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Robert A. Garfinkle's Biography

Member Info

Union City, California
Kathleen Mary Garfinkle, married in 1972
Jan 2008

Robert A. Garfinkle
Mr. Garfinkle has been a professional writer for 30 years. In addition to his two astronomy books, Robert has published book reviews, articles, and short stories. He is the author of the international best-selling astronomy book Star-Hopping: Your Visa to Viewing the Universe (Cambridge University Press, 1994, 1997), a co-author of Advanced Skywatching (The Nature Company; Time-Life Books, 1997), and a contributing author to the Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers (2007). Springer will be publishing his major lunar observers’ handbook (in-progress). Star-Hopping was the Alternate Selection for November 1994 of the Astronomy Book Club.


From February 1996 through July 1999, Robert created the monthly “SkyChart” and “SkyTalk” pages for Mercury, the bimonthly magazine of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific. His astronomical writings have also appeared in Astronomy, Sky & Telescope, Selenology, The Journal of the British Astronomical Association, The Journal of the Irish Astronomical Society, The Journal of the Antique Telescope Society, The Observers’ Guide, and Deep Sky Journal. He is the Book Review Editor for The Journal of the Association of Lunar and Planetary Observers. Robert was a contributing editor for Business Software magazine (early 1980s). The success of his astronomical writings lead to Robert being elected a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society of London, in 1998.

In addition to being a best-selling nonfiction author, Robert has also won awards for his short stories. “When Are You Going to Cry” won first place in the Las Positas College fiction contest and second place in “Writers Talk Challenge 2005”. The story was published in “The Sand Hill Press” (Stanford University, 2006). His coming-of-age story, “Up and Over” was the cover story for the December 1992 issue of Seedling Short Story International (vol 12, no. 48).

From 1981 to 2002, Robert worked as a full-time Senior Technical Writer. He wrote technical documentation for military hardware, high-tech semiconductor products, marketing materials, white papers, and company press releases.

Robert holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in History (1975) and English (1994) from California State University, Hayward. He has also taken writing workshops, seminars, and college-level fiction writing and editing classes. He has studied creative writing under Leonard Michaels (“The Men’s Club”), Donald Barthelme, Diane Johnson, and Tim O’Brien (1978 National Book Award winner for “Going After Cacciato”).

Robert represented the South Bay Branch of the California Writers Club on the state Central Board (2004–2007). He is active in his branch and served on the East of Eden Writers Conference committee (2004 and 2006).

In 2010, Robert was elected President of the California Writers Club (CWC). CWC was founded in Oakland in 1909 by Jack London and some of his writing friends including Joaquin Miller and Ina Coolbrith. CWC has about 1,400 members in 18 branches located throughout most of California. Robert is also the co-founder and first president of the Fremont Area Writers, the 18th and youngest CWC branch. 

Upcoming Works

"Luna Cognita: A Comprehensive Observers' Handbook of the Known Moon" To be published by Springer. the book will be over 1,400 pages in 2 hardback volumes.


No Agent at the present (2013)

Recommended Links


"Star-Hopping: Your visa to Viewing the Universe" Cambridge University Press "Advanced Skywatching" The Nature Company, Time Life Books

Interests & Hobbies