Rob Kirkpatrick

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Rob Kirkpatrick is an American literary agent, editor, and author. He has published the books of many well-known authors, primarily in the field of nonfiction. He is also an author in his own right, most notably of the narrative history 1969: The Year Everything Changed.

Early life[edit]

Rob Kirkpatrick was born and raised in upstate New York. His father was the Town Supervisor for Newburgh (town), New York and coined the town's official motto "Crossroads of the Northeast." Rob's mother is a retired Reading Recovery teacher. Kirkpatrick attended Wallkill Senior High School and graduated from Rutgers University.

Career in book publishing[edit]

Kirkpatrick with former MTV VJ Kennedy at a book party in New York City, July 2013

Kirkpatrick worked as a commissioning editor in the book publishing industry and published a wide range of writers including New York Times bestselling authors Bryan Bishop and Leigh Steinberg, as well as Alex Storozynski, Tom Ridge, Leana Wen, Linda Cohn, Mark Oliver Everett, Lisa Kennedy Montgomery, Bud Harrelson, Kurt Loder, Leon Hendrix, Sean Lahman, John Hemingway, Mark K. Updegrove, Ron Christie, Don Ed Hardy, Bill Rodgers (athlete), Viv Albertine, Shannon Miller, Dennis Dunaway, David Silverman, and Jay Jaffe.

In 2012, he published The Wrecking Crew: The Inside Story of Rock and Roll's Best-Kept Secret by Kent Hartman, which won both the Oregon Book Award for General Nonfiction and the Audie Award for History. The New York Times critic Janet Maslin praised the book, writing "It makes good music sound better."[1] That same year, a novel published by Kirkpatrick, Man Martin's Paradise Dogs, won the Georgia Writers Association Georgia Author of the Year prize for Fiction.

In 2013, Kirkpatrick published Bill Rodgers' memoir Marathon Man: My 26.2-Mile Journey from Unknown Grad Student to the Top of the Running World. Moments after winning the 2014 Boston Marathon, Meb Keflezighi credited Bill Rodgers' book with helping him plan his strategy for the race.[2][3]

In 2014, he published Charles Falco's memoir Vagos, Mongols, and Outlaws, which would serve as the basis for the TV series Gangland Undercover. Kirkpatrick also published the critically acclaimed memoir from musician Viv Albertine, Clothes, Clothes, Clothes. Music, Music, Music. Boys, Boys, Boys. Dwight Garner (critic) of The New York Times declared it "wiry and cogent and fearless" and Greil Marcus called it a "lazing, rueful memoir."[4][5]Rolling Stone ranked it as one of the 10 Best Music Books of 2014, and Rough Trade (shops) named it the #1 Book of the Year. [6] [7] In 2019, the New York Times named Albertine's book one of "The 50 Best Memoirs of the Past 50 Years."[8]

In addition, The Peasant Prince, Alex Storozynski's landmark biography of Tadeusz Kościuszko, which Kirkpatrick published in 2009, won the Fraunces Tavern Museum Book Award. He also was the editor for Unfriendly Fire by scholar Nathaniel Frank, which won the Stonewall Book Award from the American Library Association. Janet Maslin praised the book as, "A sharp, vigorously framed analysis argued so discerningly, so substantively and so well."[9]

Kirkpatrick also acquired the publishing rights to The Cooperstown Casebook from Jay Jaffe of Sports Illustrated, who devised the Jaffe WAR Score System, and Bear: The Life and Times of Augustus Owsley Stanley III by Robert Greenfield.

In May 2015, it was announced Kirkpatrick had moved to an imprint of HarperCollins.[10] He was the editor for 50 Years, 50 Moments, co-written by Jerry Rice and Randy O. Marshall.

In December of that year, Writer's Digest reported Kirkpatrick had joined The Stuart Agency as a literary agent.[11] In his first few deals as an agent, he has represented such authors as Bob Tewksbury, Chael Sonnen, Steven Novella from The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe, and Olivia Hussey.[12] Novella's book, written with Bob Novella, Cara Santa Maria, Jay Novella, and Evan Bernstein, made the USA Today bestseller list in October 2018. On his Twitter account, Kirkpatrick posted that he had made national bestseller lists as an agent, an editor, and an author.[13]

In 2018, Publishers Marketplace announced Kirkpatrick had formed his own agency, Kirkpatrick Literary. In April 2019, Publishers Weekly announced that Kirkpatrick had brokered his first deal with his new agency in selling the rights to David Wright's forthcoming memoir, to be co-authored by Anthony DiComo, to Dutton (imprint), an imprint of Penguin Random House.[14] The industry web site Publishers Marketplace named the sale its "Deal of the Day."[15]


Kirkpatrick is the author of Cecil Travis of the Washington Senators: The War-Torn Career of an All-Star Shortstop (2005), Magic in the Night: The Words and Music of Bruce Springsteen (2006), and 1969: The Year Everything Changed (2009).

1969 was published in 2009 for the 40th anniversary of that year and was featured in a two-page story by Craig Wilson (columnist) in USA Today.[16] The book received positive reviews from the History (U.S. TV channel) Magazine, which called it "A compelling account of the historic year" and Library Journal, which said, "In this compelling account, Kirkpatrick treats the tumultuous events of 1969 with the skills of a journalist, a historian, a sociologist, and a sportswriter and manages to insert moments of lightness and triviality into his grand tour." [17] The book was serialized by both PopMatters and LOST Magazine. Following the publication of 1969, Kirkpatrick appeared as a commentator in the History channel documentary Sex in '69: The Sexual Revolution in America.

2009 also saw the publication of trade paperback versions for his books on Travis and Springsteen. Following its paperback publication, Magic in the Night was praised by PopMatters as "A treasure trove for serious Springsteen fans," and The Irish Times said "It is always salutary to be reminded that no matter how much you think you know something, there is always someone who knows more. And when it comes to Bruce Springsteen...Rob Kirkpatrick knows more, a lot more."[18] As part of his publicity for Magic in the Night, the author appeared as a guest DJ on Sirius XM Radio's E Street Radio.

Kirkpatrick has written about film, music, sports, and cultural issues for such online sites as The Huffington Post and PopMatters. In his most responded-to piece, he addressed comments on race and sports by ESPN commentators Rob Parker (sports journalist) and also Jalen Rose, whose comments Kirkpatrick placed within a larger social narrative of Uncle Tom-ism and the acting white slur.[19]

He is a supporter of Tottenham Hotspur F.C.

Personal life[edit]

In June 2013, Kirkpatrick married author and editor Toni Margarita Plummer at a ceremony in Garrison, New York.[20]

Selected works[edit]

1969: The Year Everything Changed (Skyhorse, 2009; trade paperback, 2011; reissued 2019)

Magic in the Night: The Words and Music of Bruce Springsteen (St. Martin's Griffin, trade paperback, 2009; published in hardcover with the title The Words and Music of Bruce Springsteen by Praeger, 2006)

Cecil Travis of the Washington Senators: The War-Torn Career of an All-Star Shortstop (U Nebraska/Bison, 2009)

"Epiphany at Coogan's Bluff," Slow Trains Literary Journal (2007).

The Quotable Sixties (as editor) (Lyons, 2006)

"Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Knuckleball," Aethlon: The Journal of Sport Literature (East Tennessee State University Press, 2005).


Gangland Undercover, History (U.S. TV channel) miniseries (2015), executive producer.

Sex in '69: The Sexual Revolution in America, History (U.S. TV channel) documentary (2009), appears as himself.


  1. ^ "'The Wrecking Crew,' by Kent Hartman, on '60s Studio Musicians," New York Times, February 19, 2012. Accessed 2015-06-20.
  2. ^ Mario Fraioli, "Meb Keflezighi’s Boston Marathon Win Powerful On Many Levels,", April 24, 2014. Accessed 2014-07-13.
  3. ^ Scott Douglas, "Meb's Win, Women's Record Highlight Boston Marathon," Runners World,, April 21, 2014. Accessed 2014-07-13.
  4. ^ "A Memoir by Viv Albertine, Punk Rocker, The New York Times, November 19, 2014. Accessed 2015-06-20.
  5. ^ "Real Life Rock Top 10: Long Revolutions,", December 26, 2014. Accessed 2015-06-20.
  6. ^ "10 Best Music Books of 2014,", December 22, 2014. Accessed 2015-06-20.
  7. ^, November 24, 2014. Accessed 2017-08-10.
  8. ^ New York Times, "The 50 Best Memoirs of the Past 50 Years, June 26, 2019.
  9. ^ "The Policy That Dare Not Speak Its Name," The New York Times, March 18, 2009. Accessed 2015-06-20.
  10. ^ "People, Etc.," Publishers Lunch, May 12, 2015. Accessed 2016-01-13.
  11. ^ "New Literary Agent Alert: Rob Kirkpatrick of The Stuart Agency," Writer's Digest, December 15, 2015. Accessed 2016-01-13.
  12. ^ "Publishers Marketplace/Dealmaker/Rob Kirkpatrick," Accessed 2017-08-10.
  13. ^ Twitter, Rob Kirkpatrick, December 4, 2018.
  14. ^ Publishers Weekly, "Book Deals: Week of April 15, 2019: "Dutton Preempts Captain America."
  15. ^ Publishers Marketplace, April 8, 2019.
  16. ^ Craig Wilson, "'1969': The year, and a book, that defined an era," USA Today,, January 26, 2009. Accessed 2011-07-23.
  17. ^ Thomas A. Karel, "1969: The Year Everything Changed" (review), Library Journal, February 1, 2009.
  18. ^ Magic in the Night ( Accessed 2013-01-06.
  19. ^ Rob Kirkpatrick, "The Racial Biases of Duke Hating," The Huffington Post, March 23, 2011. Accessed 2013-01-06.
  20. ^ "Toni Plummer, Robert Kirkpatrick III," New York Times, June 16, 2013. Accessed 2013-06-25.

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