Janae Marks (she/her)

“I love talking to students about my books and pulling back the curtain to give them a glimpse of what goes into writing and publishing a novel. I want kids to know that they have what it takes to reach their own dreams!”


Janae Marks is a New York Timesbestselling author of middle grade novels. Her debut, From the Desk of Zoe Washington (2020), is a Junior Library Guild Gold Star selection, a #1 Indie Next pick, and an indie bestseller. It was also named Best Book of the Year by Parents Magazine, Book Riot, Kirkus Reviews, Booklist, Chicago Public Library, The Boston Globe, and the Bank Street College of Education. Disney Branded Television has put into development an original movie based on From the Desk Of Zoe Washington, executive produced by Kerry Washington’s Simpson Street Productions, and Gamechanger Films. Her second middle grade novel, A Soft Place to Land (2021), was an Indie Next Pick and a Bank Street College of Education Best Children’s Book of the Year. Janae is also part of the middle grade anthology Hope Wins (2022), edited by Dr. Rose Brock. Her third middle grade novel, On Air with Zoe Washington (2023) is a Junior Library Guild Gold Star selection. It was an instant New York Times and Indie bestseller.

Janae grew up in the suburbs of New York City, where she always loved to read and write. She started out writing illustrated autobiographical stories in kindergarten, and then journal entries and letters to her pen pals and summer camp friends. In high school, Janae thought she wanted to pursue musical theater. She loved being on stage, but eventually realized that she cared more about the stories than the performances. While getting her undergraduate English degree at Tufts University, she switched her focus to creative writing and never looked back. After college, she got an inside look at the publishing world while spending seven years working for a Big Five publisher. She also got an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from The New School.

Now, she lives in Connecticut, and when she’s not writing fiction, she’s spending time with her husband, daughter, and dog.

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