Writing

Maureen’s poetry and short stories have been published in journals and magazines, including Home Planet News, Mothering Magazine, The Literary Review, and the Woodstock Journal. She has two books of fiction: Red Hook Stories, about the Brooklyn neighborhood in the 1980s, and Dear Red, The Lost Diary of Marilyn Monroe. “When I told my mother that I wanted to be a writer, she called in a favor to her friend Marguerite, to mentor me. Marguerite gave me reading assignments, critiqued my work, helped place my first poem in a journal, and arranged for my first public reading at University of Washington.”

Dear Red

Dear Red, The Lost Diary of Marilyn Monroe, was published in 2017. McNeil’s meticulously researched novel invites readers into the intimacy of Marilyn Monroe’s Brentwood home.
Imagine holding Marilyn’s lost diary on your lap for 216 days, her voice in your ear, impressions of dogs and bike rides, memories of married life with DiMaggio and Arthur Miller, reveries of a future with Dreamboat. Marilyn is a brilliant, funny, hard-working artist, and the ups and downs of her life reveal an emotional truth about her death at age of thirty-six, just as she signed a million-dollar contract with 20th Century Fox. Who is to blame? The film industry, as much as any barbiturate provided by physicians in league with them. But so is the fame industry, and the rampant sexism in America. Our loss of Marilyn is compounded when we realize we, too, are to blame. Read an excerpt from Dear Red
“Dear Red” is a testament not only to its author’s ability to crawl inside the incisive mind of the woman inside the icon, but to a body of research as exhaustive as any biographer’s.—Enid Futterman (See full review here.)
Purchase on Amazon

Red Hook Stories

Red Hook Stories, published in 2008, is a collection about the Brooklyn neighborhood in the 1980s. Just as photographers work “the golden hour” to reveal details that go unseen by night or day, this collection illuminates a neighborhood that has since disappeared. McNeil’s short stories and Neuhauser’s photographs speak to each other of life somehow surviving between the huge container ships, which rendered thousands of dockyard workers superfluous, and the decaying buildings they called home. Readers come to know bachelors, retired longshoremen and their families, welfare recipients, squatters and artists. Their voices create a colorful chorus that refuses to be silenced by a crack epidemic, gang violence, and political neglect. Check out the first chapter
Purchase on Amazon

Book Proposal: Dear Anne Frank: Writing Diaries Behind Bars

The story of Anne Frank is richly embedded in the contemporary cultural landscape, reaching across time and generations. So it should come as no surprise that prisoners in U.S. correctional institutions would respond positively to an invitation to read Anne’s diary, and, in turn, to keep diaries of their own.
These writings, along with commentary, descriptions and interviews, create riveting reading in Dear Anne Frank: Writing Diaries Behind Bars, a new nonfiction book by Cynthia L. Cooper and Maureen McNeil. The book evolved from the Prison Diary Project, a bold program that offers inmates a copy of The Diary of A Young Girl by Anne Frank and a blank diary to return with their own observations to the Anne Frank Center USA in New York. Read an excerpt from Dear Anne Frank: Writing Diaries Behind Bars