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Lev Grossman

Lev Grossman
Grossman at the 2011 Texas Book Festival
Born (1969-06-26) June 26, 1969 (age 46)
Education Lexington High School, Harvard University, Yale University
Occupation Novelist, critic, journalist
Relatives Austin Grossman (brother)
Bathsheba Grossman (sister)
Judith Grossman (mother)
Allen Grossman (father)
Sophie Gee (wife)

Lev Grossman (born June 26, 1969)[1] is an American novelist and journalist, notably the author of the novels Warp (1997), Codex (2004),[2] The Magicians (2009), The Magician King (2011), and The Magician's Land (2014). He is a senior writer and book critic for TIME.



Grossman has written for The New York Times, Wired,, 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.[3]

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.[4] 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.[5] A piece written by Grossman on the game Halo 3 was criticized for casting gamers in an "unfavorable light."[6] Grossman was also the author of the Time Person of the Year 2010 feature article on Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.[7]

Lev Grossman also did some freelancing and wrote for other magazines.[8] 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.”[8] He freelanced at The Believer, the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Salon, Lingua Franca, and Time Digital.[8] It was soon after this that his novel, Warp, was published.[8]

In 1997, in response to his novel Warp receiving largely negative customer reviews, he submitted fake reviews to Amazon using false names. He then recounted these actions in an essay titled "Terrors of the Amazon".[9]


Lev Grossman's first novel, Warp, was published after he moved to New York city.[10] It was published in 1997.[10] Warp was about "the lyrical misadventures of an aimless 20-something in Boston who has trouble distinguishing between reality and Star Trek."[8] His second novel, Codex (novel), was published in 2004 and became an international bestseller.[10] After Codex, Grossman published the book that he is most well known for, The Magicians.

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.[11]

Grossman’s New York Times bestseller The Magicians was published in hardcover in August 2009. 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.”[12] The New York Times said the book "could crudely be labeled a Harry Potter for adults," injecting mature themes into fantasy literature.[13]

The Magicians is a contemporary dark 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.[14]

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.[15]

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."[16] 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."[17] The Boston Globe said "The Magician King is a rare achievement, a book that simultaneously criticizes and celebrates our deep desire for fantasy."[18]

In November, 2011, Grossman confirmed that he had started working on a sequel to The Magicians and The Magician King, suggesting that the series would be a trilogy. The third book in the series is titled The Magician's Land[19][20] and was published on 5 August 2014.[21]

He also confirmed that he has sold the rights for a television adaptation of The Magicians, but stated that he does not believe the source material would be conducive to a film adaptation.[22]

Personal life

Grossman 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. He is an alumnus of Lexington High School and Harvard College. He graduated from Harvard in 1991 with a degree in literature.[10] Grossman then attended a Ph.D. program in comparative literature for three years at Yale University, but left before completing his dissertation. He lives in Brooklyn with a daughter named Lily from a previous marriage and his second wife, Sophie Gee, whom he married in early 2010. In 2012, his third child, Benedict, was born.[23]



  1. ^ "Lev Grossman" in Marquis' Who's Who on the Web [database online] Marquis Who's Who. Retrieved 2007-03-05.
  2. ^ Interview with Lev Grossman - Codex Harcourt Trade Publishers
  3. ^ National Book Critics Circle blog - Critical Mass: Lev Grossman Predicts
  4. ^ A Game For All Ages
  5. ^ Stephenie Meyer: A New J.K. Rowling?
  6. ^ Time Magazine Takes Shots at Gamers with Halo 3 Article
  7. ^ "Person Of The Year 2010". Time. December 15, 2010. 
  8. ^ a b c d e Retrieved from Lev on 3/14/2014.
  9. ^ Lev Grossman. Terrors of the Amazon,, March 2, 1999
  10. ^ a b c d Retrieved from Lev on 3/14/2014.
  11. ^ Finding My Voice in Fantasy by Lev Grossman, NY Times, August 16, 2014
  12. ^ Keith Donohoe (August 1, 2009). "Post-Harry Potter, The Spell Is Cast". The Washington Post (The Washington Post Company). Retrieved August 1, 2010. 
  13. ^ Agger, Michael (September 13, 2009). "Abracadabra Angst". The New York Times (The New York Times Company). Retrieved 24 June 2011. 
  14. ^
  15. ^ 2011 Hugo Awards, 2012, retrieved 2012-09-15 
  16. ^ Keller, Julia (August 12, 2011). "At Summer's End, Adventure". The Chicago Tribune. Retrieved September 23, 2011. 
  17. ^ Kois, Dan (August 26, 2011). "Further Adventures of a Magician from Brooklyn". The New York Times. Retrieved September 23, 2011. 
  18. ^ Domestico, Anthony (August 9, 2011). "A teen-turned-king finds his way in dark fantasy world". The Boston Globe. Retrieved September 23, 2011. 
  19. ^
  20. ^ Todd VanDerWerff (10 August 2011). "Review: The Magician King". The A.V. Club. 
  21. ^ "Lev Grossman - The Magicians Land cover art and synopsis". 26 November 2013. 
  22. ^ Kain, Erik (November 3, 2011). Forbes  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  23. ^ “Benedictus: Thoughts on Being a Writer and Having Children” (15 September 2012). Retrieved from Lev on 8/27/2013.

External links

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