Stephen Elliott (author)

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Stephen Elliott
Stephen Elliott at the 2013 Texas Book Festival.
Stephen Elliott at the 2013 Texas Book Festival.
Born (1971-12-03) December 3, 1971 (age 48)
  • Journalist
  • writer
  • editor
  • filmmaker
  • activist
EducationMather High School
Alma materUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign;
Northwestern University
GenreNovel; filmmaker
Notable worksHappy Baby 2004, The Adderall Diaries 2009
Notable awardsStegner Fellowship

Stephen Elliott (born December 3, 1971) is an American writer, editor, and filmmaker[1] currently living in Los Angeles who has written and published seven books and directed two films. He is the founder and former Editor-in-Chief of the online literary magazine The Rumpus. In December 2014, he became senior editor at Epic Magazine.

Background and education[edit]

Elliott grew up in Chicago. In his adolescence he was made a ward of the court[2] and placed in several group homes. He attended Mather High School and the University of Illinois, and went on to receive his master's degree in cinema studies from Northwestern University in 1996.[1] In 2001, he was awarded the Stegner Fellowship from Stanford University,[3] given to emerging writers in fiction and poetry. He was then the Marsh McCall lecturer in Creative Writing at Stanford University.[3] Elliott is Jewish on his father's side.[4]

Books and journalism[edit]

Elliott went on the campaign trail and wrote a book about the 2004 U.S. presidential race, Looking Forward to It: or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying About It and Love the American Electoral Process.[5] His novel Happy Baby, edited by Dave Eggers and co-published by McSweeney's and MacAdam/Cage, was released in February 2004. The paperback of Happy Baby was published by Picador in January 2005. His book My Girlfriend Comes to the City and Beats Me Up is a collection of S&M erotica, sometimes referred to as a sexual memoir, published by Cleis Press in 2006.

In April 2007, he published an essay about his experiment of not using the Internet for one month, writing: "I could feel my attention span lengthening. I would think about problems until I figured them out."[6]

In 2008, he started The Rumpus, an online cultural commentary site.[7]

In 2009, he published a true-crime memoir about the Hans Reiser murder trial called The Adderall Diaries, which was adapted into the 2015 film of the same name, in which James Franco played Elliott.


In 2012, Elliott directed the film About Cherry, based on a script written by Lorelei Lee and himself. The film starred Ashley Hinshaw, James Franco and Dev Patel, and debuted at the 2012 Berlin International Film Festival.

In December 2012, Elliott raised the funds via Kickstarter to shoot his second film, Happy Baby, based on his novel of the same name. Production was completed on July 7, 2013[8] and the movie was released in 2016.[9]

Published works[edit]

  • Jones Inn (1998)
  • A Life Without Consequences (2001)
  • What It Means to Love you (2002)
  • Happy Baby (2004)
Essays and Non-fiction
  • Looking Forward to It: Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the American Electoral Process (2004)
  • The Adderall Diaries: A Memoir of Moods, Masochism, and Murder (2009)
  • Sometimes I Think About It: Essays (2017)
Short story collections
  • My Girlfriend Comes to the City and Beats Me Up (2006)


Personal life[edit]

In November 2015, Claire Vaye Watkins published an essay in Tin House describing an incident where Elliott was allegedly sexually aggressive and left her uncomfortable.[10] In 2017, Elliot was included on the "Shitty Media Men" list, a crowd-sourced Google spreadsheet containing allegations of sexual misconduct against men in the media industry.[11] The allegations against Elliott included "rape accusations, sexual harassment” and “coercion"[12]. In October 2018, Elliot filed a lawsuit against the person who started the spreadsheet, journalist Moira Donegan.[13] After Elliott filed the suit against Donegan, according to The Daily Beast, former Rumpus managing editor Lyz Lenz accused Elliott of groping her and described on Twitter an incident where Elliott "hounded" her about watching a movie in his hotel room. However the Daily Beast does not quote Lenz as saying Elliott groped her and Lenz' tweetstorm linked to in the Daily Beast article has since been deleted. [14][15] In an article in The Federalist, Elliott stated that, despite being anonymously accused of rape, "no one has ever come forward with anything resembling a rape charge."[16]


  1. ^ a b Spencer, Ruth (October 11, 2018). "Stephen Elliott Sues Moira Donegan, Creator of Shitty Media Men List". The Cut. Retrieved October 11, 2018.
  2. ^ Warren, Ellen (March 18, 2005). "Stories of a troubled man". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved January 11, 2011.
  3. ^ a b Stanford University
  4. ^
  5. ^ Keith Gessen, "Boys on the Bus," New York Magazine, May 21, 2005.
  6. ^ Elliott, Stephen. "Surviving a Month Without Internet". Poets and Writers.
  7. ^ The Rumpus, accessed March 19, 2015
  8. ^ Happy Baby Movie Website (archived)
  9. ^ Happy Baby on IMDB
  10. ^ "On Pandering | Tin House". Tin House. 2015-11-23. Retrieved 2018-10-24.
  11. ^ "Writer Who Appeared on 'Media Men' List Sues Its Creators". Retrieved 2018-10-12.
  12. ^ "Writer Who Appeared on 'Media Men' List Sues Its Creators". Retrieved 2018-10-12.
  13. ^ "Creator of notorious 'Media Men' list of anonymous sexual accusations is sued by writer who says it nearly ruined him". Washington Post. Retrieved 2018-10-12.
  14. ^ "Opinion | What Do You Do When You Are Anonymously Accused of Rape?". Retrieved 2018-10-24.
  15. ^ Weill, Kelly (October 12, 2018). "'Sh*tty Media Man' Stephen Elliott Sues to Dox Women". Daily Beast. Retrieved December 23, 2019. Lenz, who has gone on to a writing career of her own, accused Elliott of groping and harassing her. “Remember when I was an unpaid editor at your magazine and we met at AWP where you invited me up to your room to watch a movie and I declined?” Lenz tweeted. “But you didn't take no for an answer. You hounded me. I hid under a table.”
  16. ^ "Opinion | When Men Kill Themselves Over Unproven Allegations, Me Too Has Gone Too Far". Retrieved 2018-10-24.

External links[edit]