About Michelle

Michelle Tea is the author of five memoirs: The Passionate Mistakes and Intricate Corruption of One Girl in America, Valencia (now a film), The Chelsea Whistle, Rent Girl (illustrated) and How to Grow Up (Penguin/Plume), currently in development with Amazon Studios. Her novels include Mermaid in Chelsea Creek and Girl at the Bottom of the Sea, part of a Young Adult fantasy trilogy published by McSweeneys, and Rose of No Man’s Land. Black Wave is a dystopic memoir-fiction hybrid. Forthcoming works include Castle on the River Vistula, the final installment of the YA series, and Modern Tarot, a tarot how-to and spell book published by Harper Elixir.

Tea is the curator of the Amethyst Editions imprint at Feminist Press. She founded the literary non-profit RADAR Productions and the international Sister Spit performance tours, and is the former editor of Sister Spit Books, an imprint of City Lights. She created Mutha Magazine, an online publication about real-life parenting. Her writing has appeared in Harper’s, Cosmopolitan, The Believer, Marie Clare, n+1, xoJane, California Sunday Magazine, Buzzfeed and many other print and web publications.

Read More →

Michelle Tea, photo: Gretchen Sayers
photo: Gretchen Sayers

Black Wave

Desperate to quell her addiction to drugs, disastrous romance, and nineties San Francisco, Michelle heads south for LA. But soon it’s officially announced that the world will end in one year, and life in the sprawling metropolis becomes increasingly weird.

While living in an abandoned bookstore, dating Matt Dillon, and keeping an eye on the encroaching apocalypse, Michelle begins a new novel, a sprawling and meta-textual exploration to complement her promises of maturity and responsibility. But as she tries to make queer love and art without succumbing to self-destructive vice, the boundaries between storytelling and everyday living begin to blur, and Michelle wonders how much she’ll have to compromise her artistic process if she’s going to properly ride out doomsday.

. . . . .

Praise for Black Wave

“Churning through lovers, baggies, and bottles, writer Michelle Leduski runs for LA with the end of the world on her heels… In what seems at first like a lightly fictionalized memoir, Tea traverses ground familiar to readers of her previous work: booze, drugs, sex, protracted adolescence, and ’90s queer culture. But as time destabilizes, we’re irresistibly sucked into an alternate universe where the byproducts of modern living cause illness and alienation, the natural world has been all but eradicated, poisonous mists roll off the Pacific, and compost-powered cars trace the roads… Gliding deftly through issues of addiction and recovery, erasure and assimilation, environmental devastation and mass delusion about our own pernicious tendencies, this is a genre- and reality-bending story of quiet triumph for the perennial screw-up and unabashed outsider. A biting, sagacious, and delightfully dark metaliterary novel about finding your way in a world on fire.”

Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)

How To Grow Up: A Memoir

In How to Grow Up, Michelle Tea shares her awkward stumble towards the life of a Bonafide Grown-Up: healthy, responsible, self-aware, stable. After fleeing her down-and-out hometown of Chelsea, Massachusetts at the age of nineteen, Michelle resurfaced in California. There, she lived in a filthy communal house; she smoked, drank, and snorted anything she could get her hands on; and she worked dead-end jobs. During all of this, she scribbled in notebooks and eventually built herself a literary career. How she became the sober, mature, thoughtful adult she is today is the essence of How to Grow Up.In incredible tales that take readers from the shows of Paris Fashion Week to a run-down San Francisco apartment, from Las Vegas casinos to a yacht on the French Riviera, Tea reveals her messy journey to adulthood and what she’s learned along the way. With advice ranging from the silly (why you should never hit on your tattoo artist) to the serious (what you should do when you hit rock bottom), How to Grow Up touches on evergreen subjects like relationships, religion, and feminism with a no-holds-barred attitude.

Award-winning author Michelle Tea’s previous works have been called “impossible to put down” by People magazine and “raucous…[and] apologetically raw” by The New York Times. Now, Michelle Tea writes a gutsy and comically poignant memoir-in-essays about growing up without selling out.

. . . . .

Praise for How To Grow Up

“While admitting to her failures and misadventures, Tea chooses to dwell on the positive, life-enhancing practices and influences she has embraced during her journey to adulthood, and this latest installment of her resilient ride is wild, wickedly funny, and refreshingly reverent.”  —Elle Magazine

“An engaging and often darkly funny memoir. Life begins at 40 for the author, who got a late start on adulthood and had a wild time getting there.”  —Kirkus Reviews

“Tea’s charming and self-effacing humor makes this a delightful read for those who are on their own path to adulthood or fully developed adults who want to remind themselves of how far they’ve come.”  —Library Journal

Read more reviews on: Boston Globe, After Ellen, Large Hearted Boy, Bustle.

Speaking + Events

September 2016

Tuesday September 13th: Powerhouse Arena, DUMBO NY, 7pm in conversation with Isaac Fitzgerald
Sunday September 18th: Brooklyn Book Festival

October 2016

Sunday October 9th: Book Binder Museum San Francisco with Daniel Handler at LitQuake
Monday October 10th: Avid Reader, Sacramento, CA, 6pm
Tuesday October 11th: 1078 Gallery Chico, CA
Thursday October 13th:UC Santa Cruz

November 2016

Thursday November 17th: Writing as Activism at Portland State University
Friday November 18th: Seattle, WA

February 2017

Wednesday February 8th: Georgetown University with Jennifer Fink and Marcia Chatelain
February 8-11th: AWP Washington, DC

past events →

. . . . .

Bring Michelle To Your Town

Michelle is available to speak at your university, book store, or event.
Use the contact form below to get in touch!


Use the form below to contact Michelle directly. You may also contact her agent Lindsay Edgecombe at Levine Greenberg Agency, Inc., or for publicity inquiries about Black Wave, please contact Michelle's publicist at Feminist Press, Kait Heacock.


Yay! Message sent.
Error! Please fill out all fields.
© Copyright 2016 Michelle Tea