Joanna MacKenzieLiterary Agent

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 got my start in publishing at a Chicago-based literary agency and while there, I successfully placed numerous manuscripts that have gone on to become critically acclaimed, award-winning, and bestselling novels.  I love working with authors who embrace the full publishing process (read: love revisions) and am committed to the stories my clients want to tell both with the words they put on paper, as well as with the careers they build.

As a Chicago-based agent, I am excited to join the Nelson Literary Agency team and to expand my list in both adult and YA. I’m looking for the epic read that, at its center, beats with a universal heart.  In particular, I’m drawn to smart and timely women’s fiction, as well as absorbing, character-driven mysteries and thrillers – both, ideally, with a little edge.  I have a weird obsession with, what I call, “child in jeopardy lit” and can’t get enough kick-ass mom heroines.  On the YA side, I’m interested in coming of age stories that possess a confident voice and characters I can’t stop thinking about.

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.

For more information on what I’m looking for, check out the Submission Guidelines page. You can also visit me at Publishers Marketplace and follow me @joannamackenzie.

I Represent...

Article 5

Kristen Simmons - Article 5 Series


Kristen Simmons - Standalones

Third Son's a Charm

Shana Galen - The Survivors

No Earls Allowed

Shana Galen - The Survivors

An Affair With a Spare

Shana Galen - The Survivors

The Frame-Up

Meghan Scott Molin - The Golden Arrow Mysteries


Sierra Kincade - The Deep Connection Trilogy

Upcoming Conferences

StoryStudio Writer's Festival
Chicago, IL
September 28, 29, 30
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UW-Madison Writer's Institute
Madison, WI
April 4-7, 2019
More Info
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