Lev Grossman

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Lev Grossman
Lev grossman 2011.jpg
Grossman at the 2011 Texas Book Festival
Born (1969-06-26) June 26, 1969 (age 53)
EducationLexington High School
Alma materHarvard University
Yale University
  • Novelist
  • critic
  • journalist
SpouseSophie Gee
Parent(s)Judith Grossman (mother)
Allen Grossman (father)
RelativesAustin Grossman (brother)
Bathsheba Grossman (sister)

Lev Grossman (born June 26, 1969) is an American novelist and journalist who wrote The Magicians Trilogy: The Magicians (2009), The Magician King (2011), and The Magician's Land (2014). He was the book critic and lead technology writer at Time magazine from 2002 to 2016.[1] His recent work includes the children's book The Silver Arrow, and the screenplay for the film The Map of Tiny Perfect Things, based on his short story.

Early life[edit]

Grossman was born on June 26, 1969 in Concord, Massachusetts.[2] He is the twin brother of video game designer and novelist Austin Grossman, brother of sculptor Bathsheba Grossman, and son of the poet Allen Grossman and the novelist Judith Grossman. Grossman's father was born Jewish[3] and his mother was raised Anglican,[4] but Grossman has said, "I grew up in a very unreligious household. Very. I have no religion at all. So I come at religion as about as much of an outsider as you can be in Western civilization."[5] On the assumption that he was raised Jewish, he has said, "I have this extremely old-world name, and people can invite me to as many Jewish book festivals as they want to--but I wasn't raised Jewish."[4] He is an alumnus of Lexington High School and Harvard College. He graduated from Harvard in 1991 with a degree in literature.[6] Grossman then attended a Ph.D. program in comparative literature for three years at Yale University, but dropped out before completing his dissertation.[citation needed]



Grossman has written for The New York Times, Wired, Salon.com, Lingua Franca, Entertainment Weekly, Time Out New York, The Wall Street Journal, and The Village Voice. He has served as a member of the board of directors of the National Book Critics Circle and as the chair of the Fiction Awards Panel.[7] In May 2015, Grossman gave the third annual Tolkien Lecture at Pembroke College, Oxford.[8]

In writing for Time, he has also covered the consumer electronics industry, reporting on video games, blogs, viral videos and Web comics like Penny Arcade and Achewood. In 2006, he traveled to Japan to cover the unveiling of the Wii console.[9] He has interviewed Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Salman Rushdie, Neil Gaiman, Joan Didion, Jonathan Franzen, J.K. Rowling, and Johnny Cash. He wrote one of the earliest pieces on Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series.[10] A piece written by Grossman on the game Halo 3 was criticized for casting gamers in an "unfavorable light."[11] Grossman was also the author of the Time Person of the Year 2010 feature article on Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.[12]

Grossman did some freelancing and wrote for other magazines. Some of the works he wrote at this time include "The Death of a Civil Servant," "Good Novels Don't Have to be Hard," "Catalog This," "The Gay Nabokov," "When Words Fail," and "Get Smart." He freelanced at The Believer, the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Salon, Lingua Franca, and Time Digital. It was soon after this that his novel, Warp, was published.[1]

He quit his job at Time magazine in August 2016 to pursue writing full time.[1][13]


Lev Grossman's first novel, Warp, was published in 1997 after he moved to New York City.[6] Warp was about "the lyrical misadventures of an aimless 20-something in Boston who has trouble distinguishing between reality and Star Trek."[1] It received largely negative customer reviews on Amazon.com, and in response, Grossman submitted fake reviews to Amazon using false names. He then recounted these actions in an essay titled "Terrors of the Amazon".[14] His second novel, Codex, was published in 2004 and became an international bestseller.[6]

In an article for The New York Times Grossman wrote: "I wrote fiction for 17 years before I found out I was a fantasy novelist. Up till then I always thought I was going to write literary fiction, like Jonathan Franzen or Zadie Smith or Jhumpa Lahiri. But I thought wrong. ... Fantasy is sometimes dismissed as childish, or escapist, but I take what I am doing very, very seriously.[15]

Grossman's The Magicians was published in hardcover in August 2009 and became a bestseller. The trade paperback edition was made available on May 25, 2010. The Washington Post called it "Exuberant and inventive...Fresh and compelling...a great fairy tale."[16] The book is a dark contemporary fantasy about Quentin Coldwater, an unusually gifted young man who obsesses over Fillory, the magical land of his favorite childhood books. Unexpectedly admitted to Brakebills, a secret, exclusive college of magic in upstate New York (an amalgam of Bannerman's Castle and Olana), Quentin receives an education in the craft of modern sorcery. After graduation, he and his friends discover that Fillory is real.[17] Michael Agger of The New York Times said the book "could crudely be labeled a Harry Potter for adults," injecting mature themes into fantasy literature.[18] The Magicians won the 2010 Alex Award, given to ten adult books that are appealing to young adults, and the 2011 John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer.[19]

In August 2011, The Magician King, the sequel to The Magicians, was published, which returns readers to the magical land of Fillory, where Quentin and his friends are now kings and queens. The Chicago Tribune said The Magician King was "The Catcher in the Rye for devotees of alternative universes" and that "Grossman has created a rare, strange and scintillating novel."[20] It was an Editor's Choice pick of The New York Times, who called it "[A] serious, heartfelt novel [that] turns the machinery of fantasy inside out."[21] The Boston Globe said "The Magician King is a rare achievement, a book that simultaneously criticizes and celebrates our deep desire for fantasy."[22]

The third book in the series is titled The Magician's Land[23][24] and was published on 5 August 2014.[25]

In September 2016, Grossman announced that he was working on a King Arthur novel called The Bright Sword.[26]

In July 2019, Grossman, with co-writer Lilah Sturges and illustrator Pius Bak, released The Magicians: Alice's Story, a graphic novel told from the perspective of Alice, a secondary character from the book series.

Grossman's first children's book, The Silver Arrow, was published in September 2020. It debuted on the New York Times Best Seller list on September 27, 2020.[27]

Film and television[edit]

Grossman's Magicians trilogy was adapted for television by Sera Gamble and John McNamara for Syfy. The series received five seasons and aired from December 2015 to April 2020.

Grossman wrote the screenplay for the film The Map of Tiny Perfect Things, based on his short story of the same name. The film was released through Amazon Prime Video on February 12, 2021.[28]

Personal life[edit]

Grossman lives in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn[29] with his second wife, Sophie Gee, whom he married in early 2010,[citation needed] and his daughter Lily[30] from a previous marriage.[citation needed] On June 10, 2010, his daughter Halcyon Harriet Graham was born.[31] In September 2012, his third child, Benedict, was born.[30] Despite his parents' religious backgrounds, and the fact that he has included religion in his work, Grossman is a self-professed atheist.[32]


  • Warp, New York: St. Martin's Griffin/Macmillan, 1997. ISBN 978-0-312-17059-2
  • Codex, New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2004. ISBN 978-0-15-101066-0
  • The Magicians, New York: Viking/Penguin, 2009. ISBN 978-0-670-02055-3 (hardcover); Plume/Penguin, 2010. ISBN 978-0-452-29629-9 (trade paperback)
  • The Magician King (novel), New York: Viking/Penguin, 2011. ISBN 978-0-670-02231-1
  • The Magician's Land (novel), New York: Viking/Penguin/PRH, 2014. ISBN 978-0-670-01567-2
  • The Magicians: Alice's Story (graphic novel) (with Lilah Sturges), Archala, 2019. ISBN 978-1-684-15021-2
  • The Magicians #1 (comic) (with Lilah Sturges), BOOM! - Archaia, 2019 ASIN B07ZL5CK1F
  • The Magicians #2 (comic) (with Lilah Sturges), BOOM! - Archaia, 2019 ASIN B07ZL52X49
  • The Magicians #3 (comic) (with Lilah Sturges), BOOM! - Archaia, 2020 ASIN B083C4SLZW
  • The Magicians #4 (comic) (with Lilah Sturges), BOOM! - Archaia, 2020 ASIN B083C5F5TG
  • The Silver Arrow, Little, Brown, 2020. ISBN 978-0-316-54170-1
  • The Golden Swift, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2022. ISBN 9780316283861


Film and TV[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2015–2020 The Magicians Series consultant TV series based on his series The Magicians
2021 The Map of Tiny Perfect Things Screenwriter Film based on his short story Map
TBD The Heavens Story by In development with the Russo brothers

Other credits[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Time | Lev Grossman". Lev Grossman. Archived from the original on April 4, 2019. Retrieved March 1, 2018.
  2. ^ "Lev Grossman" in Marquis' Who's Who on the Web [database online] Marquis Who's Who. Retrieved 2007-03-05.
  3. ^ Yarrow, Allison Gaudet (September 6, 2011). "Lev Grossman Writes Fantasy Novels Even a Grown-Up Can Love". The Forward. Archived from the original on August 3, 2020. Retrieved November 18, 2019.
  4. ^ a b Patrick, Bethanne (August 16, 2011). "The Writer's Life: Portrait of the Artist: Lev Grossman". Shelf Awareness. Archived from the original on August 3, 2020. Retrieved November 18, 2019.
  5. ^ Winter, Brent (March 27, 2014). "5 Questions With Lev Grossman". NC State University News. Archived from the original on July 9, 2022. Retrieved November 18, 2019.
  6. ^ a b c "About Lev - Lev Grossman". Lev Grossman. Archived from the original on March 21, 2014. Retrieved March 14, 2014.
  7. ^ Ciabattari, Jane (January 22, 2009). "Lev Grossman Predicts…". "Critical Mass": National Book Critics Circle Blog. Archived from the original on July 21, 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2009.
  8. ^ Gabriel (June 11, 2015). "Video: Lev Grossman, 'Fear and Loathing in Aslan's Land'". The J.R.R. Tolkien Lecture on Fantasy Literature. Archived from the original on May 21, 2020. Retrieved July 9, 2022.
  9. ^ Grossman, Lev (May 8, 2006). "A Game For All Ages". Time. Archived from the original on June 15, 2006.
  10. ^ Grossman, Lev (April 24, 2008). "Stephenie Meyer: A New J.K. Rowling?". Time. Archived from the original on April 29, 2008.
  11. ^ "Time Magazine Takes Shots at Gamers with Halo 3 Article". Gaming Today. September 4, 2007. Archived from the original on September 7, 2007. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  12. ^ Grossman, Lev (December 15, 2010). "Person Of The Year 2010". Time. Archived from the original on December 19, 2010.
  13. ^ "Transparency". Lev Grossman. Archived from the original on March 1, 2018. Retrieved March 1, 2018.
  14. ^ Grossman, Lev (March 2, 1999). "Terrors of the Amazon". Salon.com. Archived from the original on September 27, 2017. Retrieved July 9, 2022.
  15. ^ Grossman, Lev (August 16, 2014). "Finding My Voice in Fantasy". The New York Times. Archived from the original on July 9, 2022. Retrieved July 9, 2022.
  16. ^ Donohoe, Keith (August 1, 2009). "Post-Harry Potter, The Spell Is Cast". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on November 8, 2012. Retrieved August 1, 2010.
  17. ^ Carlo Rovelli. "Used, New, and Out of Print Books - We Buy and Sell - Powell's Books". Archived from the original on July 31, 2009. Retrieved August 17, 2009.
  18. ^ Agger, Michael (September 13, 2009). "Abracadabra Angst". The New York Times. Archived from the original on March 27, 2017. Retrieved June 24, 2011.
  19. ^ 2011 Hugo Awards, 2012, archived from the original on May 4, 2012, retrieved September 15, 2012
  20. ^ Keller, Julia (August 12, 2011). "At Summer's End, Adventure". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on December 21, 2011. Retrieved September 23, 2011.
  21. ^ Kois, Dan (August 26, 2011). "Further Adventures of a Magician from Brooklyn". The New York Times. Archived from the original on September 1, 2011. Retrieved September 23, 2011.
  22. ^ Domestico, Anthony (August 9, 2011). "A teen-turned-king finds his way in dark fantasy world". The Boston Globe. Archived from the original on August 29, 2011. Retrieved September 23, 2011.
  23. ^ "Stepping Away from the Vehicle". Lev Grossman. September 9, 2013. Archived from the original on November 13, 2013. Retrieved November 13, 2013.
  24. ^ St. James, Emily (August 10, 2011). "Review: The Magician King". The A.V. Club. Archived from the original on November 13, 2013. Retrieved November 13, 2013.
  25. ^ "Lev Grossman - The Magicians Land cover art and synopsis". Upcoming4.me. November 26, 2013. Archived from the original on December 2, 2013.
  26. ^ Liptak, Andrew (September 28, 2016). "Lev Grossman will reimagine King Arthur's legacy in The Bright Sword". The Verge. Archived from the original on September 27, 2017. Retrieved March 3, 2017.
  27. ^ "Children's Middle Grade Hardcover Books - Best Sellers - Sept. 27, 2020 - The New York Times". The New York Times Best Seller list. September 27, 2020. Archived from the original on May 5, 2021. Retrieved October 20, 2020.
  28. ^ Fox, Sarah (January 14, 2021). "Kathryn Newton's 'The Map of Tiny Perfect Things' Sets February Release". Slanted. Archived from the original on January 28, 2021. Retrieved February 8, 2021.
  29. ^ Sierra, Jeremiah (August 13, 2015). "Local Author Lev Grossman On Escaping Brooklyn Without Leaving It". Bklyner. Archived from the original on February 24, 2019. Retrieved February 24, 2019.
  30. ^ a b "Benedictus: Thoughts on Being a Writer and Having Children". Lev Grossman. September 16, 2012. Archived from the original on November 4, 2013. Retrieved August 27, 2013.
  31. ^ Grossman, Lev (June 28, 2010). "The Flight of the Halcyon: Or, I Had a Baby" Archived September 27, 2017, at the Wayback Machine. Lev Grossman.
  32. ^ "The Dying and Reviving God" Lev Grossman Blog http://levgrossman.com/tag/the-dying-and-reviving-god/ Archived July 9, 2022, at the Wayback Machine

External links[edit]