Childhood & Early Life
John Michael Green was born on August 24, 1977, in Indianapolis, Indiana, to Mike and Sydney Green. Soon after his birth, his family moved to Michigan, then later to Birmingham, Alabama, and finally to Orlando, Florida. His younger brother is William Henry Hank Green II.
He attended Lake Highland Preparatory School in Orlando, and Indian Springs School in Alabama. Green graduated from Kenyon College in 2000 with a double major in English and Religious studies.
After his graduation, he worked as a student chaplain at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, for a few months. He enrolled at the University of Chicago Divinity School, but he never attended it.
He wanted to become a priest, but his experiences at the hospital where he worked and witnessed children suffering from life-threatening diseases inspired him to become an author, and later he wrote the book ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ based on these experiences.
John Green began his career working as a publishing assistant and production editor for Booklist, a book review journal in Chicago. Besides reviewing books, he created radio essays for Chicago's public radio station and NPR's All Things Considered. During this period, he started writing the book ‘Looking for Alaska.’
Published in 2005 by Dutton Children's Books, ‘Looking for Alaska’ was his first novel. It was about teen romance inspired by his experiences at his school, Indian Springs. Paramount purchased the film rights in 2005, but even after five years no film was made. Sales of the book continued to increase over the years and in 2012, it reached The New York Times Best Seller list for children's paperbacks.
His second novel, ‘An Abundance of Katherines,’ was released in 2006. It was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and a runner-up for the Printz Award. It is a young adult novel, about some complex equations the main character Colin uses to analyze his romantic relationships.
In 2007, he started the YouTube channel VlogBrothers with his brother, Hank Green. Over the years they launched projects and events like Project for Awesome and VidCon, and at least 11 online series, including the most popular one, Crash Course, which aims at educating high school students. As of July 2017, the VlogBrothers channel had amassed over 3 million subscribers, and more than 700 million views.
Following VlogBrothers’ inception, the brothers gained a wide reaching fanbase, which turned into a group called Nerdfighters. The group participates in a number of humanitarian efforts, like Project for Awesome, an annual charity fundraiser.
The Green brothers have also created a number of side-projects, including ‘Truth or Fail’, a YouTube game show, and VidCon, an annual conference for the online video community.
The brothers started the Project for Awesome, in which YouTube users take two days in December to create videos promoting charities or NGOs. In 2015, the grand total of money raised was $1,546,384.
In 2008, he co-authored the novel ‘Let It Snow: Three Holiday Romances.’ In November 2009, the book reached No.10 on The New York Times Best Seller list.
His third novel, ‘Paper Towns’ (released in 2008) reached No. 5 on The New York Times Best Seller list for children's books in 2009, and it was also made into a film in 2015 with the same name. Green was the executive producer of the movie. Although his novels have all received positive reviews, his fans criticized ‘Paper Towns,’ and Green had to apologize for using the word “retarded” in the book.
In 2010, Green and his friend David Levithan co-authored the novel ‘Will Grayson, Will Grayson’ which was published by Dutton Juvenile. The novel reached The New York Times children's best-seller list, and remained there for three weeks. It is the first LGBT-themed young adult novel to make it to that list.
In 2012, his sixth book, ‘The Fault in Our Stars,’ was released, and it peaked at No.1 in The New York Times Best Seller list for children's books. The book is inspired by his experiences in a hospital, where he witnessed the sufferings of children with life-threatening illnesses. It is a romantic story about a 16-year-old girl who suffers from cancer. It was made into a film which released in 2014.
In 2012, the Green brothers’ Crash Course channel received Google funds, and was diversified into a new channel called Crash Course Kids. It taught various subjects from literature and science to mythology and film history. As of July 2017, it had 158k subscribers and 11 million views.
In 2015, the Green brothers started a weekly YouTube podcast called ‘Dear Hank & John’. It has a humorous tone, and includes segments, such as poem reading and answering viewers’ questions. It ends with a news segment.
His fifth solo novel, titled ‘Turtles All The Way Down,’ is scheduled to be released in October 2017.
John Green and Sarah Urist got married on May 21, 2006. She was the curator at Indianapolis Museum of Art before she started a web series, ‘The Art Assignment’.
They have two children—son Henry Green was born on January 20, 2010, and daughter Alice Green was born on June 3, 2013. They also have a pet dog, Willy.
He loves football, and is an avid fan of Liverpool Football Club of the Premier League. He is a sponsor of English League One club AFC Wimbledon.
Green has been diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder, and has extensively discussed his struggles to cope with this illness on his YouTube channel.