|Born||Thomas Eugene Robbins|
July 22, 1932
Blowing Rock, North Carolina, U.S.
|Occupation||Novelist, short story writer, essayist|
|Genre||Fictional prose, Postmodernism|
Thomas Eugene Robbins (born July 22, 1932)is an American novelist. His best-selling novels are "seriocomedies" (also known as "comedy-drama"). His novel Even Cowgirls Get the Blues was made into a movie in 1993 by Gus Van Sant and stars Uma Thurman, Lorraine Bracco, and Keanu Reeves.
Robbins was born on July 22, 1932 in Blowing Rock, North Carolina to George Thomas Robbins and Katherine Belle Robinson. Both of his grandfathers were Baptist preachers. The Robbins family resided in Blowing Rock before moving to Richmond, Virginia when the author was still a young boy.As an adult, Robbins has described his young self as a "hillbilly".
Robbins attended Hargrave Military Academy in Chatham, Virginia, where he won the Senior Essay Medal. The following year he enrolled at Washington and Lee University to major in journalism, leaving at the end of his sophomore year after being disciplined by his fraternity for bad behavior and failing to earn a letter in basketball.
In 1953, he enlisted in the Air Force after receiving his draft notice, spending a year as a meteorologist in Korea, followed by two years in the Special Weather Intelligence unit of the Strategic Air Command in Nebraska. He was discharged in 1957 and returned to Richmond, Virginia, where his poetry readings at the Rhinoceros Coffee House led to a reputation among the local bohemian scene.
In late 1957, Robbins enrolled at Richmond Professional Institute (RPI), a school of art, drama, and music, which later became Virginia Commonwealth University. He served as an editor and columnist for the college newspaper, Proscript, from 1958-1959.He also worked nights on the sports desk of the daily Richmond Times-Dispatch . After graduating with honors from RPI in 1959 and indulging in some hitchhiking, Robbins joined the staff of the Times-Dispatch as a copy editor.
In 1962, Robbins moved to Seattle to seek an M.A. at the Far East Institute of the University of Washington. During the next five years in Seattle (minus a year spent in New York city researching a book on Jackson Pollock) he worked for the Seattle Times as an art critic.In 1965, he wrote a column on the arts for Seattle Magazine as well as occasionally for Art in America and Artforum . Also during this time, he hosted a weekly alternative radio show, Notes from the Underground, at non-commercial KRAB-FM, Seattle. It was in 1967, while writing a review of the rock band The Doors, that Robbins says he found his literary voice. While working on his first novel, Robbins worked the weekend copy desk of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Robbins would remain in Seattle, on and off, for the following forty years.
In 1966, Robbins was contacted and then met with Doubleday's West Coast Editor, Luthor Nichols, who asked Robbins about writing a book on Northwest art. Instead Robbins told Nichols he wanted to write a novel and pitched the idea of what was to become Another Roadside Attraction .
In 1967, Robbins moved to South Bend, Washington, where he wrote his first novel. In 1970, Robbins moved to La Conner, Washington, and it was at his home on Second Street that he subsequently authored nine books (although, in the late 1990s, he spent two years living on the Swinomish Indian reservation).
In the 1980s and early 1990s, Robbins regularly published articles and essays in Esquire magazine,and also contributed to Playboy , The New York Times, and GQ .
Michael Dare described Robbins' writing style in the following manner: "When he starts a novel, it works like this. First he writes a sentence. Then he rewrites it again and again, examining each word, making sure of its perfection, finely honing each phrase until it reverberates with the subtle texture of the infinite. Sometimes it takes hours. Sometimes an entire day is devoted to one sentence, which gets marked on and expanded upon in every possible direction until he is satisfied. Then, and only then, does he add a period".When Robbins was asked to explain his "gift" for storytelling in 2002, he replied:
I'm descended from a long line of preachers and policemen. Now, it's common knowledge that cops are congenital liars, and evangelists spend their lives telling fantastic tales in such a way as to convince otherwise rational people that they're factual. So, I guess I come by my narrative inclinations naturally.
Over the course of his writing career, Robbins has given readings on four continents, in addition to the performances that he has delivered at festivals in Australia and Mexico, and nightclubs in England and Germany.
In 1997, Robbins won the Bumbershoot Golden Umbrella Award for Lifetime Achievement in the arts that is presented annually by the Bumbershoot arts festival in Seattle.
In 2000, Robbins was named one of the 100 Best Writers of the 20th Century by Writer's Digest magazine, while the legendary Italian critic Fernanda Pivano called Robbins "the most dangerous writer in the world".
In October 2012, Robbins received the 2012 Literary Lifetime Achievement Award from the Library of Virginia.
During his brief stint in New York in 1965 Robbins joined the New York Filmmakers' Cinematheque.
In the mid-sixties, as a member of the Seattle Arts scene, Robbins reviewed art for several publications in Seattle, wrote essays for museum catalogs, organized gallery exhibits, and was the self-described ringleader in a "boisterous neo-Dada gang of guerilla artists, the Shazam Society."
Robbins has defended, in print, Indian mystic Osho, although he was never a follower.[ citation needed ] Robbins spent three weeks at ceremonial sites in Mexico and Central America with mythologist Joseph Campbell, and studied mythology in Greece and Sicily with the poet Robert Bly. Robbins also traveled to Timbuktu.
As of 2013, Robbins is a member of the Marijuana Policy Project's Advisory Board, alongside numerous other notable figures such as Jack Black, Ani DiFranco, Tommy Chong, and Jello Biafra;he has been honoured at the Laureate Dinner of Seattle's Rainier Club that has also recognized other local figures, such as Charles Johnson, Stephen Wadsworth, Timothy Egan and August Wilson; and he sits on the board of directors of The Greater Seattle Bureau of Fearless Ideas (formerly 826 Seattle), "a nonprofit writing and tutoring center dedicated to helping youth, ages six to 18, improve their creative and expository writing skills, and to helping teachers inspire their students to write."
Madame Zoe, a Richmond psychic and palm reader who once lived in Richmond's South Side, was fictionalized in Robbins' Even Cowgirls Get the Blues . In 2016 Richmond artists Noah Scalin and Thea Duskin recreated her bedroom as an installation in the art gallery at Chop Suey Books in Carytown in Richmond.
Robbins was a friend of Terence McKenna,whose influence appears evident in a couple of his books. A main character (Larry Diamond) in Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas advocates a theory similar to those of McKenna, involving the history and cultural influences of psychedelic plants. Robbins also spent time with Timothy Leary and the author has said that one of the protagonists in Jitterbug Perfume (Wiggs Dannyboy) exhibited certain characteristics of Leary's personality; Robbins has acknowledged using LSD with Leary.
He is friends with Gus Van Sant, and performed the voice-over narration in Van Sant's film adaptation of Even Cowgirls Get the Blues. He has been friends with directors Robert Altman and Alan Rudolph, as well, and has had small speaking parts in five feature films.
Robbins has written eight novels since 1971. He has also written numerous short stories and essays, mostly collected in the volume Wild Ducks Flying Backward , and one novella, B Is for Beer .
Thomas Kennerly Wolfe Jr. was an American author and journalist widely known for his association with New Journalism, a style of news writing and journalism developed in the 1960s and 1970s that incorporated literary techniques.
HarperCollins Publishers L.L.C. is one of the world's largest publishing companies and is one of the Big Five English-language publishing companies, alongside Penguin Random House, Simon & Schuster, Hachette, and Macmillan. The company is headquartered in New York City and is a subsidiary of News Corp. The name is a combination of several publishing firm names: Harper & Row, an American publishing company acquired in 1987, together with UK publishing company William Collins, Sons, acquired in 1990.
Elizabeth Van Lew was a Richmond, Virginia abolitionist and philanthropist who built and operated an extensive spy ring for the Union Army during the American Civil War.
Robert Gordon Wasson was an American author, ethnomycologist, and Vice President for Public Relations at J.P. Morgan & Co.
Another Roadside Attraction is the first novel by Tom Robbins, published in 1971.
Walter Dean Myers was a writer of children's books best known for young adult literature. He was born in Martinsburg, West Virginia, but was raised in Harlem, New York City. A tough childhood led him to writing and his school teachers would encourage him in this habit as a way to express himself. He wrote more than one hundred books including picture books and nonfiction. He won the Coretta Scott King Award for African-American authors five times. His 1988 novel Fallen Angels is one of the books most frequently challenged in the U.S. because of its adult language and its realistic depiction of the Vietnam War.
Grady Franklin Stiles Jr. was an American freak show performer. His deformity was genetic condition ectrodactyly, in which the fingers and toes are fused together to form claw-like extremities. Stiles performed under the stage name "Lobster Boy".
Even Cowgirls Get the Blues is a 1993 American romantic comedy-drama film based on Tom Robbins' 1976 novel of the same name. The film was directed by Gus Van Sant and starred an ensemble cast led by Uma Thurman, Lorraine Bracco, Angie Dickinson, Noriyuki "Pat" Morita, Keanu Reeves, John Hurt, and Rain Phoenix. Robbins himself was the narrator. The soundtrack was sung entirely by k.d. lang. The film was dedicated to the late River Phoenix.
Tom Douglas is an American executive chef, restaurateur, author, and radio talk show host. He is known for winning the 1994 James Beard Award for Best Northwest Chef. In 2012 he also won the James Beard Award as Best Restaurateur. He is the author of Tom Douglas' Seattle Kitchen, which was named the Best American Cookbook by the James Beard Foundation and KitchenAid, in 2001. In 2005, he appeared on an episode of the Food Network's Iron Chef America, in which he defeated Chef Masaharu Morimoto.
Tom Bissell is an American journalist, critic, and fiction writer.
Dean King is an American author of narrative non-fiction on adventure, historical and maritime subjects. His books include Skeletons on the Zahara (2004) and Unbound (2010), both published by Little, Brown. He is the author of companion books to Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin series of novels and is the first biographer of O'Brian. In his biography, Patrick O'Brian: A Life (2000), which was excerpted in four full pages in the Daily Telegraph in London, King revealed that O'Brian was not really of Irish origin, as O'Brian claimed, and that he had changed his name by deed poll in London in 1945. King has also published articles in The New York Times, National Geographic Adventure, New York Magazine, Outside and other magazines and newspapers.
David L. Robbins is an American author of several historical fiction novels, and a co-founder of the James River Writers. He founded the Richmond-based Podium Foundation.
Richard Moore is a Scottish journalist, author, and former racing cyclist. He represented Great Britain at the Tour of Langkawi and Scotland at the PruTour and the 1998 Commonwealth Games, where he competed in the road race and the time trial.
B is for Beer is a novel by Tom Robbins published in 2009 by HarperCollins. It is presented as a children's book, about Gracie Perke, a young girl exploring the world of beer. She learns why every adult enjoys it and why she's not allowed to drink it.
Skeletons on the Zahara: A True Story of Survival is a 2004 nonfiction book written by maritime historian Dean King. It is based on two of the survivors' journals, primarily Captain James Riley's memoir Sufferings in Africa. To research the book, Dean King embarked on a National Geographic Society sponsored expedition to retrace the horrific journey of Riley and his crew across the Saharan ("Zahara") desert. A screenplay adaptation was in 2010 reportedly being written by Roman Bennett for Independent studios.
Fergus M. Bordewich is an American writer, historian, and editor living in San Francisco. He is the author of seven nonfiction books, including a memoir, and an illustrated children's book.
Neil McCormick is a British music journalist, author and broadcaster. He has been Chief Music Critic for The Daily Telegraph since 1996, and presents a music interview show for Vintage TV in the UK, Neil McCormick's Needle Time. McCormick is a close associate of rock group U2.
Tibetan Peach Pie: A True Account of an Imaginative Life is a self-declared "un-memoir" by Tom Robbins.
Howard Owen is an American author born March 1, 1949, in Fayetteville, North Carolina. He is a writer of literary fiction, mystery, and thrillers. He was the winner of the 2012 Hammett Prize awarded annually by the International Association of Crime Writers.
Lamar Giles is an American author of young adult novels and short stories. He best known for his award-winning novels with his most popular being Fake ID and Endangered. He is also one of the founding members of the American non-profit We Need Diverse Books.
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