"The Adderall Diaries" redirects here. For the 2015 film adaptation, see The Adderall Diaries (film).

Stephen Elliott (born December 3, 1971) is an American author and activist living in Brooklyn, NY, who has written and published seven books and directed two films. He is the founder and current Editor-in-Chief of the online literary magazine The Rumpus. In December 2014, he became Senior Editor at Epic Magazine.

Background and education

Elliott grew up in Chicago. In his adolescence he was made a ward of the court[1] 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,[2] given to emerging writers in fiction and poetry. He was then the Marsh McCall lecturer in Creative Writing at Stanford University.[2] Elliott is Jewish on his father's side.[3]

Books and journalism

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.[4] 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, was 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."[5]

In 2008, Elliott started The Rumpus, an online cultural commentary site.[6]

[7] His most recent book is a true-crime memoir called The Adderall Diaries and was adapted into the film of the same name, where James Franco plays 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]

Published works

  • Happy Baby (2004)
  • What It Means to Love you (2002)
  • A Life Without Consequences (2001)
  • Jones Inn (1998)
Essays and Non-fiction
  • Looking Forward to It (2004)
  • The Adderall Diaries (2009)
Short story collections
  • My Girlfriend Comes to the City and Beats Me Up (2006)



  1. ^ a b Warren, Ellen (March 18, 2005). "Stories of a troubled man". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved January 11, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b Stanford University
  3. ^ http://orjewishlife.com/stephen-elliotts-incredible-journey/
  4. ^ Keith Gessen, "Boys on the Bus," New York Magazine, May 21, 2005.
  5. ^ Elliott, Stephen. "Surviving a Month Without Internet". Poets and Writers. 
  6. ^ The Rumpus, accessed March 19, 2015
  7. ^ [1], accessed January 26, 2016
  8. ^ Happy Baby.