging family dynamics. (Luster by Raven Leilani, This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel)
  • Heartfelt and timeless stories that you want to re-read about identity, unlikely friendships, reinvention, second acts, and women finding their voices and power, especially with touches of magic or speculative. (The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow, Tell The Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt)
  • Voicey, confident, atmospheric mysteries set in close-knit communities; creepy islands and Midwest-set are a plus. (The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman, Only Murders In The Building, the Shetland series by Ann Cleeves)
  • Because I came to Chicago by way of Poland and Canada, I’m always looking for stories about the immigrant experience. (The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri is a longtime favorite.)

Recent binges: Anatomy of a Scandal on Netflix, When No One Is Watching by Alyssa Cole, The Idea of You by Robinne Lee,  and The Maid by Nita Prose

I will be closed to queries for a few weeks starting June 15, 2022. I look forward to reading your submission later this summer!

  Query Joanna

Joanna’s Recent News

John Galligan received a starred review from PW for Bad Day Breaking (August 30).

The Beach Trap by Ali Brady, released June 14, 2022, was a #1 New Release on Amazon.

Ali Brady’s The Beach Trap receives a starred Booklist review

In an interview with Publishers Weekly, Katrina Monroe talks about identity, memory, and homecomings in her debut novel, They Drown Our Daughters.

Jenny Chen at Bantam Dell has acquired North American rights to Firebirds and a second book in the series by Lina Chern.

Ali Fisher at Tor Teen has acquired world rights to Find Him Where You Left Him and a second book in the series by Kristen Simmons.

Library of Michigan

Sarah Zachrich Jeng’s The Other Me named a 2022 Michigan Notable Book.


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.


Joanna’s Film/TV Options

Currently Under Option

Optioned to:
MiMo Studio

Currently Under Option