Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  John Eric Robinson  

Pen Name: J. E. Robinson

Genre: Fiction

Audience: Adult;

Born: October 8, 1965 in Alton, Illinois

-- J. E. Robinson on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Robinson was born, raised and still resides in Alton, Illinois.

Biographical and Professional Information

'''PERSONAL BIO:''' Robinson was born October 8, 1965, in Alton, Illinois, to R.Preston and Joyce L(Gill) Robinson. '''EDUCATION:''' BA in Classics, Howard University, 1987 MA, Ancient History, University of Missouri-Columbia, 1989 additional graduate study at the University of Chicago (Byzantine history, 1989-1990). '''CAREER:''' History Instructor, various colleges in the St. Louis Area, 1991-present; taught Cultural Heritage, 2007-2014 and currently is Assistant Professor of History at the St. Louis College of Pharmacy. Robinson is formerly, creator, producer, and host of ''"Eavesdropping,"'' a half-hour conversation, WBGZ-AM, Alton, 1993-2004 ... he interviewed William Least-Heat Moon and Wole Soyinka, among others. '''PUBLICATIONS:''' Robinson began producing and publishing poetry as a college student in 1983; stopped working in poetry in 1986 to concentrate upon fiction. resumed writing poetry in 1997, producing ''"Five Verses,"'' which has appeared widely, including in the public radio podcast ''"Calling America,"'' since 1997, poems have appeared widely. Since 2002, he has been producing personal essays, mostly on schizophrenia, from which he suffers. in 2005, the essay ''"Notes from a Janitor's Closet,"'' published in ''KARAMU'', received the Illinois Arts Council Literary Award; essays have appeared widely, and have received a Pushcart nomination. ''SKIP MACALESTER'' (2006) took seven years to publish; it was named a "Paperback Pick" by the American Booksellers Association in summer 2006. A general, and prevailing, interpretation is that the book is autobiographical in some way, despite the author's protestations to the contrary. '''THEATER PRODUCTIONS:'''"The Juneteenth Legacy Theatre presented Robinson's one-act play, "Mother's Day," as part of its 2005 Juneteenth Jamboree of New Plays. That play, which featured characters appearing again in ''Skip Macalester'', was directed by Kathi Ellis and tells the fall of Congressman Alfred Macalester due to a secret affair with a mistress and the rise his mother Madelyn Macalester as his replacement in the House of Representatives. In his June 15, 2005, review in The Louisville Courier-Journal, Marty Rosen said "Once the forces are gathered, (the action is) caught in a whirl of intrigue transacted in face-paced dialogue by vividly drawn characters." The play was subsequently presented by the University of Missouri-St. Louis as part of the E. Desmond Lee Playwriting Competition, as runner-up, in 2007. A New York premiere of "Mother's Day" is in the works. Robinson returned to theater in 2015. In May 2015, the Downtown Urban Theatre Festival in New York City presented "Spades," another one-act by Robinson, with Patricia Floyd directing. Set in the Harlem Renaissance, "Spades" features writers Rudolph Fisher, Langston Hughes, Bruce Nugent, and Wallace Thurman. The audience included a personal friend of Nugent, who had died thirty years before; he praised the almost "real-life quality" of Robinson's characterizations." The play received Second Place, Short Play category, 2015 Downtown Urban Theater Festival, New York, New York.Read an interview of Robinson by ''Niche'' magazine at: [].

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

Skip Macalester
ISBN: 1560235764

Harrington Park Pr. 2006

Skip Macalester offers a look inside the life of an African-American prep school boy who's smart but a little naive in his relationships with his parents, his cousins, his teachers, his best friend, his schoolmates, and just about everybody else. As Skip makes the difficult journey from callow kid to mature young man, he learns a great deal about the most important people in his life - and about himself.

The Day Rider and Other Stories: a collection
ISBN: 1928589871

Gival Press. 2013

The Day Rider & Other Stories presents characters nominally situated in one world who seek to join another, while being themselves. Many main characters ‘pass’—not merely in the conventional sense, of appearing as one race and acculturating as another, nor as one sexual orientation and moving conveniently into another as affections and conventions dictate, but also in its ‘unconventional’ senses, of moving from mortality to immortality, or from the oppressed and disadvantaged to being the oppressor and the privileged. This collection discusses the wide sweep of ‘passing’ and wonders whether doing so is an anathema to humanity or inherent to humanity.


Robinson received the 2005 Illinois Arts Council Literary Award for his essays. His novel ''Skip Macalester'' was designated a Paperback Pick by the American Booksellers Association. He has also received three Pushcart Prize nominations for his essays, and a Plainsongs Award from Hastings College (Nebraska)

for his poetry. In May 2014, ''The Day Rider and Other Stories

Speaking Engagements

Speaking Engagement Availability (No)