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Roberts, Jason 1962-

Roberts, Jason 1962-

PERSONAL: Born May 16, 1962 in Arcadia, CA; son of Anthony K. Roberts (a photojournalist) and Gloria Jean Neil (an actress); married Patricia Mixon; children: two. Education: University of California, Santa Cruz, B.A.

ADDRESSES: Home— Marin County, CA. Office— The Writers’ Grotto, 490 2nd St., Ste. 200, San Francisco, CA 94107. E-mail— [email protected]

CAREER: Freelance writer. Learn2.com Web site, creator and CEO, 1994-99. Guest lecturer at Stanford University, San Francisco State University, and California College of the Arts.

AWARDS, HONORS: Van Zorn Prize for fiction, 2004; finalist, National Book Critics Circle Award for Biography, 2006.

WRITINGS

Director Demystified: Creating Interactive Multimedia with Macromedia Director, Peachpit Press (Berkeley, CA), 1995.

Director 5 Demystified: Creating Interactive Multimedia with Macromedia Director, Peachpit Press (Berkeley, CA), 1996.

Director 6 Demystified: The Official Guide to Macromedia Director, Lingo, and Shockwave, Peachpit Press (Berkeley, CA), 1998.

(With Phil Gross) Director 7 Demystified: The Official Guide to Macromedia Director, Lingo, and Shockwave, Peachpit Press (Berkeley, CA), 1999.

(Editor) The Learn2 Guide: Burp a Baby, Carve a Turkey, and 108 Other Things You Should Know How to Do, illustrated by Scott Hartley and Ethan Hay, Villard (New York, NY), 1999.

(With Phil Gross) Director 8 Demystified: The Official Guide to Macromedia Director, Lingo, and Shockwave, Peachpit Press (Berkeley, CA), 2000.

A Sense of the World: How a Blind Man Became History’s Greatest Traveler, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2006.

Contributor to Village Voice, McSweeney’s, The Believer, the San Francisco Chronicle, and Washington Post.

SIDELIGHTS: Jason Roberts is a freelance writer who has written for numerous periodicals, including Mc-Sweeney’s, The Believer, San Francisco Chronicle, and Village Voice. In 1994 Roberts founded the Learn2.com Web site, considered among the first uses of the Internet as an education outlet to the general public. The company grew and ultimately was listed on the NASDAQ. Five years after its start, Yahoo.com Web site named the site “one of the twelve most important Web sites of the 20th century,” according to the profile on the Jason Roberts Home Page. It is around this time that Roberts decided to leave the company to continue writing. In 2004, he was awarded the Van Zorn Prize, an award established and bestowed by author Michael Chabon, for fiction by an emerging writer “in the tradition of Edgar Allan Poe.”

Although Roberts had several books already published, his first publication to receive wide critical success was A Sense of the World: How a Blind Man Became History’s Greatest Traveler in 2006. This book is a biography of James Holman (1786-1857), a blind man who garnered some international acclaim for traveling around the world on his own. Holman’s travels and even specific conversations were documented well enough for Roberts to reconstruct his life travels and bring him out of obscurity. Many critics were pleased with the amount of research that went into the book. Gilbert Taylor, in his review for Booklist, commented that “Roberts reveals thorough research through a perceptive, expressive narrative.” A reviewer in the Economist noted that Roberts “paints a convincing and well-researched picture.” Alan Turner, reviewing the book in Publishers Weekly, found the book to be “a fascinating, compelling, and very entertaining combination of travelogue and character study.”

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES

PERIODICALS

Biography, summer, 2006, Florence Williams, review of A Sense of the World: How a Blind Man Became History’s Greatest Traveler, p. 523.

Booklist, June 1, 2006, Gilbert Taylor, review of A Sense of the World, p. 29.

California Bookwatch, October, 2006, review of A Sense of the World.

Chicago Tribune, August 13, 2006, Danielle Chapman, review of A Sense of the World, p. 8.

Economist, August 26, 2006, review of A Sense of the World, p. 70.

Kirkus Reviews, May 1, 2006, review of A Sense of the World, p. 449.

Library Journal, December, 1996, review of Director 5 Demystified: Creating Interactive Multimedia with Macromedia Director, p. 138; March 1, 1998, Thom Gillespie, review of Director 6 Demystified: The Official Guide to Macromedia Director, Lingo, and Shockwave, p. 121; November 1, 1999, Thom Gillespie, review of Director 7 Demystified: The Official Guide to Macromedia Director, Lingo, and Shockwave, p. 120; May 1, 2006, Robert J. Andrews, review of A Sense of the World, p. 94.

London Review of Books, September 7, 2006, Jenny Diski, review of A Sense of the World, p. 23.

Publishers Weekly, April 3, 2006, review of A Sense of the World, p. 49; April 10, 2006, Alan Turner, review of A Sense of the World, p. 6; May 1, 2006, Chris Barsanti, “The Blind Traveler: PW talks with Jason Roberts,” p. 46.

School Library Journal, September, 2006, Dori De-Spain, review of A Sense of the World, p. 250.

SciTech Book News, December, 1999, review of Director 7 Demystified, p. 19.

Seattle Times, July 5, 2006, Mary Ann Gwinn, review of A Sense of the World.

Spectator, July 29, 2006, Sandy Balfour, review of A Sense of the World.

Time, June 12, 2006, Lev Grossman, review of A Sense of the World, p. 102.

Washington Post Book World, July 9, 2006, review of A Sense of the World, p. 9.

ONLINE

Jason Roberts Home Page, http://www.jasonroberts.net (January 2, 2007), author biography.

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