Ben Greenman

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Greenman at the 2010 Brooklyn Book Festival.

Ben Greenman (born September 28, 1969) is a novelist, author, and magazine journalist who has written fiction and non-fiction books, as well as many collaborations with pop-music artists like Questlove, George Clinton, Brian Wilson, Gene Simmons, and others.



In 2001 McSweeneys published Greenman's debut, Superbad, a collection of humor pieces and serious short fiction that included several satirical musicals. It has the same title as, but not the same contents as, the popular teen comedy; Greenman engaged in a fake feud with Seth Rogen over the title. The book's cover art was a painting by the artist Mark Tansey. [1] Greenman's next book, Superworse, the Novel: A Remix of Superbad, was published in 2004 by Soft Skull, an independent Brooklyn publisher. It refashioned the book into a novel that was overseen and edited by a man named Laurence Once. Kirkus called it "something extraordinary." [2]

A Circle Is a Balloon and Compass Both[edit]

In 2007, Macadam/Cage published Greenman's second collection of stories. It was selected by Barnes and Noble for its Discover Great Writers series, and included both comic work and more serious stories like "In the Air Room," which fictionalized the famous controversy over James McNeill Whistler and the Peacock Room.[3] Elizabeth Gold, writing on SFGate, said that "the best of the stories in this collection are more than funny." [4]

Please Step Back[edit]

In 2009, Melville House published Greenman's second novel, which was a fictionalized biography of a funk-rock star based loosely on Sly Stone, Marvin Gaye, Curtis Mayfield, and others. The funk-rock star Swamp Dogg recorded a theme song for the book. [5]



In 2008, Hotel St. George press released a handmade and letterpress-printed edition of Greenman's book Correspondences that included an intricate book casing that unfolded to reveal three accordion books and a postcard. The project was reviewed favorably by the Los Angeles Times[6] and Time Out.[7]

What He's Poised To Do[edit]

In fall 2009 Greenman signed with Harper Collins: the first book will be What He's Poised To Do, an expanded paperback based on the material from Correspondences. The book was praised by Steve Almond in the Los Angeles Times.[8]

Celebrity Chekhov[edit]

Greenman then adapted the short stories of the Russian master Anton Chekhov, updating them by replacing their characters with modern celebrities. Pop Matters, praising the collection, said "the very, very best of these stories make us weep." [9]

The Slippage[edit]

Greenman's novel, The Slippage, was published by Harper Perennial in 2013, and received a highly positive review from the New York Times. The book included a character who was a chart artist and whose work consisted of meta-charts; Greenman created a number of them and posted them at and McSweeneys, among other places. The New York Times praised the novel as "fluid and commanding." [10]

Emotional Rescue[edit]

In the summer of 2016, Little A published Emotional Rescue, a collection of essays about pop music and relationships. [11]

Dig If You Will the Picture[edit]

A kaleidoscopic look into the life, legacy, and electricity of the pop legend Prince and his wideranging impact on our culture.


Greenman has also collaborated on celebrity memoirs. His most frequent collaborator has been Questlove; he co-wrote the hip-hop memoir Mo Meta Blues and also worked on a food-themed book called Something to Food About. [12] In addition, he wrote memoirs with the funk musician George Clinton [13] and Brian Wilson, the architect of the Beach Boys, as well as with the actress Mariel Hemingway,[14] Gene Simmons of KISS,[15] and Simon Cowell of American Idol. Both the Questlove [16] and the Wilson [17] were bestsellers.

Other work[edit]

Greenman's journalism and short fiction have appeared in many magazines and newspapers, including the New Yorker [18] the Paris Review,[19] Zoetrope: All-Story,[20] and more. He has also moderated many events, including Literary Death Match, Literary Upstart, and the National Book Foundation's 5 Under 35 Ceremony.[21]



  1. ^ "Superbad". 
  2. ^ "Superworse". 20 May 2004. 
  3. ^ Carroll, Tobias (8 September 2010). "The Rumpus Interview with Ben Greenman". 
  4. ^ Gold, Elizabeth (8 April 2007). "Romance-Free Love Stories for Our Seriously Weird Era". 
  5. ^ "Please Step Back, by Ben Greenman and Swamp Dogg". 15 April 2009. 
  6. ^ Kellogg, Carolyn (7 December 2008). "'Correspondences' by Ben Greenman". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 10 December 2008. Retrieved 2014-11-25. 
  7. ^ Sobieski, Sonya (3 December 2008). "Correspondences". Time Out. Retrieved 2014-11-25. 
  8. ^ Almond, Steve (20 June 2010). "'What He's Poised to Do,' by Ben Greenman - LATimes". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 6 August 2011. 
  9. ^ Karnes, Jamie (13 October 2010). "Celebrity Chekhov is as Much A Tribute As it is an Invention". 
  10. ^ Walsh, S. Kirk (7 June 2013). "'The Slippage' by Ben Greenman". New York Times. 
  11. ^ "Emotional Rescue". 1 August 2016. 
  12. ^ "Something To Food About". 12 April 2016. 
  13. ^ Weingarten, Marc (31 October 2014). "George Clinton's Funk Chronicle". 
  14. ^ MacVean, Mary (27 April 2015). "Mariel Hemingway Shares Family's Troubled History In Two New Memoirs". 
  15. ^ "KISS FAQ: Books about KISS". 
  16. ^ "Mo Meta Blues". 
  17. ^ "New York Times Celebrity Bestsellers". 
  18. ^ "New Yorker—Ben Greenman Archive". 
  19. ^ "No Friend Of Mine". 
  20. ^ "In the Air Room". 
  21. ^ "11th Annual 5 Under 35 Ceremony". 

External links[edit]