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; Sourdough, a non-New York Times Best Seller but still very good book published in 2017; and Moonbound, my latest, which arrived in 2024.

I’ve also 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 followed that up with Book Tour Simulatoe 2024.)

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.

These days, 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.

July 2024, Oakland