Illustration by Adam Grano
THE BELIEVER: How did The Rumpus start?
STEPHEN ELLIOTT: Originally I was talking to Arianna Huffington. I’d just finished The Adderall Diaries and I wanted to do something but I didn’t know what. I didn’t want to write another book. So I thought, well, I’ll get into editing. Because I figured that by doing all this writing I’d learned how to edit. So I was trying to get into that, and I was talking to Arianna about starting a book page on The Huffington Post, because they didn’t have one yet.
BLVR: This was before they had their Books section?
SE: Yeah, and I would meet her, and I had all these ideas. But at some point I was like, Why am I giving her all these ideas? I thought, it’s just a website. I can launch a website. How hard can it be? So I just started my own website. And then, a friend of mine was working on a book, and the dog in the book was named Rumpus. And that’s where the name came from. It was really random. And I didn’t know then what it was going to be.