Bill Roorbach

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Bill Roorbach
Bill Roorbach 2013.JPG
Born William Roorbach
(1953-08-00)August , 1953
Chicago Illinois, United States
Occupation Novelist, short story writer, memoirist, nature writer, journalist, blogger, critic
Nationality American
Notable works Big Bend
Life Among Giants

Bill Roorbach (born August, 1953 Chicago, Illinois) is an American novelist, short story and nature writer, memoirist, journalist, blogger and critic.

Roorbach has authored fiction and nonfiction works including Big Bend, which won the Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction [1] and the O. Henry Prize.[2] Most recently he published the novel Life Among Giants.[3]


Bill Roorbach was born August, 1953 in Chicago, Illinois. The next year, his family moved to suburban Boston, Massachusetts where he attended kindergarten. In 1959 the family moved to New Canaan, Connecticut where he attended public schools from first grade on, graduating from New Canaan High School in 1971. In 1976, he was graduated from Ithaca College cum laude with a B.A. in Individual and Interdisciplinary Studies.

During what he has called his “writing apprenticeship,” [4] Roorbach traveled and worked a series of different jobs. He played piano and sang in a succession of bands, bartended, worked briefly on a cattle ranch, and worked extensively as a carpenter, plumber, and handyman. In January, 1987, he enrolled in the Master of Fine Arts Writing Program of the Columbia University Graduate School of the Arts, where he was awarded a School of the Arts Fellowship, a Fellowship of Distinction and an English Department teaching assistantship. In addition, he was a fiction editor of “Columbia: A Magazine of Poetry and Prose.” He was graduated in May 1990.

Roorbach and his wife, painter Juliet Karelsen,[5] have one daughter, Elysia Pearl.

Academic career[edit]

Roorbach taught at the University of Maine at Farmington from 1991 to 1995 [6] and subsequently at the Ohio State University from 1995 to 2001, winning tenure in 1998.[7] In 2001, he quit his tenured position and returned with his family to Maine where he taught odd semesters as visiting full professor at Colby College. He wrote full-time until Fall, 2004, when he was awarded the William H.P. Jenks Chair of Contemporary American Letters at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, a five-year position as full professor.[8] He commuted from Maine to Worcester until April, 2009, when he returned to full-time writing.[9]


Roorbach sold his first book. Summers with Juliet, to Houghton Mifflin shortly after graduating from Columbia.[10] In 1998, he published Writing Life Stories. During the interim, he published short work, both fiction and nonfiction, in a number of magazines and journals, including The New York Times Magazine,[11] The Atlantic Monthly, Harper’s Magazine,[12] Playboy, The Missouri Review,[13] and Granta, .[14] His first novel, The Smallest Color,[15] a collection of stories, Big Bend, and a collection of essays, Into Woods, written incrementally during the preceding decade, were published in a flurry in 2000 and 2001. Big Bend was featured on the NPR program Selected Shorts, performed by the actor James Cromwell.[16] Contemporary Creative Nonfiction: The Art of Truth, a widely adopted anthology, was published in 2002 by Oxford University Press. In 2004, A Place on Water, which Bill wrote with poet Wesley McNair and essayist Robert Kimber was published by Tilbury House, a craft publisher in Maine. In 2005, the Dial Press (RandomHouse) published Bill’s book Temple Stream: A Rural Odyssey,[17] which was based on Bill’s article of the same name in Harper’s Magazine. Most recently, Roorbach has released Life Among Giants, a novel, published by Algonquin Books in November 2012.[18]


• 2004-2009 William H.P. Jenks Chair in Contemporary Letters, College of the Holy Cross



The Remedy For Love Publisher: Algonquin. 2014.


Short Story Collections[edit]

Short Stories[edit]



  • [1] "NY Times Book Review of Life Among Giants by Bill Roorbach", NY Times, February 22, 2013]
  • [2] "Bob Edwards Interviews Bill Roorbach about Life Among Giants"]


External links[edit]