Jason Roberts (author)
|Period||1997 - present|
|Notable works||A Sense of the World|
|Notable awards||Van Zorn Prize, National Book Critics Circle (finalist), Guardian First Book Award (nominee)|
|Relatives||Anthony K. Roberts (father), Gloria Neil (mother)|
Jason Roberts is an American author. A former journalist and technologist, he has garnered acclaim for his work in both fiction and narrative nonfiction.
The son of Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Anthony Kalani Roberts and the actress Gloria Neil, Roberts grew up in Southern California and Hawaii. Drawn to nearby Silicon Valley while matriculating at the University of California at Santa Cruz, he worked as a software engineer at Apple Computer before leaving to write a series of books on both hardware and software topics, then to serve as a technology reporter for the Village Voice. An early proponent of the Internet, in 1996 Roberts launched the Learn2 Corporation, one of the first sources for non-academic instruction on the Internet. In 1999, the company began publicly trading on the NASDAQ exchange; it has since been acquired by Oracle Corporation. In 2000, shortly after Yahoo! ranked Learn2 as “One of the Ten Most Important Websites of the 20th Century”, Roberts retired from management and returned to writing.
In 2004, Roberts was the inaugural winner of the Van Zorn Prize, awarded by Michael Chabon for the best short fiction exemplifying the tradition of Edgar Allan Poe. In 2006 Roberts’ A Sense of the World, the first biography of the blind traveller James Holman (1786-1857), was a national bestseller, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award. The book was also named a "Best Book of the Year" by the Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, Kirkus Reviews, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and the Rocky Mountain News. In 2018, Roberts announced his next book, Every Living Thing, had been acquired by Random House, for publication in 2020.
Roberts is the editor of The Learn2 Guide, as well as four titles in the bestselling 642 Books series, each collections of creative materials for writers.
Roberts lives in Sausalito, California. He is a board member of the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley and a member of The Grotto, a San Francisco workspace and literary community whose members past and present include Po Bronson, Mary Roach, Noah Hawley, Ethan Canin, Caroline Paul, and T.J. Stiles.