Thomas Eugene “Tom” Robbins is an American writer, who is known for his unconventional characters, buoyant prose and interesting wordplay. Born in 1936, Robbins’ life has been one of self discovery and genuine belief that life should be explored and enjoyed.
Early Life and Education
Robbins was born in Blowing Rock, North Carolina. When he was about eleven, he and his family moved to Warsaw, Virginia. He excelled in school and was accepted into Washington and Lee University where he studied journalism. His Southern Baptist heritage did not limit his love of life and risky behavior. Robbins was expelled from Washington and Lee and later enlisted in the Air Force. While in the Air Force, he served in Korea as a meteorologist. Following his military service, Robbins settled into Richmond, Virginia.
His interests were always creative and while in 1957, he studied art at the Richmond Professional Institute, which is now Virginia Commonwealth University. He also found work on Richmond’s historic paper, the Richmond Times Dispatch as a copy editor. After his stent at the Times Dispatch, Robbins decided to hitchhike around the country and settled on a new career and venue- poetry writing and New York City.
He eventually left New York and settled in Seattle, where he sought his Masters degree at the University of Washington. By 1967, he worked as a arts reviewer and sports editor for the Seattle Post Intelligencer. During this time also, he hosted a radio program and became friends with notable musicians of the time. Inspired by the experience, Robbins began to write his first novel.
To his credit, Robbins has published one collection (Short stories, poems, essays and reviews) and eight novels. His first published book was Another Roadside Attraction, which garnered a loyal following. His second book, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues was made into a motion picture, starring Uma Thurman. Robbins’ most recent work, B Is For Beer was published in 2009. His complete list of works is as follows:
Another Roadside Attraction
Even Cowgirls Get the Blues
Still Life With Woodpecker
Skinny Legs and All
Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas
Fierce Invalids: homne From Hot Climate
Wild Ducks Flying Backwards (collection)
B Is for Beer
Robbins’ novels offer quirky characters with unusual issues, but in telling his stories, he cleverly challenges his reader’s notions about themselves and society. Some of his tales, such as Villa Incognito, force us to evaluate our views on sexual norms, organized religion and government. Robbins’ works almost seem to be extensions of his personality- charming, humorous and intelligent.