Rothfuss, Pat 1973- (Patrick Rothfuss, Patrick J. Rothfuss)

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Rothfuss, Pat 1973- (Patrick Rothfuss, Patrick J. Rothfuss)


Born 1973, in WI. Education: University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point, B.A.; Washington State University, M.A., 2002.


Home—WI. Office—Department of English, University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point, CCC 318, 2100 Main St., Stevens Point, WI 54481-3897. Agent—Matt Bialer, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates, Inc., 55 5th Ave., New York, NY 10003. E-mail—[email protected].


Writer, educator, poet, public speaker, and novelist. University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point, instructor in English and fencing. Conducts workshops throughout the United States.


Writers of the Future Contest, first-place winner, 2002, for short story "The Road to Levinshir."


Your Annotated, Illustrated College Survival Guide, Cornerstone Press (Stevens Point, WI), 2005.

The Name of the Wind ("The Kingkiller Chronicle" series; fantasy novel), DAW Books (New York, NY), 2007.

Also author of the blog Pat's Fantasy Hotlist.


Writer and novelist Pat Rothfuss is an instructor in English and fencing at the University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point, the university where he himself earned his bachelor's degree. As a child, Rothfuss developed a love for books and reading because the long Wisconsin winters and lack of cable television left him with few other options for entertainment, according to a biographer on the author's home page. As a college student at the University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point, Rothfuss drifted from major to major, first in chemical engineering, then in psychology. He spent nine years as an undergraduate before the college forced him to declare and finish a major, noted the biographer. His selection: English. During his aimless days in college, he had discovered an interest in and talent for writing that, up to then, he hadn't suspected he possessed. While an undergraduate, Rothfuss began writing for the local paper, for a comedy radio show, and for a literary magazine. He also started writing a novel, a hefty fantasy, that he spent seven years on and finished two months before graduation.

After completing graduate school at the University of Washington, Rothfuss returned to his undergraduate alma mater and became an instructor in English. Still interested in writing fiction, he shaped an episode from his long fantasy novel into a short story and submitted it to the Writers of the Future contest. This story, "The Road to Levinshir," earned him first-place honors in the contest. As part of his award, he was invited to a writing workshop in Los Angeles, where he met noted science fiction author Kevin J. Anderson. Later, Anderson introduced Rothfuss to his literary agent, Matt Bialer, who agreed to represent Rothfuss's novel. In time, Bialer submitted the manuscript to Betsy Wollheim, president and editor at DAW books. Wollheim enthusiastically agreed to publish the book, which became Rothfuss's debut novel, The Name of the Wind. The book is the first volume in the projected "Kingkiller Chronicle" trilogy. The other two books in the series have been finished and sold to Wollheim, Rothfuss noted in an interview on his Web log, and will be released on a roughly annual basis.

The Name of the Wind tells the story of Kvothe (pronounced "Qwothe"), a famous and powerful sorcerer. The story begins when Kvothe, of advanced age and hiding in plain sight as an innkeeper, rescues a traveling scholar/reporter from an attack by a strange demonic spider. When the journalist recognizes Kvothe for who he is, he asks to record the powerful sorcerer's story for posterity. Kvothe agrees, and begins telling the young chronicler his life story; the novel is the end result of his first day of reminiscing. The novel then shifts into flashbacks and becomes Kvothe's autobiography, taking up his story from his earliest days as a young prodigy in a close-knit family of prestigious traveling performers. As the players travel, the young Kvothe is mentored by Abenthy, who teaches him science, medicine, and the rudiments of "sympathy," a potent form of magic. Deadly tragedy strikes when Kvothe's entire family is killed by a group of marauders known as the Chandrian; he survives only because he had wandered off and wasn't there when the Chandrian attacked. Thrust into despair, Kvothe ekes out a meager living on the streets before once again taking charge of his life, determined to use his talents and skills to advance himself. He manages to gain admission to an elite sorcerer's college, where he quickly learns the ways of magic even as he struggles with more mundane matters such as paying his tuition and finding something to eat. For Kvothe, the source of true magic lies in the true names of things, the knowledge of which will give him power over the objects he names. By the end of the novel, Kvothe has advanced his studies but brought down the wrath of the magic librarians on him for carrying an open flame into the stacks. He has sparked the wrath of a noble-born rival at the school, and has borrowed money from a loan shark to pay his tuition. Other questions begin to slowly unravel, including the nature of the Chandrians, the nature of Kvothe's magical abilities, and the full scope of the fate that is in store for him.

The enormously positive reaction to The Name of the Wind began with editor Wollheim herself. Along with review copies of the book, she included an effusive letter of praise for the book, calling it "the most brilliant first fantasy novel I have ever read in over thirty years as an editor," reported Adam Roberts on the Strange Horizons Web site. Additional compliments followed from a variety of reviewers. Greenman Review Web site critic Kathleen Bartholomew observed that the book is "one of those ‘first’ novels that blind-sides the reader with such power and skill that one wonders how the author has managed to stay unpublished until now." Considering Rothfuss's background, Bartholomew concluded that "he has been writing for years, and only now has let his work loose to a grateful world." Rothfuss "is working from a bottomless well of raw talent," remarked SF critic Thomas M. Wagner. "You don't have to get much more than half a dozen pages in before acknowledging that you're looking at a natural born writer. His ease with language and unpretentious, flowing prose are a joy to behold, and such craft makes this lengthy novel fly by," Wagner continued. A Publishers Weekly reviewer concluded, "This is the type of assured, rich first novel most writers can only dream of producing."



Booklist, April 15, 2007, Frieda Murray, review of The Name of the Wind, p. 27.

Entertainment Weekly, April 20, 2007, Neil Drumming, Hannah Tucker, Polly Shulman, and Marc Bernardin, "Something Wiccan This Way Comes," review of The Name of the Wind, p. 65.

Houston Chronicle, November 2, 2007, Dylan Otto Krider, "Words of Magic, the Magic of Words," review of The Name of the Wind.

Library Journal, January 1, 2007, Jackie Cassada, review of The Name of the Wind, p. 101.

Publishers Weekly, January 29, 2007, review of The Name of the Wind, p. 46; February 12, 2007, Akiva Cohen, "PW Talks with Patrick Rothfuss: Pitch-Perfect High Fantasy," p. 68.

San Francisco Chronicle, June 3, 2007, Michael Berry, "His Family Slain, Trickster Carries On," review of The Name of the Wind.


A.V. Club, (April 5, 2007), Donna Bowman, review of The Name of the Wind.

BookLoons, (December 5, 2007), Hilary Williamson, review of The Name of the Wind.

Coffee Korner, (December 5, 2007), "10 Second Interview: A Few Words with Patrick Rothfuss."

Dribble of Ink Web log, (December 5, 2006), June 8, 2007, interview with Patrick Rothfuss.

Eventful, (December 5, 2007), autobiography of Patrick Rothfuss.

Fantasy Book Critic Web log, (December 5, 2007), interview with Patrick Rothfuss.

Greenman Review, (December 5, 2007), Kathleen Bartholomew, review of The Name of the Wind.

OF Blog of the Fallen, (June 10, 2007), interview with Patrick Rothfuss.

Patrick Rothfuss Home Page, (December 5, 2007).

Phantastik Couch, (December 5, 2007), Frank Dudley, interview with Patrick Rothfuss.

SF, (December 5, 2007), Thomas M. Wagner, review of The Name of the Wind.

SFX Magazine, (September 26, 2007), Saxon Bullock, review of The Name of the Wind

Strange Horizons, (June 18, 2007), Hannah Strom-Martin, review of The Name of the Wind; (July 16, 2007), Adam Roberts, review of The Name of the Wind.

Subterranean Press Web site, (December 5, 2007), Alethea Kontis, interview with Patrick Rothfuss.

University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point Department of English Web site, (December 5, 2007), biography of Pat Rothfuss.

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Rothfuss, Pat 1973- (Patrick Rothfuss, Patrick J. Rothfuss)

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