Nicolaia Rips is a student at Brown University. She has lived at the Chelsea Hotel for her entire life. Her first book, Trying to Float was published by Scribners' in 2016 and won the ILA Children's and Young Adult's Book Award. It is currently being adapted into a TV show.
She was a guest lecturer for The School of the New York Times at Fordham University and has been published by Beneficial Shock Magazine, The Irregular Report and, forthcoming, BOMB Magazine. Her first screenplay, As They Slept, was purchased by Neon Heart Studies and has just been produced. Currently Nicolaia is the co-Editor-In-Chief of The Irregular Report's upcoming issue, and is writing a play on the relationship between Paul Celan and Heidegger.
You can follow her on instagram @nrips
"Hysterically droll, touching, elegant, and wise—a coming-of-age story from someone who possibly came of age before her parents” (Patricia Marx, New Yorker writer and bestselling author), Trying to Float is a seventeen-year-old’s darkly funny, big-hearted memoir about growing up in New York City’s legendary Chelsea Hotel.
New York’s Chelsea Hotel may no longer be home to its most famous denizens—Andy Warhol, Leonard Cohen, Patti Smith, to name a few—but the eccentric spirit of the Chelsea is alive and well. Meet the family Rips: father Michael, a lawyer turned writer with a penchant for fine tailoring; mother Sheila, a former model and artist who matches her welding outfits with couture; and daughter Nicolaia, a precocious high school junior at work on a record of her peculiar “youth.”
With a voice as fabulously compelling as Holden Caulfield's, Nicolaia Rips’s debut is a disarming, humble, heartfelt, and wise tale of coming of age amid the contradictions, complexities, and shifting identities of life in New York City. A bohemian Eloise for our times, Trying to Float is a triumphant parable for the power of embracing difference in all its forms.
“I love this book! Nicolaia Rips, while young, is the real thing. Wodehouse reborn in a young girl. He would have been charmed.” (Joel Grey, author of Master of Ceremonies)
“Nicolaia Rips is an old-soul sophisticate who’s written a breezy memoir. [Trying to Float] is like Eloise Meets Wes Anderson.” (Elle)
“[A] delightful coming-of-age memoir…Rips is a gifted writer who quickly reveals a mature, nuanced insight into human behavior. She has a genuine talent for extracting comic potential within these encounters, yet she balances them with moments of surprising poignancy. An engaging story with a big heart, written by a young adult whose sharply tuned and often witty observations will appeal to adults and teens alike.”—Kirkus Reviews, STARRED review
"Ah." (HIGH SCHOOL ENGLISH TEACHER, unimpressed and unwilling to fix subpar grades)
“This heartfelt memoir balances pathos and humor, proving that Rips, still only a senior in high school, is a promising writer who is wise beyond her years.” (Publishers Weekly)
"Reading about Nic’s bohemian childhood is like chatting with a friend over coffee and busting out laughing over the most awkward moments from your past—hers were just a lot more exotic! This peek into the author’s diverse, unfocused childhood was hilarious, heartwarming and totally outrageous." (Justine Magazine)
"As a former resident of the Chelsea Hotel, I came at this book with trepidation. What could an 17-year-old have to say about the last Dionysian castle in New York City? My skepticism ended with the prologue. Nicolaia Rips writes with wit, discipline, and grace. Her voice is real. With this book she is announcing herself as a force in the next generation of artists." (Ethan Hawke)
"Can I curse here? Because this book is fucking fantastic." (JOANNA WAGNER, author’s best friend)
“These little tales about little rascals in New York City are charming, strange, and inspiring. What a very funny, improbably truthful book about childhood this is.” (JOSEPH O'NEILL, author of Netherland and The Dog)
"What do you mean you wrote a book?" (EVERYBODY AT LAGUARDIA HIGH SCHOOL, class of 2016)