Robin sloan



I live in on the eastern edge of the San Francisco Bay, down by the railroad tracks. I am very enthusiastic about the entire Bay Area; I think it’s one of the most vital, interesting places in the world.

(If you are looking for a short bio to use as an introduction: it is here! And a high-resolution version of the portrait above is here.)

I’m the author of the novels Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, a New York Times Best Seller published in 2012, and Sourdough, new in 2017. In addition to those, I’ve produced an assortment of short stories and odd-shaped internet projects. My 2009 novella Annabel Scheme was an early Kickstarter success and still claims a special place in my heart.

I grew up in Troy, Michigan, and went to school at Michigan State, where I studied economics and co-founded a literary magazine called Oats. Between 2002 and 2012, I worked at the Poynter Institute, Current TV, and Twitter, and at all those places, my job had something to do with figuring out the future of media.

I am an enthusiast-level programmer, and I’ve recently been doing some experiments with machine learning. The audiobook for my second novel is, I believe, the world’s first to include sound generated by a neural network!

My partner Kathryn Tomajan and I make extra virgin olive oil on a leased three-acre grove in Sunol, California.

I work out of the Murray Street Media Lab in South Berkeley, which I share with the journalist Alexis Madrigal.

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This book is about Lois Clary, a talented young programmer from Michigan who follows a job to California, only to be drawn into the weird world of food that waits there. It’s about work and eating, robots and microbes, independence and ambition,


I believe it is the first novel in English to feature, as a key supporting character, a possibly-sentient sourdough starter.

Sourdough is published in the U.S. by MCD, a new division of FSG that I’m tremendously proud to be part of. The book’s cover, with its shining alien batard, was designed by Rodrigo Corral, the best in the business.