Robin Hobb biography

Robin Hobb is a US fantasy writer, best known for her trilogies set in The Realm of the Elderlings. Readers were first introduced to that world with the publication of Assassin’s Apprentice, the first volume of The Farseer Trilogy, in 1995. The story is told in the first person from the point of view of FitzChivalry Farseer, an illegitimate scion of the royal family, during a time when the Six Duchies are being attacked by warships from the OutIslands. The boy grows up being trained as an assassin, but soon claims a place as a warrior as well. The influence of an enigmatic prophet, the Fool, forces young Fitz into a role that will influence the destiny of the entire Six Duchies. The trilogy was completed with Royal Assassin in 1996 and Assassin’s Quest in 1997. All three were nominated for the British Fantasy Society’s 'best fantasy' award. First published in the US, the books quickly appeared in the UK and Australia as well, and are now widely translated throughout the world, including France, Spain, Israel, China, Russia, The Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, and Japan.

The Farseer Trilogy was followed by The Liveship Traders trilogy, a tale set in the same world, but in Bingtown, a trading city far to the south. Chronologically, these stories occur after the events of The Farseer Trilogy and are influenced by the events Fitz has set in motion. Ship of Magic (1998), Mad Ship (1999) and Ship of Destiny (2000) comprise that trilogy. This multi-character tale follows the adventures of the Liveship Vivacia as the magical ship comes to consciousness, and is taken over first as a slave ship and then as a pirate vessel. The emergence of sentient sea serpents that have a connection to the living ships alters the course of Bingtown’s war with Chalced and their subservience to Jamaillia. But it will exact a price as well. Ship of Magic and Mad Ship were both nominees for the Endeavor Award, presented to novels based on the Pacific North West or written by authors who live in that region.

After the Liveship Traders trilogy, Hobb returned to the tale of Fitz and the Fool with a new set of books entitled The Tawny Man trilogy. Fitz, left in peace and solitude at the end of The Farseer trilogy, is forced to return to serve his family once more as the Fool returns from his adventures in Bingtown to enlist his aid in once more changing the world. The two characters are reunited in Fool’s Errand (2001) followed by Golden Fool (2003) and Fools Fate (2004).  In 2003, Robin Hobb was honoured with the Elf Fantasy Award, a statuette created by Wendy Pini, at Elf Fantasy Fair. Other awards for Robin Hobb’s work include Imaginales Best Short Story award in 2006 for her tale The Inheritance.

Departing from The Realm of the Elderlings, Hobb moved on to a ‘gunpowder fantasy’ entitled The Soldier Son Trilogy. Set in a world politically divided between old and new nobility, where a man’s life is determined by his birth order, Nevare knows from childhood that he is destined to be a soldier and a cavalry officer. He is born into a time of expansion and new technology, from gas lights to more sophisticated firearms. But when his father entrusts him to the honor of an old enemy for training, Nevare is infected with a magic indigenous to the lands and the conquered people. He  soon finds his well mapped future derailed as the magic changes him both physically and mentally, ultimately forcing him to  lead a double life. Shaman’s Crossing (2005), Forest Mage (2006) and Renegade’s Magic (2007) make up the Soldier Son Trilogy. Shaman’s Crossing was honoured in 2007 in the Best Foreign Novel category at Imaginales in Epinal, France. Renegade’s Magic won the Endeavor Award for 2007.

Robin Hobb’s most recent work is a four part tale, the Rain Wild Chronicles. Dragon Keeper, published in 2009, returns to the Rain Wilds, one of the settings from The Liveship Traders trilogy, to pick up the tale of the denizens of that toxic and wild region, and the fate of the dragons who hatched there. Told from multiple points of view, the story moves between the tale of Alise, a genteel Bingtown woman and dragon scholar who is determined to visit the Rain Wilds and see dragons for herself, and Thymara, a girl of the Rain Wilds, born so changed by her exposure to the environment there that she is deemed too deformed to be allowed to marry or reproduce. Recruited instead as a dragon keeper, she joins a company of other similarly changed youngsters to accompany a motley horde of dragons up the Rain Wild River in hopes of finding a better place for the dragons in that unexplored territory.  Keepers and dragons are both changed by that adventure and by their association with one another. The four volumes of the Rain Wild Chronicles are Dragon Keeper, Dragon Haven (2010), City of Dragons (forthcoming in 2012) and Dragon’s Blood, expected in 2013.  Some characters from The Liveship Trader Trilogy reappear in the Rain Wild Chronicles.

Robin Hobb currently resides in the Pacific Northwest, dividing her time between a house in the city of Tacoma and a small ‘pocket farm’ in the tiny town of Roy where she is venturing into organic farming on a very small scale.

Robin Hobb was born in Oakland, California and spent the first decade of her life in sunny California. In the early sixties, she and her family left the suburbs of San Rafael and moved to Fairbanks, Alaska, where they renovated a run-down log house. The change in lifestyle was sudden and dramatic. They went from grocery stores and sidewalks to a gravel road and meat on the hoof. There she learned to hunt and fish and to value the companionship of her wolf-dog hybrid, in addition to learning the skills needed for self-sufficient house maintenance such as plumbing, wiring, and insulation. The family created a large garden and erected a meat cache in the front yard.  In the summers when the cache was not in use for storing frozen moose meat, it became her first private place to work on writing.

She graduated from high school at 17 in 1969.  After a brief stint at Denver University, she married Fred Ogden and followed her husband to his hometown of Kodiak, Alaska. There they lived at Chiniak village near a satellite tracking facility on Kodiak Island, before moving on to Pocatello Idaho to complete their educations. They have lived in various locations in the Pacific Northwest since then, finally settling in Tacoma, Washington. She and her husband Fred have four grown offspring and three grandchildren. Their current interests include time on the water in their small vessel Charmante, organic gardening on their pocket farm, and operating a small judo dojo in Roy, Washington.

Robin Hobb began her writing career as Megan Lindholm. A prolific scribbler in her high school years, she first began submitting fiction and poetry to magazines in the 1970’s.  In the 70’s and 80’s she wrote for local newspapers (The Kodiak Times and the Kodiak Fish Wrapper and Litter Box Liner) and for various children’s magazines such as Humpty Dumpty and Highlights for Children. Her short story, “The Poaching,” was awarded a grant by the Alaska Council for the Arts and was republished in an anthology, Finding our Boundaries, in 1979. In the late seventies, she moved from writing children’s stories into the realm of fantasy and SF. She published short works in several ‘fanzines’ of the day, notably Space and Time edited by Gordon Linzner. In 1982, she sold her first novel, Harpy’s Flight.  It featured characters who had first appeared in a short story, “Bones for Dulath” in an anthology entitled AMAZONS! edited by Jessica Amanda Salmonson. AMAZONS! won the 1980 World Fantasy Award for Best Anthology and helped her work to reach a wider readership. As Megan Lindholm, she went on to publish ten novels, including The Gypsy, a collaboration with Steven Brust and numerous short stories.  She was a participant in the shared world of Liavek throughout the mid-eighties, collaborating with Brust on several short stories. Her best known work as Megan Lindholm is Wizard of the Pigeons, an urban fantasy set in Seattle. She wrote numerous short stories as well that have been featured in magazines and anthologies. Her works have been finalists for the Nebula, the Hugo, and the Theodore Sturgeon award. In 1990, A Touch of Lavender won the Asimov’s Reader Award as well as being a finalist for both the Hugo and the Nebula. Her works as Megan Lindholm have been widely translated and have been very popular in The Netherlands and France. In 2004, the translation of Wizard of the Pigeons won the Best Novel Award at Imaginales in Epinal, France.

In 1995, she launched a parallel career under the pseudonym Robin Hobb, to publish epic fantasy written in a style that is very different from her style as Megan Lindholm. As Megan Lindholm, she continues to write and publish short stories. The collection The Inheritance  (2011) features shorter works by both Robin Hobb and Megan Lindholm. Forthcoming stories by Megan Lindholm include “Neighbors” for the anthology Dangerous Women  (2012) and “Old Paint” to be published in a future issue of Asimov’s.

More information about Megan Lindholm and Robin Hobb can be found at the following sites:

Both Megan Lindholm and Robin Hobb are active on Facebook and LiveJournal. The Robin Hobb/Megan Lindholm Yuku site is http://robinhobbmeganlindholm.yuku.com/. For Italian readers:  http://www.bloodmemories.it/.

She can be easily reached by email at robinhobb@robinhobb.com.

"Robin Hobb writes achingly well" SFX

"Hobb is one of the great modern fantasy writers ... what makes her novels as addctive as morphine is not just their imaginative brilliance but the way her characters are compromised and manipulated by politics" The Times

"Hobb is superb, spinning wonderful characters and plots from pure imagination" Conn Iggulden

March 4th 2012 interview with Robin Hobb

City of Dragons, the third instalment in The Rain Wild Chronicles, will be published in the UK on the 23rd of April 2012. In advance of the book's release, Robin Hobb has kindly taken time to expound on the inspirations behind the stories.City of Dragons is the third in your Ra [...]

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