Michael Grothaus

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Michael Grothaus
Grothaus at a book signing at the Piccadilly Waterstones bookstore in London (2016)
Grothaus at a book signing at the Piccadilly Waterstones bookstore in London (2016)
BornMichael Grothaus
August 1977
Saint Louis, Missouri, United States of America
OccupationNovelist, journalist
EducationB.A. in Film and Journalism
M.A. in Creative Writing
Alma materColumbia College Chicago
University of London
Period1999 to present
GenreLiterary fiction
Transgressive fiction
Dark comedy
SubjectCelebrity culture
Film industry
Literary movementPostmodernism, Minimalism
Years active1999 to present
Notable worksEpiphany Jones

Michael Grothaus (born 1977) is an American novelist and journalist. He is best known for the novel Epiphany Jones and for his writing about internet subcultures in the digital age.


Michael Grothaus was born in Saint Louis, Missouri in 1977.[1] In 1998 he began attending Columbia College in Chicago where he studied film and journalism.[1][2][3] During his college years he started writing for Screen magazine, covering the local Chicago film industry. After graduating Grothaus took an internship with 20th Century Fox at the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France.[4] He would later use this experience as a basis for his first novel[2][5]

During his early 20s Grothaus worked for the Art Institute of Chicago, eventually writing and directing a children's film for them.[3] Grothaus then left the creative fields to pursue a career with Apple.[6] In 2007 he moved to London to study creative writing at the University of London, where he earned his MA in creative writing with Distinction.[2][7] Shortly after graduating he returned to journalism. His writing has appeared in Fast Company, the Irish Times, Litro Magazine, Vice, The Guardian, Engadget, Know your mobile,[8] among others.[4][5][9][10]


Grothaus began his journalism career covering the Chicago film industry for Screen magazine. He then moved into technology journalism, writing for popular websites including TUAW, Engadget, and nationals including The Guardian. However, Grothaus is best known for his regular writings about creativity and subcultures in the digital age for Vice and Fast Company.[11][12] Specifically he has written extensively on the enigmatic online organization Cicada 3301.[13][14] He also writes frequently about the convergence of sex,[15] pornography, and technology, including the subculture of fake celebrity pornography.[9]


Grothaus' debut novel is Epiphany Jones.[16] It was acquired by Orenda Books in 2015 and was published in June 2016.[17][18] The Bookseller described the novel as "an energetic, inventive, gritty and deeply moving thriller cum dark comedy, Epiphany Jones addresses the challenging subject of sex trafficking in a powerful narrative driven by exceptionally well-drawn, unforgettable protagonists."[19] The Sunday Express named Epiphany Jones as one of the 'Best Reads for the Summer', calling it "gloriously funny but dark as hell."[20] The Guardian named it one of the best recent novels, saying Epiphany Jones is "complex, inventive and a genuine shocker, this is the very opposite of a 'comfort' read."[21] Literary critic Maxim Jakubowski called Epiphany Jones "a truly impressive debut" and "a twisting tale at the same time realistically gripping and sardonic" and praised Grothaus' writing for having "a delicate fluency which contrasts with the depravity of his subject matter." The New York Daily News said Epiphany Jones "is a captivating story that manages to be funny, sinister and surprising" and praised Grothaus' main characters as "complex and well-rounded—equal parts sympathetic, mad and maddening."[22]

The novel is a social satire and dark comedy about America's obsession with sex, celebrity, and the internet, which explores a pornography addict's unwilling relationship with a woman who thinks she can speak to God and their entanglement with sex traffickers that cater to the Hollywood elite.[2][23] Grothaus has stated that his personal experiences at the Cannes Film Festival and his disillusionment with the Hollywood film industry were strong inspiration for the novel.[2] Before penning the novel, Grothaus spent six years researching sex trafficking.[24]

Grothaus has also spoken frequently about his dissatisfaction with things being the reasons he writes about what he does.[2] He also maintains that dissatisfaction is the most important tool a writer has.[10]


Epiphany Jones (2016) (ISBN 978-1910633335)

Honors and awards[edit]

Michael Grothaus was longlisted for the 2017 CWA New Blood Dagger Award for his debut novel Epiphany Jones.[25]

In 2018, Entertainment Weekly named Epiphany Jones one of the 25 "Most Irresistible Hollywood Novels."[26]


  1. ^ a b "The other side of the Glitz". The BookTrail.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Morgan, Robin. "Audible Interview With Michael Grothaus: Audible Sessions". Audible.
  3. ^ a b "Novel set in multiple locations, plus we chat to author Michael Grothaus". Trip Fiction.
  4. ^ a b Grothaus, Michael. "The Cannes Film Festival Can Be a Pretty Miserable Place". Vice.
  5. ^ a b Grothaus, Michael. "How Google Is Fighting Sex Trafficking With Big Data". Fast Company. Fast Company.
  6. ^ Dormehl, Luke. "How Apple's cafeteria inspired this Kickstarter smart food scale". Cult of Mac.
  7. ^ "Student Successes–Literary Novels". City University London. City University London.
  8. ^ richkym. "About Know Your Mobile: Mobile Phone Review Site". www.knowyourmobile.com. Retrieved 29 November 2022.
  9. ^ a b Grothaus, Michael. "The Poignant Tale of Two Fake Celebrity Porn Addicts". Vice.
  10. ^ a b Grothaus, Michael. "The importance of dissatisfaction to writing". The Irish Times.
  11. ^ Grothaus, Michael. "This Google Glass Porno Flick Foreshadows Your Future Sex Life". Fast Company.
  12. ^ Grothaus, Michael. "The Story Behind The Web's Weirdest, Hardest Riddle". Fast Company.
  13. ^ Grothaus, Michael. "Inside The Cicada 3301 Cabal". Fast Company.
  14. ^ Grothaus, Michael. "Meet The Man Who Solved The Mysterious Cicada 3301 Puzzle". Fast Company.
  15. ^ Grothaus, Michael. "Meet the UK's 'Most Expensive' Male Escort". Vice.
  16. ^ Epiphany Jones Paperback. Amazon. ASIN 191063333X.
  17. ^ Carpenter, Caroline (30 June 2016). "Pictures of the week | The Bookseller". thebookseller.com. The Bookseller. Retrieved 21 August 2016.
  18. ^ Sullivan, Karen. "Debut author Michael Grothaus joins Orenda!". Orenda Books.
  19. ^ Campbell, Lisa. "Orenda Books signs dark comedy thriller". The Bookseller.
  20. ^ Kerridge, Jake. "Your holiday's booked: Our pick of the best reads for summer". The Sunday Express.
  21. ^ Wilson, Laura. "The best recent crime novels – review roundup". The Guardian.
  22. ^ Chopin, Allison (24 August 2016). "'Epiphany Jones' book review: Sex crimes and psychosis in darkly funny thriller". The New York Daily News. The New York Daily News.
  23. ^ "Michael Grothaus – The Hanbury Agency". The Hanbury Agency.
  24. ^ Whetstone, David (3 April 2016). "Newcastle Noir set to bring masters and mistresses of crime to the city". ChronicleLive. Trinity Mirror North East.
  25. ^ "CWA Dagger Longlists". thecwa.co.uk. Retrieved 20 May 2017.
  26. ^ "The most irresistible Hollywood novels". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 24 July 2018.