About Robin

It's me
It's me

I’m the author of the novels Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, a New York Times Best Seller published in 2012, and Sourdough, a non-New York Times Best Seller but still very good book published in 2017. In addition to those, I’ve published many short stories and digital projects. My 2009 novella Annabel Scheme was an early Kick­starter success. My app Fish is a new kind of book entirely.

I have a new novel arriving in June 2024 from MCD×FSG. If you’re inter­ested in following along, I recommend subscribing to my email newsletter, which you can do at the bottom of this page.

I’ve written fiction and commen­tary for many different publications. In 2020, I wrote a newspaper serial that was published daily for two weeks on the front page of the Mercury News and the East Bay Times! It was a total throwback, and one of the great honors of my writing life so far.

If you are looking for a short bio to use in an introduction, please follow this link. You can find a high-resolution version of the portrait above right here.


You can reach me via email: robin@robinsloan.com


The dance of death: death finds an author writing his life, 1827, Edward Hull
The dance of death: death finds an author writing his life, 1827, Edward Hull

I grew up in Troy, Michigan, where the Troy Public Library provided my foundation; I can recall the swish of its automatic vestibule with perfect sensory clarity. A bit later, I went to school at Michigan State University, where I studied economics and co-founded a literary magazine called Oats. Between 2002 and 2011, I worked at the Poynter Institute (2002-2004), Current TV (2004-2009), and Twitter (2010-2011); at all those places, my job had something to do with figuring out the future of media.

From 2012 onward, fiction has paid my bills.

I divide my time between the San Francisco Bay Area, where I maintain a small media lab, and the San Joaquin Valley, where I work with Kathryn Tomajan to make California extra virgin olive oil. (Every shipment includes a zine that I write, design, and print!)

You should use extra virgin olive oil for everything; yes, you should cook with it, too! You’ll be happier and healthier. Seriously. It doesn’t have to be ours … but ours is pretty great.

I am one half of The Cotton Modules, a band formed with the composer Jesse Solomon Clark. Our debut album was Shadow Planet; our latest is The Greatest Remaining Hits.

I wrote two of the char­ac­ters in the video game Neo Cab, produced by Phenry Ewing and Chance Agency.

I am the program­ming equiv­a­lent of a home cook, and I’ve shared many projects on GitHub, including a simple, sturdy e-book template.

Back in 2004, I co-produced, with Matt Thompson, a strange short film (?) titled EPIC 2014. You can watch it courtesy of one of the many YouTube rips.


Here’s a panchro­matic view of galaxy cluster MACS0416, created by combining infrared obser­va­tions from the JSWT with visible-light data from the Hubble Space Telescope. This is just a teeny-tiny spot in the sky — about one-sixtieth the width of the moon:

An image like an abstract painting, a dazzling array of whirls and splotches, all colorful, each one a galaxy

It’s a big world out there. Thanks for being here.

May 2024, Oakland