Author of the novels, A Still Small Voice  (Delacorte Press / Delta), The Whole (Simon & Schuster / Pocket / MTV Books), the SPD bestseller, Snowball's Chance (Roof Books / Melville House); additional books: All The World's A Grave: A New Play By William Shakespeare (Poetry / Drama, Penguin Books / Plume); Tales of Woe (Non-Fiction / Illustrated, MTV Press); and Free Boat: Collected Lies and Love Poems (Poetry, C&R Press); fellowship Columbia University; MFA in Creative Writing, Columbia University; published in (selected) Artnetthe Brooklyn Rail, Tin House, Paper MagazineArtforum, Hyperallergic, Bomb Magazine, Art in America, the PEN Poetry Series, the Los Angeles Times, the Believer, the Rumpusthe Daily Beast, GawkerSlate, the Paris Review, the Times Literary Supplement, the Wall Street JournalElectricLit, ViceThe New York TimesHarpers; anthologized in Best American Essays (Houghton Mifflin), Devouring the Green (Jaded Ibis), StoryScape Anthology V2, American Wasteland (CLMP), The Brooklyn Rail Fiction Anthology (Hanging Loose), Vitamin PH (Phaidon), 100 Greatest Albums (VH1); Vice Magazine "Employee of the Month," Longform’s #1 Most Entertaining Essay; works translated into German, French, Russian, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Korean, Latvian and others; performances, workshops and readings of plays in New York, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maine, Texas, including at the Public Theater in NYC and the Brooklyn Books Festival; two-term member of the board of directors of the National Book Critics Circle; current faculty at The New School University and The New York Arts Program.    


Praise:


John Reed has been writing hard-to-classify books for over a decade, to great acclaim and sometimes greater notoriety. 

—Gee Henry, Bomb Magazine


This may be what it takes to get people to read poetry.

—Vice Magazine


John Reed's FREE BOAT: COLLECTED LIES AND LOVE POEMS is a brilliant and challenging tour de force. Which could be said about every book of his. 

—Michael Lally


John Reed exploded my concept of a sonnet.

—Erika Anderson, Electric Literature 


There’s something dangerous here … As a married person, I find myself very affected by the thorny feelings expressed in these sonnets. I’m asking: Is this sonnet about an adulterous husband? Or an adulterous wife? Or neither partner is adulterous, and that’s the agony. Do they wish they were adulterous, but they’re just too scared? These blurry betrayals frighten me.

—Elizabeth Trundle, The Brooklyn Rail


John Reed’s wonderful new book Free Boat: Collected Lies and Love Poems gives me that … love and quirkiness that I crave, while being a more interesting and fulfilling artistic experience. … Love poems with built in lies and upside down truths, in which you can find a story of your own— and how you think about relationships.

—Susan Marque, Tin House


John Reed has written a stunning, terrifying history of his family’s relationship with his grandmother in an essay, “My Grandma the Poisoner.” 

—Angela Lashbrook, Flavorwire



Snowball’s Chance (Roof, 2000; Melville House, 2012):


More than a parody of Orwell’s work, Snowball’s Chance is a cutting satire of American capitalism, exceptionalism, foreign policy, and interventionism. Playing by Orwell’s rules, Reed gives us our own farm fable, and ... classic work.

—Jordan A. Rothacker, Lithub


Some books double as a matchstick: if struck in the right conditions, they can cause a wildfire. ... In the three weeks following 9/11, John Reed wrote a riposte to the Cold War fairy tale; the brilliance of Snowball’s Chance being that it expands upon Orwell’s parable to include terrorism, making the story a workable paradigm for the current global context. 

—Brett Rawson, The Rumpus


The novel transcends its particular circumstances … Snowball’s gambit is to turn the farm into a giant spectacle of happiness, and his Animal Fair represents more than just a place: it names an entire ethos. 

—Craig Epplin, Guernica


Written in lucid, wise, funny, fable-prose, this book brings to mind Spiegelman’s Maus—the use of a playful metaphor to reveal truths we might otherwise refuse to see.  

—Jonathan Ames


A wicked illusionist.  

—Graham Reed, Los Angeles Journal


A swift and satisfying read, viciously funny.  

—William Georgiades, New York Post


In other words: What did the victim do to deserve it?  

—Cathy Young, Boston Globe 


Likely to offend almost everyone. … Witless parody.

—David Futrelle, Money Magazine 


John Reed is as fearless and honest as writers come.

—Greg Dybec, Critical Mob


Free John Reed!  Free the piggies!  

—New York Press 


A pig returns to the farm, thumbing his snout at Orwell ... the world had a new evil to deal with, and it was not communism.  

—Dinitia Smith, New York Times


It will take a great deal more than a fortnight's work by a smart-aleck anti-corporatist to undermine the most brilliant satire of the 20th century.

—London Telegraph 


Orwell’s sacred pigs get a proper roast.  

—Paul Duchene, Portland Tribune 


Reed has managed to take a dated masterpiece ... and revive it for the odd, casino-like social and political world we're mired in today; in the process he's created his own masterpiece. 

—John Grooms, Creative Loafing, Charlotte 


Reed's tale, crafted amid ground zero's dust, is chilling in its clarity and inspired in its skewering of Orwell's stilted style. Whether you liked or loathed the original, there's no denying Reed has captured the state of the farm today.

—Jay Macdonald, Fort Myers News-Press


This book has something to upset almost everyone who reads it, just like a good book should.

—Dennis Loy Johnson


A volatile new novel.  

—Arthur Salm, San Diego Union Tribune


The New York author has ignited a fierce literary debate; is it ever right to write a book modeled on a classic, that twists the original message into unrecognizable form?  

—David Robinson, Jacqui Goddard, Scotsman


Snowball’s Chance parodies Orwell’s Animal Farm, dragging it kicking and screaming into the 21st century.  

—Edward Nawotka, Publisher’s Weekly 


Reed skewers our early 21st century (edgy, tragic, absurd) with a marvelously precise wit.

—Faren Miller, Locus Magazine


[Reed] not only shanghais Orwell’s story, but amps up and mocks the writer’s famously flat, didactic style–that fairytailish simplicity that has ensured Animal Farm a place in high school English classes for the last 50 years.

—John Strausbaugh, New York Press 


Fearless, provocative, and both reverent and irreverent at the same time.

—Robert Lopez, WordRiot


One of the keenest thinkers of our time.

—Shathley Q, PopMatters


John Reed ... is getting what he never knew he wanted, hate from right wing groups!

—Daniel Robert Epstein, SuicideGirls



Tales of Woe (MTV, 2010):


The Grotesque is alive and well ... a dash of Rod Sterling with a touch of Alfred E. Neuman. 

—Jesse Tangen-Mill, Rain Taxi 


A truly memorable and heart-wrenching book.

—Chris Arrant, Newsarama 


John Reed’s Tales of Woe presents a sprawling landscape of contemporary apocalyptic vistas painted in the sweeping vignette brushstrokes of a master artist’s hand. Reed, whose previous All the World’s a Grave alerted the world to a timbre of postmodern genius never before seen in American letters, cements his historical legacy with Tales of Woe.

—Rami Shamir, Evergreen Review 


Tales of Woe is a macabre compilation of 25 true stories of misfortune, pain and suffering presented in their naked, stark reality without resolution or justice. ...  Tales of Woe violently strips the silver lining off of tragedy and presents it as it is most often experienced—without hope. 

—Sean Patrick Kelly, New York Press


Novelist John Reed set out to write a book about abject misery and he has succeeded. This month MTV Press is publishing Tales of Woe, a title so appropriate to the unrelenting suffering the book details that there’s little to tell you beyond that. ...  Powerful, disturbing and unforgettably painful.  

—Calvin Reid, Publisher’s Weekly


Completely void of didacticism, hope, and redemption. Instead, Tales of Woe offers a parade of captivating, affronting stories that challenge and delight—er, disturb—the reader.

—Ben Mirov, Bomb Magazine


An imaginative, eloquent and even funny way of expressing outrage about human behavior  ... truly an accomplishment.  

—David Winner, The American


Fictionaut loves it LOVES IT ... True stories without any redeeming character whatsoever—just bleak, bleak, unremitting, and undeserved. 

Fictionaut 


Tales of Woe is epic.  

—Nicolle Elizabeth, The Faster Times


Stories are so dark that they cast no light. Don’t expect happy endings here.  

—Lauren Betesh, West Side Spirit


Tales of Woe, a book that will undoubtedly come to define our generational zeitgeist, in it's overturning of the thrall of commercialist catharsis. ...  after Friends and The X-Files, Boston Legal, House and The Corrections, reading Tales of Woe feels like a beginning, like the fertile soil of a generational nightmare has at last been properly tilled and readied for something to grow.  

—Shathley Q, Popmatters


These stories are especially horrifying since all of them are true. No happy endings, no redemption, just bad things happening to good people for no reason. Reed, like the ancient Greeks, brings catharsis to the reader through observation of others' suffering so that we may feel better about our own lives (and relatively trivial burdens).  

—David Gutowski, Largeheartedboy


So twisted and perverse, and so TRUE that even the editor of a horror blog walks away feeling a little sickened. ... Tales of Woe is nearly two hundred pages of strange and twisted tragedy without even the slightest inclination to serve up a single happy ending. It’s a sickening look at the horrors of real life from around the globe, and while I’m hesitant to recommend it, I have a feeling I pretty much just have.  

—Marc Patterson, Brutal as Hell


Reed’s dispassionate reportage combines with illustrations that nearly leap off the page, and grabs the reader by the throat, screaming “Unfair? Unfair doesn’t begin to define life!” ... Tales of Woe is not a book to be ignored. It is startling, scary, and relevant. It chills because the reader knows this is the world in which we live.  

—Miss Bob Etier, Blog Critics


A dark and deeply disturbing examination of injustice and misery the whole world over. That's a pretty fair assessment of the book Tales of Woe by John Reed. ...  The titular tales are clearly and deftly expressed, and its quite a handsome little package: a slightly-larger-than-paperback hardcover with white and red text printed on slick black paperstock, punctuated by occasional illustrations provided by some deeply-disturbed outsider minds. ... I have a feeling that, much like my VHS copy of Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, Tales of Woe will have a long and lonely shelf life, leering at me and hungrily licking its lips, just daring me to partake in it again. And, just like with Henry, I will occasionally succumb, only to feel guilty and dirty in its wake.   

—Jonny Metro, Midnite Media


A universe of sin, suffering, pain, dread, perversion, and depravity. ... If you like romance novels and happy endings, this might not be your cup of tea. If you are into horror, anthologies and want to read something different than the norm, hit your local Barnes & Noble or visit Amazon online.  

—Geofree Capodanno, Enter the Caveman


The most depressing, unbelievable, gore-soaked, abusive, disturbing and generally unacceptable stories you’ll ever hear, and they’re all TRUE! ... ugly, disturbing and unapologetic. Definite stocking-stuffer material for the nihilist on your list."  

—Andy Swist, Campblood.org


In Tales of Woe, John Reed assumes the role of a modern day Crypt Creeper and shares tales of shocking horror and absurd tragedy. The stories are nearly as strange as anything E.C. Comics ever published. ... Except, unlike the Crypt Creeper, the stories John Reed tells are all true.  

—John Struan, Superpunch


The stories are dark, disturbing, disgusting, and horrid...yet I couldn't stop reading! From the first story of a baboon mistaking an infant for a meal, to the story of what albino humans are used for in Tanzania, to the tale of a man having too close of a relationship with animals. ..this book is a great read (if you can handle it).

—Rhonny Reaper, Dollar Bin Horror


Tales of Woe is a depressing and harrowing success. ... I must warn you, however.  Tread that road carefully.  

—The Mike, From Midnight, With Love


Stories are so dark that they cast no light. Don’t expect happy endings here.  

—Lauren Betesh, West Side Spirit


So twisted and perverse, and so TRUE that even the editor of a horror blog walks away feeling a little sickened. ... Tales of Woe is nearly two hundred pages of strange and twisted tragedy without even the slightest inclination to serve up a single happy ending. It’s a sickening look at the horrors of real life from around the globe, and while I’m hesitant to recommend it, I have a feeling I pretty much just have.

—Marc Patterson, Brutal as Hell



All The World’s A Grave (Penguin/Plume 2008):


I had just decided to name my new play “A Year Without Shakespeare,” to express my weariness with the recurring unimaginative return again and again to the Bard. Then I came upon John Reed’s NEW/old play, and I feel fired up! What a dramatic re-imagination is herein offered us!  

—Richard Foreman


The literary trick of the year! 

—Page 6, New York Post


I can’t quite believe “All The World’s A Grave”: such an original idea. 

—Ian McKellen


It’s a shrewd, gutsy remix that brings the conscience of Shakespeare to our troubled times.

—Spalding Gray 


In All The World’s A Grave, Reed is a director, an orchestrator, and an assembler taking what was present to work with, and making one brand new Reed/Shakespeare partnership play. He says it’s a Shakespeare play, but really it’s a Reed. How could it not be? Reed does to Shakespeare what Shakespeare did to himself. However, this is part of his big question, his radical literary populism, asking where is the author now, where lies the genius ? ... It is at once an act of homage and conquest.  

—Jordan A. Rothacker, The Believer


An inspired bit of bricolage ... This “remix version” of Shakespeare proves fascinating and entertaining. Reed clearly loves the Bard. His pastiche contains many of Shakespeare’s best passages, which are always a delight to reread. More impressive, though, Reed fashions from this familiar material a story containing enough surprises to delight even those well versed in the Bard.  

—Jack Helbig, Booklist 


What's destabilizing—and often wildly comical—is not just the rude mash-up of characters and settings violently plucked from their canonical sources but the way in which the power of Shakespeare's language flickers uneasily, surging and hissing and fizzing out only to revive and fade again as the words play against their new contexts. 

—Christianity Today, Favorite Books of 2008 


We haven’t experienced this much haughtiness since college!

—Timeout New York


A proven Thomas Edison ... sophisticated fun.

—Allan Jalon, Huffington Post


Reed caramelizes the Bard’s plays into a great and terrifying world ... a dizzying feat of writing and scholarship, and uncannily contemporary in its brew of constant trouble. 

—Lynne Tillman


This is the Frankenstein's monster of Shakespearean tragedy. It raises the Artistotelian emotions of pity and fear to a new level as the audience agonizes over the uncertainty of which catharsis John Reed's play is heading toward.

—William S. Niederkorn


Reed has brought music's remix culture to literature with stunning results.

—David Gutowski, largeheartedboy


All the World’s a Grave alerted the world to a timbre of postmodern genius never before seen in American letters. 

—Rami Shamir, Evergreen Review


This send-up of the bard is both new yet familiar; by using a literary form of montage, Reed plays with our understanding of some of the best known characters from Shakespeare's oeuvre and creates a work that is eerie in its timeliness. 

—Finn Harvor, Rain Taxi 


The language is Shakespeare's, but the drama that unfolds is as fresh as the blood on the stage.

—Fictionwise


The resulting story is both familiar and fresh, and the characters are energized and enlightened. Reed’s juxtaposition allows him to give added depth and dimension to characters. ..  Shakespeare fans can expect classics, like Hamlet’s “to be or not to be” soliloquy or Lady Macbeth’s “Out, damned spot! Out, I say!” lament. But Shakespeare fans will have particular fun catching all the familiar Shakespeare lines that come in surprising contexts. It’s not Juliet, for instance, who cries “O Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou, oh Romeo?”          

—Scholarsandrogues 


With all the cleverness of Touchstone and the mischievousness of Puck, Reed has boldly reimagined the Bard by cutting, pasting, puzzling, and rearranging Shakespeare's own words and characters into an entirely new play. ... Reed has tapped into that muse and produced a re-envisioned Shakespeare that proves to be both provocative, substantial, and entertaining.              

—hipsterbookclub


A new and invigorating interpretation ... electrifying and comprehensive.  

—Zoe Rosenthal, BatesStudent



Duh Whole (MTV 2004):


John Reed excels in the realm of the strange.

—San Francisco Examiner

 

Philip K. Dick, Hunter S. Thompson, William S. Burroughs and T.S. Eliot come crashing together! 

—Jason Pettus, CCLaP 


Reed skewers our early 21st century (edgy, tragic, absurd) with a marvelously precise wit.  

—Faren Miller, Locus Magazine


Satire at its most inventive and buoyant. ... It would have made Boris Vian grin and Lewis Carroll blush.  

—Donald Breckenridge, Brooklyn Rail


Well-done, MTV, for publishing this terrific skewering of … MTV. 

—William Georgiades, New York Post


A caustically brilliant satire ... as brainy as it is base, destructive as it is innovative and sweeping as it is sophisticated.  

—Graham Reed, Los Angeles Journal


Philip K. Dick got nuthin on John Reed! 

—Laura Albert / J.T. Leroy 


Charming but obnoxious.  

—Lisa Nuch Venbrux, Popmatters

 


A Still Small Voice (Delacorte, 2000) 


John Reed has woven a historical novel about hope and love that is touchingly told; A Still Small Voice verifies that if one has true faith in what one desires, anything is possible.  

—Suzan Sherman, Bomb Magazine


A Still Small Voice has discernible power. … Truly magnificent.  

—Randall W. Allred, Civil War Book Review 


Reed shows real brilliance.  

—Neil Chethik, Lexington Herald-Leader


John Reed’s A Still Small Voice is a beautiful and poignant novel.  It lives in the details, which are so vividly and authentically right that they become part of our own personal experience ... our own memory.  Reed has distilled and concentrated the Civil War into the joys, sorrows, and faith of a girl coming of age during a dark and dangerous time.

—Jack Dann


First-time novelist Reed leads us poetically through ... two decades, setting vivid details of the Civil War against the passions of a girl saying goodbye.  

—Glamour Magazine


John Reed’s prose style is a heady mix of restraint and exuberance.  In A Still Small Voice, Reed combines the attentiveness of a naturalist, the factual accuracy of an historian.

—Matthew Sharpe


With gorgeous writing and a powerful sense of history, John Reed makes a stunning debut.  You'll fall into this remarkable novel from the first sentence.  Reed is a heartthrob of a writer, and A Still Small Voice shines with his passion.

—Molly Peacock


Readers who enjoy an in-depth look at society during the Civil War will delight in John Reed’s A Still Small Voice. The story is filled with insightful tidbits and an interesting perspective of life in a border town. … An incredible historical character study. 

—Harriet Klausner