Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Joe Meno  

Pen Name: None


Audience: Adult;

Born: 1974

-- Website --
-- Joe Meno on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Meno lives in Chicago. He graduated from and is a professor in the Department of Creative Writing at Columbia College Chicago.

Biographical and Professional Information

Joe Meno is a fiction writer, playwright, music journalist and editor. He is the winner of the ''Nelson Algren Literary Award'', a Pushcart Prize, the Great Lakes Book Award, ''Society of Midland Author's Fiction Prize'' and a finalist for the ''Story Prize''. He is the editor of ''Chicago Noir: The Classics'' and the author of two short story collections and multiple novels including the best sellers ''Hairstyles of the Damned,'' and ''The Boy Detective Fails''. He’s currently working with producer Gil Netter (“Water for Elephants,” “The Blind Side”) on a screenplay of his novel, ''The Great Perhaps'', and celebrating the Toronto premiere of a film based on his short story, ''The Architecture of the Moon''.

Published Works

  • Tender as Hellfire , St. Maritn's Press, 1999
  • How the Hula Girl Sings , HarperCollins, 2001
  • Hairstyles of the Damned , Akashic Books, 2004
  • How the Hula Girl Sings, Akashic Books, 2005
  • The Boy Detective Fails , Akashic Books, 2006
  • Tender As Hellfire , Akashic Books, 2007
  • Bluebirds Used to Croon in the Choir: Stories, TriQuarterly, 2007
  • The Great Perhaps, Norton & Co, 2009
  • Demons in the Spring, Akashic Books, 2010
  • Office Girl, Akashic Books, 2012
  • Marvel and a Wonder, Akashic Books, 2015

Selected Titles At Your Library

Hairstyles of the damned /
ISBN: 188845170X. OCLC Number:

Punk Planet Books,. Chicago :. ©2004.

Gretchen and Brian struggle to fit in at their Catholic school on Chicago's south side. Both teenagers listen to punk rock and have haircuts that clash with the conservative style of the 1990s. As their school year progresses, they learn the value of individualism over conformity.

How the hula girl sings /
ISBN: 1888451831. OCLC Number:

Akashic ;. New York :. 2005.

The boy detective fails /
ISBN: 1933354100. OCLC Number:

Punk Planet Books ;. Chicago :. ©2006.

In the twilight of a childhood full of wonder, Billy Argo, boy detective, is brokenhearted to find that his younger sister and crime-solving partner, Caroline, has committed suicide. Ten years later, Billy, age thirty, returns from an extended stay at St. Vitus' Hospital for the Mentally Ill to discover a world full of unimaginable strangeness: office buildings vanish without reason, small animals turn up without their heads, and cruel villains ride city buses to complete their evil schemes.

Tender as hellfire /
ISBN: 1933354305. OCLC Number:

Akashic Books,. New York :. ©2007.

Paperback reissue of indie sensation Joe Meno's debut novel.

Bluebirds Used to Croon in the Choir.
ISBN: 0810124246. OCLC Number:

Triquarterly Books,. . 2007.

The great perhaps :
ISBN: 0393067963. OCLC Number:

W.W. Norton & Co.,. New York :. 2009.

The precarious world of the Casper family is thrown into chaos by the sudden separation of Jonathan and his wife, Madeline, a decision that forces the couple, their two daughters, and grandfather Henry to confront their own pursuits and cowardice.

Demons in the spring :
ISBN: 193607009X. OCLC Number:

Akashic ;. New York :. 2010.

Office girl :
ISBN: 1617750751. OCLC Number:

Akashic Books,. New York :. ©2012.

Odile is a lovely twenty-three-year-old art-school dropout, a minor vandal, and a hopeless dreamer. Jack is a twenty-five-year-old shirker who's most happy capturing the endless noises of the city on his out-of-date tape recorder. Together they decide to start their own art movement in defiance of a contemporary culture made dull by both the tedious and the obvious. Set in February 1999, just before the end of one world and the beginning of another, Office girl is the story of two people caught between the uncertainty of their futures and the all-too-brief moments of modern life.

Marvel and a wonder /
ISBN: 1617753947. OCLC Number:

. .

"In the summer of 1995, a Korean War vet struggling to raise his sixteen-year-old grandson on a farm in southern Indiana receives a mysterious gift--a beautiful quarter horse--that upends the balance of their lives. The horse catches the attention of two meth-dealing brothers who steal and sell the animal. Grandfather and grandson pursue the ruthless criminals across the bleak heartland, all the while confronting the misperceptions [sic] of their own troubled relationship."--Back cover.


Marvel and Wonder

  • Starred Review, Booklist
  • Midwest Connections Pick, Midwest Independent Booksellers Association
  • Long Listed for Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction, American Library Association
  • Best Books of the Year, Booklist, 2015
  • Office Girl

  • Best Books of the Year, Kirkus
  • Best Books of the Year, Dailycandy
  • Readers Favorite Fiction, Believer magazine, 2012
  • Best Books of the Year, Chicago Reader
  • Best Books of the Month, Amazon, July 2012
  • Best New Novel, Chicagoan
  • Starred Review, Booklist
  • 3 Must-Read Offbeat Novels, The Daily Beast
  • Pick of the Week, Publishers Weekly
  • Great Perhaps

  • Great Lakes Book Award for Fiction
  • Starred Review, Kirkus
  • Editors choice, New York Times
  • Great Lakes Book Award for Fiction
  • Demons in the Spring

  • Best Books of the Year, Kirkus
  • The Boy Detective Fails

  • Book of the Year, Kirkus
  • Best of 2006, Booklist
  • Book of the Year, Chicago Tribune
  • Bluebirds Used to Croon in the Choir

    Speaking Engagements

    Speaking Engagement Availability (No)