Sam Graham-Felsen

“Graham-Felsen weaves a supple portrait of race and class in America... The book is sweet, funny, and filled with delirious language… ‘Green’ is the real thing: it brings a lost world close again.” — The New Yorker


My debut novel, Green (Random House, 2018) is now available in paperback.

A coming-of-age novel about race, privilege, and the struggle to rise in America, written by a former Obama campaign staffer and propelled by an exuberant, unforgettable narrator. 

Winner of the American Library Assocation’s Alex Award

A New York Times Editors’ Pick

One of The New Yorker’s “Books We Loved in 2018”

An Indie Next Selection

An Amazon Best of the Month Pick


About Me

I was the chief blogger on Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign, and I’ve lectured about digital media and politics in dozens of countries around the world. My nonfiction writing has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, the Washington PostThe Nation, and elsewhere

Nowadays, I focus mostly on writing and teaching fiction. I am an adjunct professor of creative writing at Columbia, and I also teach courses at Catapult in New York City.

I am also the co-host of Hey, Man, a new weekly advice podcast for men, which the Onion AV Club calls “[g]raceful, captivating… infused with a dogged optimism regarding the benefits of conversation to improve lives.” Subscribe here.

Finally, I love visiting schools and talking to students about my novel, Green, and my journey from working for Obama to writing fiction. For a taste of the topics I like to discuss in educational settings, check out my interview with the Book Love Foundation. If you’re interested in having me come to your school, get in touch.

You can email me at

More Praise for Green

Green is a fierce and brilliant book, comic, poignant, perfectly observed, and blazing with all of the urgent fears and longings of adolescence. It’s a glorious story about the subtle complexities of loyalty and friendship that courses with deeper themes of societal expectations, social injustice, and the nature of belonging. By the time I reached the closing chapter, I was so invested in the fate of the characters that I could hardly bear for it to end. It absolutely knocked me out.
— Helen MacDonald, author of H is for Hawk
Astounding... I’ve rarely seen an author nail a time and place with such gorgeous accuracy and heartbreaking hilarity. The strength of Sam Graham-Felsen’s voice can lift up entire worlds.
— Gary Shteyngart, author of Super Sad True Love Story
Though it raises serious questions about race and inequality with a poignancy that took me aback, Green is also funny and beautifully written, with not a word out of place, and somehow managing to be both true to its young narrator’s voice and bracingly intelligent in its depiction of a brutal societal impasse. I enjoyed this more than anything else I’ve read in ages.
— Adelle Waldman, author of The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P.
Sam Graham-Felsen has pioneered a new genre: free-stylin’ social realism. If Balzac were a hip-hop artist, he might have produced a novel like Green. It’s a coming-of-age story—not only of a boy but of our country—showing us the messy adolescence of a person and a culture grappling with difference, injustice, and the potential human beauty of ever-blurring boundaries.
— Heidi Julavits, author of The Folded Clock