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This article is about novelist and YouTuber John Michael Green, from Indiana. For other people of the same name, see John Green.
|This biographical article relies on references to primary sources. (September 2013)|
Green speaking at VidCon in 2012
|Born||John Michael Green
August 24, 1977
Indianapolis, Indiana, US
|Occupation||Author, critic, web host|
|Education||B.A., English and Religious studies|
|Alma mater||Kenyon College|
|Genres||Young-adult fiction, radio, video|
|Notable award(s)||Michael L. Printz Award
2006 Looking for Alaska
2008 Paper Towns
|Spouse(s)||Sarah Urist Green|
|Relative(s)||Hank Green (brother)|
Aside from being a novelist, Green is also well known for his YouTube ventures. Green arguably began his rise to stardom in 2007, with the launch of the VlogBrothers channel, which he runs with his brother, Hank Green. Since then Green has launched events such as Project for Awesome and VidCon and created a total of 11 online series, along with his brother, such as Crash Course, an educational channel teaching literature, history, and science.
Early life and careerGreen was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, to Mike and Sydney Green. Three weeks after he was born, his family moved to Orlando, Florida. He attended Lake Highland Preparatory School in Orlando, and Indian Springs School outside of Birmingham, Alabama, the latter of which he later used as the main setting for Looking for Alaska. Green graduated from Kenyon College in 2000 with a double major in English and Religious Studies. He has spoken about being bullied and how it had made life as a teenager miserable for him.
After graduating from college, Green spent five months working as a student chaplain in a children's hospital while enrolled at the University of Chicago Divinity School (although he never actually attended the school). He intended to become an Episcopal priest, but his experiences of working in a hospital with children suffering from life-threatening illnesses inspired him to become an author, and later to write The Fault in Our Stars.
Green lived for several years in Chicago, where he worked for the book review journal Booklist as a publishing assistant and production editor while writing Looking for Alaska. While there, he reviewed hundreds of books, particularly literary fiction and books about Islam or conjoined twins. He has also critiqued books for The New York Times Book Review and created original radio essays for NPR's All Things Considered and WBEZ, Chicago's public radio station. Green later lived in New York City for two years while his wife attended graduate school.
WritingsGreen's first novel, Looking for Alaska, was published by Dutton Children's Books in 2005. It is a school story and teen romance inspired by his experiences at Culver Creek (fictional school named after Indian Springs) . For it he won the annual Michael L. Printz Award from the American Library Association, recognizing the year's "best book written for teens, based entirely on its literary merit". It also made the ALA's annual list Top 10 Best Books for Young Adults. The film rights were purchased in 2005 by Paramount, which hired Josh Schwartz as writer and director. Five years later, Green told fans that "I desperately loved" the screenplay but there seemed to be little interest at Paramount. As sales of Looking for Alaska continued to increase in 2011, Green showed mixed feelings about a movie, which he felt would threaten readers' "intense and private connection to the story". In 2012, the book reached The New York Times Best Seller list for children's paperbacks. Green's second novel, An Abundance of Katherines (Dutton, 2006) was a runner-up for the Printz Award and a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize.
With fellow young adult authors Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle, Green collaborated on Let It Snow: Three Holiday Romances (Speak, 2008), comprising three interconnected short stories, including Green's "A Cheertastic Christmas Miracle", set in the same small town on Christmas Eve during a massive snowstorm. In November 2009 the book reached Number 10 on The New York Times Best Seller list for paperback children's books.
In 2008 Green's third novel, Paper Towns, debuted at number five on The New York Times Best Seller list for children's books, and the movie rights to Paper Towns were optioned by Mandate Pictures and Mr. Mudd; Green was hired to write the Paper Towns screenplay. In 2009, Paper Towns was awarded the 2009 Edgar Award for Best Young Adult Novel and the 2010 Corine Literature Prize.
Green and David Levithan, who is a fellow young-adult writer and a friend of Green's, collaborated on the novel Will Grayson, Will Grayson (Dutton, 2010) It was a runner-up (Honor Book) for two of the annual ALA awards, the Stonewall Book Award, for excellence in LGBT children's and YA literature, and the Odyssey Award for Excellence in Audiobook Production. Green later appeared on the Smart Mouths podcast to discuss the novel.
In August 2009, Green confirmed that he was writing a new book, entitled The Sequel, which was later scrapped. His fifth book, titled The Fault in Our Stars was released in January 2012. Green explained that several parts of The Sequel were reworked into The Fault in Our Stars. Green signed all 150,000 copies of the first printing and his wife and his brother applied their own symbols, a Yeti and an Anglerfish (known as the "Hanklerfish"), respectively. The New York Times Best Seller list for Children's Books listed The Fault in Our Stars at number 1 for two weeks in January and February 2012. The novel has been made into a major motion picture of the same name, which was released in the United States on June 6, 2014.
As of December 2013, Green stated that he is writing a new book with the working title The Racket. He sold 5,000 words of a rough draft on IndieGoGo for $10 in order to raise money as part of the Project for Awesome charity event.
In May 2014, Green was documented facing pressures, as a self-described hypochondriac, from his readers to continue his literary work. Green's growing popularity due to The Fault in Our Stars saw Green torn between his role as an online entrepreneur and a novelist.
Main article: VlogBrothersIn 2007, John Green and his brother Hank Green began a video blog project called Brotherhood 2.0 which ran from January 1 to December 31 of that year. The two brothers agreed that they would forgo all text-based communication with each other for the duration of the project, instead maintaining their relationship by exchanging video blogs, each submitting one to the other on each alternate day. These videos were uploaded to a YouTube channel called "vlogbrothers" (as well as the brothers' own website) where they reached a wide audience. In what would have been the project's final video, the brothers revealed that they would extend their video correspondence indefinitely, and as of 2014 they have continued exchanging their unique vlogs.
Since the project's inception the duo have gained a wide reaching international fanbase whose members identify collectively as "Nerdfighters". The group, in collaboration with the two brothers, promote and participate in a number of humanitarian efforts, including the Project for Awesome, an annual charity fundraiser, a Nerdfighter lending group on the microfinancing website Kiva which to date has loaned nearly $3 million to entrepreneurs in the developing world, and the Foundation to Decrease World Suck, the brothers' own charity.
In addition to the main VlogBrothers channel, the brothers have also created a number of side-projects. These include Truth or Fail, a YouTube game show hosted by Hank and a variety of guest hosts, HankGames (either "with..." or "without Hank"), which consists mostly of screen-capture footage of various videogames, and the Emmy award-winning The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, a modernized serialization of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. In 2012, following a grant from Google, the brothers launched a pair of short-format educational video series entitled Crash Course, which presents AP level World History, American History, and Literature (hosted by John) and AP level Chemistry, Biology, Ecology and Psychology (hosted by Hank) and SciShow.
Green is also the host of the YouTube channel for the magazine Mental Floss. He was also contributor to the magazine for a period in the mid-2000s.
Main article: VidConVidCon is an annual conference for the online video community. The conference was created by the Greens in 2010 in response to the growing online video community. Hank states, “We wanted to get as much of the online video community together, in one place, in the real world for a weekend. It's a celebration of the community, with performances, concerts, and parties; but it's also a discussion of the explosion in community-based online video.” The event draws many popular YouTube users, as well as their fans, and provides room for the community to interact. The event also contains an industry conference for people and businesses working in the online video field.
Project for Awesome
Main article: Project for AwesomeIn 2007, the Greens introduced the charity project entitled the Project for Awesome (P4A), a project in which YouTube users take two days, traditionally December 17 and 18, to create videos promoting charities or non-profit organizations of their choosing. They raised a total of $483,446, surpassing their goal of $100,000. The event has continued annually and in December 2013, the Project for Awesome raised $869,291. Money is raised through donations to an Indiegogo campaign where supporters can pledge money and receive donated perks like signed photographs, books, and art in return. The Green brothers also donate one cent for each comment made on a Project for Awesome video during the event. There is a livestream that lasts for the duration of the Project for Awesome, which is hosted by John Green, Hank Green, and other YouTube personalities.
Personal lifeGreen lives in Indianapolis, Indiana with his wife, Sarah Urist Green. She worked as the Curator of Contemporary Art at Indianapolis Museum of Art before leaving to start The Art Assignment, a web series with PBS. In videos on the VlogBrothers channel, Sarah Green is referred to as "the Yeti" due to her not appearing visibly on camera. Her first appearance on YouTube was in a Google Hangout video chat with President Obama, during which she and her husband asked the President whether they should name their unborn daughter Eleanor or Alice. Later, she appeared in an episode of Hannah Hart's web cooking series My Drunk Kitchen. They have two children, Henry and Alice, as well as a West Highland Terrier named Fireball Wilson Roberts (also known as "The Dread Pirate Fireball Wilson Roberts", "Bubbles the Nerdfighting Puppy", or simply "Willy"). Green has stated that he is Episcopalian.