Robert Fulghum

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Robert Fulghum
Robert Fulghum.jpg
Robert Fulghum in 2007
Born Robert Lee Fulghum
(1937-06-04) June 4, 1937 (age 78)
Waco, Texas
Occupation writer
Nationality American
Genre Essays, fiction
Subject Spirituality
Children 4

Robert Lee Fulghum (born June 4, 1937) is an American author.

Early career[edit]

Fulghum worked as a Unitarian Universalist minister at the Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship in Bellingham, Washington from 1960–64, and the Edmonds Unitarian Universalist Church in Edmonds, Washington, amongst other communities, well into the 1980s.

During this period he also taught drawing, painting, and philosophy at the Lakeside School in Seattle. Fulghum is an accomplished painter and sculptor. He sings, and plays the guitar and mando-cello. He was a founding member of the authors' collective rock-and-roll band, Rock Bottom Remainders. Previous to his professional careers, he also worked as a ditch-digger, newspaper carrier, ranch hand, salesman for IBM, and singing cowboy.

He grew up in Waco, Texas.


Fulghum came to prominence in the United States when his first collection of writings, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten (1988), stayed on the New York Times bestseller lists for nearly two years. Throughout the collection, subtitled "Uncommon Thoughts on Common Things", Fulghum expounds his down-home philosophy of seeing the world through the eyes of a child.

There are currently more than 16 million copies of his books in print, published in 27 languages in 103 countries. His prose style is very simple and direct, and finds life-affirming maxims in such mundane matters as visiting zoos, leaf-raking, and dusting.


Fulghum performed in two television adaptations of his work for PBS, and is a Grammy nominee for the spoken word award. He has been a speaker at numerous colleges, conventions, and public events across the United States and Europe. He has been a nationally syndicated newspaper columnist.


Fulghum wrote a novel in three volumes. The first, Third Wish, was continued in Third Wish II, The Rest of the Story, Almost, and completed with the third volume, Third Wish, Granted. The novel was published in several languages. The English-language edition was released in February 2009.

His next novel, If You Love Me Still, Will You Love Me Moving? Tales from the Century Ballroom, was inspired by Fulghum's love of dancing, especially tango, and was first published in Czech (as Drž mě pevně, miluj mě zlehka) in 2011.

Eventually his books of essays were transformed into two stage productions. The first shares the same title as his first book, and was conceived and adapted by Ernest Zulia, with music and lyrics by David Caldwell. The play is based on all eight books, and is an optional musical. The second is entitled Uh-Oh, Here Comes Christmas. To date there have been more than 2,000 national and international productions of these plays.

Personal life[edit]

Fulghum has four children and nine grandchildren. He is married to the painter Willow Bader.[1] He lives in Seattle, Washington; in Moab, Utah; and on the Greek island of Crete.


His collections include:

  • All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten
  • It Was on Fire When I Lay Down on It
  • Uh-Oh: Some Observations from Both Sides of the Refrigerator Door
  • Maybe (Maybe Not)
  • From Beginning to End—The Rituals of Our Lives
  • True Love
  • Words I Wish I Wrote
  • What on Earth Have I Done
  • The Ongoing Adventures of Captain Kindergarten
  • Hold Me Fast, Love Me Slow


External links[edit]