Joanne McNeil dot com

Joanne McNeil is the author of the novel WRONG WAY (2023) and LURKING (2020). She was the inaugural winner of the Carl & Marilynn Thoma Art Foundation's Arts Writing Award for an emerging writer. She has been a resident at Eyebeam, a Logan Nonfiction Program fellow, recipient of the Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant, and an instructor at the School for Poetic Computation. She grew up in Brockton, MA and is currently based in Los Angeles.

She's currently working on another nonfiction book, TOO EARLY FOR THE FUTURE, on the practice and history of speculating on the future.


contact: joanne dot mcneil at gmail dot com

Praise for WRONG WAY:

Top 20 Books of 2023, Esquire
Best Books of 2023, The New Yorker
Endless Bookshelf Book of the Year
Best Tech Books, Los Angeles Times
Esquire Book Club Pick

"Drop everything and find a copy of Wrong Way. This remarkable book is many things : a deep history of America through the lens of marginal employment, a social history of isolation, and an economic palimpsest of the architecture of New England mill towns. Wrong Way is the first novel by Joanne McNeil, who has a fine ear for American usages and a sneaky sense of humor evident from the first pages... It’s an engaging and provocative work, the best book I’ve read this year." — Henry Wessells, Endless Bookshelf

“[Wrong Way] gave me a pleasant sense that I was witnessing a literary sneak attack on the very idea of 'the future' as commonly constructed in fiction.” — Peter C. Baker, The New Yorker

“No one understands the dark side of the gifts offered by billionaire tech gurus better than Joanne McNeil. With Wrong Way, our most prescient tech critic has turned to fiction, giving us a glimpse of a near future defined less by wondrous new gadgets and genius AI than by with the pretense of innovation slapped on ever more alienating work done by people who remain, despite everything, human. In prose at times dreamy and lacerating, McNeil shows us what’s coming, and how easily we might wind up accepting it.” ― Sarah Jaffe, author of Work Won’t Love You Back

"A strange, surprising, and sinister kaleidoscope of a novel. Joanne McNeil, with a dazzling wit and eye for detail, guides us through a capitalist gig-economy world both relatable and startlingly visionary. WRONG WAY stands out sparklingly from the crowd of current novels. I found myself describing it, recommending it, to a person on the subway I barely knew. I really love this book.” — Scott Heim, author of Mysterious Skin

"With her signature mix of intelligent, tender, and engaging prose, Joanne McNeil has written a brilliant novel in Wrong Way, which interrogates the promises of the tech utopia through the lives of the invisible labor behind the hype." — Zito Madu, author of The Minotaur at Calla Lanza

“Joanne McNeil’s masterful debut is a powerful example of what the contemporary novel can and should be in our endlessly perplexing times.” ― Tim Maughan, author of Infinite Detail

"Wrong Way is a chilling portrait of economic precarity, and a disturbing reminder of how attempts to optimize life and work leave us all alienated." ― Adrienne Westenfeld, Esquire

"[Wrong Way] skillfully blends a beautiful literary style — focused on characterization, inner life, human relations — with a sci-fi story set in an alternative present / very near future." — This Machine Kills

"[A] smart debut novel...By creating a predicament for her protagonist that could soon resemble ones we'll face, McNeil creates a compelling examination of work and our relationship to it." — Booklist

"[A] sharply observed, extremely well-written novel" — Kirkus

"Mordant...the satire is all the more cutting when contrasted with the all-too-human story of Teresa. A warm beating heart drives this smart and timely tale." - Publishers Weekly


This Machine Kills
Tech Won't Save Us
Theory of Everything
LA Public Library
Pioneer Works

This is the link to my headshot. Photo credit: Lizzy Johnston

Subscribe to my news-y newsletter for events and other updates.  Or subscribe to my bloggy newsletter for recommended books, films, exhibitions, and more.

I write a column called "Speculations" for Filmmaker magazine. It is a series of essays on science fiction films and books and art and other culture. You can read the archive here.

Here's a list of some of my writing including fiction, reporting, and criticism.


I wrote a short radio play for Unfinished Live in 2021. It's about how the history of the internet will be told in the future. Here's a series of video essays I made called Just Browsing. And here's a video of me reading from my short story Users.


Here's me with Philip K Dick (really really old photo) and a photo of one of my best Halloween costumes.