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Neena Viel, 2023-24 Hugo Fellow Mid-Year Check In

Neena Viel is a horror writer who lives in a cabin in the woods; her writing explores social horror and humor through a Black lens. Hailed by literary agent Sharon Pelletier as, “Jordan Peele meets Grady Hendrix,” Neena’s debut novel, Listen To Your Sister, is slated for a 2025 release from St. Martin’s Press. Neena shared some insight around her current project, as well as her experience as a Hugo Fellow, ahead of the Hugo Fellows Mid-Year Reading this Thursday!


Viel

Interview with 2023-24 Hugo Fellow, Neena Viel

Tell us more about your fellowship project!

I’m working on a horror novel that explores the Final Girl trope. I have big, delicious ideas about what happens when Black girls wander into the forest…and what happens to everyone else.

Tell us about working with Hugo House Writers-In-Residence, Joyce and Ching-In. What are you learning?

Before this experience, I wasn’t much for critique workshops—there are seemingly millions of ways it can go horribly wrong and the air gets sucked out of the room. Joyce and Ching-In are showing me a pathway where critique not only works but is enriching and fun! Their intentionality looks effortless, and I’m learning how to support others and myself.

Tell us about working with this cohort of Fellows. How has working within this group contributed to your craft and relationship with writing?

Nothing makes me want to write more than when I read something jaw-dropping by someone else. The unbelievable talent of the other Fellows and their incredible generosity as readers has created a positive self-fulfilling prophecy where I’m writing all the time and enjoying the hell out of it. I want to buy them all ten drinks.

Thank you, Neena, for the exciting updates! To hear more from Neena and her equally inspiring Fellows cohort, join us for the 2023-24 Hugo Fellows Mid-Year Reading this Thursday!