Roger Rosenblatt (born 1940) is an American memoirist, essayist, and novelist.
He was a long-time essayist for ''Time
'' magazine and ''PBS NewsHour
''. He is currently the Distinguished Professor of English and Writing at Stony Brook University
Roger Rosenblatt began writing professionally in his mid-30s, when he became literary editor and a columnist for ''The New Republic
''. Before that, he taught at Harvard
, where he earned his Ph.D. In 1965–66 he was a Fulbright
Scholar in Ireland, where he played on the Irish international basketball team. At age 25, he became the director of Harvard's freshman writing department. At age 28, he held the Briggs–Copeland appointment in the teaching of writing, and was Allston–Burr Senior Tutor, and later, Master of Dunster House
. At age 29 he was the youngest House Master in Harvard's history. At Harvard, apart from creative writing, he taught Irish drama, modern poetry, and the university's first course in African American literature. In 2005 he was the Edward R. Murrow
visiting professor at Harvard.
Before turning solely to literary work, he was a columnist on ''The Washington Post
'', during which time Washingtonian Magazine
named him Best Columnist in Washington, and an essayist for the ''NewsHour
'' on PBS
. With Jim Lehrer
and Robert MacNeil
, he created the first essays ever done on television. In 1979 he became an essayist for ''Time
'' magazine, a post that he held on and off until 2006. He continued to do TV essays for the ''NewsHour'' until that same year. His essays for ''Time'' won two George Polk Awards
[ awards from the Overseas Press Club, the American Bar Association, and others. His ''NewsHour'' essays won the Peabody Award and the Emmy. His ''Time'' cover essay, "A Letter to the Year 2086" was chosen for the time capsule placed inside the Statue of Liberty at its centennial. He argued in a 1999 article for ''Time'' that guns should be banned.
In 2006 Rosenblatt left his positions at ''Time'' and the ''NewsHour'' and gave up journalism to devote his time to the writing of memoirs, novels and extended essays. His first novel, ''Lapham Rising'', was a national bestseller. ''Making Toast'' was a ''New York Times'' bestseller. The memoir was a book-length version of an essay he wrote for the ''New Yorker'' magazine, on the death of his daughter, in 2008. He followed ''Making Toast'' with ''Unless It Moves the Human Heart'', a book on the art and craft of writing, which was also a ''New York Times'' bestseller, as was ''Kayak Morning'', a meditation on grief. ''The Boy Detective: A New York Childhood'' was published in 2013. ''The Book of Love: Improvisations on That Crazy Little Thing'' was published in January 2015. His novel, ''Thomas Murphy'', was published in January, 2016. His most recent book, ''Cold Moon: On Life, Love, and Responsibility'', was published in October, 2020.
Of ''Cold Moon,'' ''The Washington Post'' wrote: "In this deceptively short book, the celebrated author and essayist takes us on a tour of his 'weathered mind.' His memories of his life summon ours, without warning or apology. Line by line, he helps us find softer landings... He never mentions he pandemic and yet he does... 'Everybody grieves.' So many lost, with many more to die... Let us abide by Rosenblatt's No. 3. We are responsible for each other." ''Kirkus Reviews'' wrote: "In brief passages connected by associations and the improvisational feel of jazz osenblattmoves fluidly among memoir, philosophy, natural history and inspiration... A tonic for tough times filled with plain spoken lyricism, gratitude, and good humor."
In total, he is the author of 20 books, which have been published in 14 languages. They include the national bestseller ''Rules for Aging''; three collections of essays; and ''Children of War'', which won the Robert F. Kennedy Book Prize and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.
He has also written six off-Broadway plays, including ''Ashley Montana Goes Ashore in the Caicos'', and ''The Oldsmobiles'', both produced at the Flea Theater. His comic one-man show, ''Free Speech in America'', which he performed at the American Place Theater, was cited by the ''New York Times'' as one of the 10 best plays of 1991. His most recent play, performed at the Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor (2019), was “Lives in the Basement, Does Nothing,” a musical monologue on the art of writing, for which he sang and played piano.
In his recent books, Rosenblatt has experimented with a form of narrative that connects section to section, without chapter demarcations, dismissing chronological time, and mixing fact and fiction. The effect he seeks is akin to movements in music. In his review of ''The Boy Detective'' in the ''New York Times Book Review'', Pete Hamill compared Rosenblatt's style to that of "a great jazz musician...moving from one emotion to another, playing some with a dose of irony, others with joy, and a few with pain and melancholy (the blues, of course). Alone with the instrument of his art, he seems to be hoping only to surprise himself."
In 2008 he was appointed Distinguished Professor of English and Writing at Stony Brook University, where he currently teaches. In 2009 he was selected as one of three finalists for the Robert Cherry Award,] given to the best university teacher in the country. Seven universities have awarded him honorary doctorates. [
In November 2015, Rosenblatt received the 2015 Kenyon Review Award for Literary Achievement. In June, 2016, he was awarded the President's Medal of the Chautauqua Institution for the artistic and moral quality of his body of work.
In 2018, he launched a podcast: ''Word for Word with Roger Rosenblatt.'' In 2021, he founded Write America, a national reading series broadcast weekly by writers devoted to healing divisions in the country. ]
*''The Story I Am''—2020
*''The Book of Love''—2015
*''The Boy Detective: A New York Childhood''—2013
*''Unless it Moves the Human Heart: The Art and Craft of Writing''—2011
*''Beet'' - 2008
*''Anything Can Happen''—2004
*''Where We Stand: 30 Reasons for Loving Our Country''—2002
*''Rules for Aging''—2000
*''Consuming Desires: Consumption, Culture and the Pursuit of Happiness''—1999
*''Coming Apart: A Memoir of the Harvard Wars'' of 1969—1997
*''The Man In The Water''—1994
*''Life Itself: Abortion in the American Mind''—1992
*''Witness: The World Since Hiroshima''—1985
*''Children of War''—1983
Category:American male writers
Category:Harvard University alumni
Category:Harvard University faculty
Category:Stony Brook University faculty
Category:The American Spectator people
Category:The New Republic people
Category:Time (magazine) people
Category:American male journalists