Jeff Hobbs: Simon & Schuster Speakers Bureau

Jeff Hobbs

New York Times Bestselling Author of The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace

Jeff Hobbs grew up in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, and received a BA in English language and literature from Yale University in 2002, where he won the Meeker Prize and the Gardner Millett Award for his writing. His first novel, The Tourists, was published in 2007 by Simon & Schuster and was a national bestseller. His first work of non-fiction, The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace, was published in 2014 by Scribner and was a New York Times bestseller, Amazon’s #4 Best Book of the Year, and a Notable Book of the Year selection by the New York Times, the Washington Post, and NPR. His September 2014 interview with Steve Inskeep for NPR’s Morning Edition was one of the five most shared stories of the week.

In The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace: A Brilliant Young Man Who Left Newark for the Ivy League, Hobbs documents the life of his roommate and best friend from college. Robert Peace was born in an impoverished neighborhood outside Newark nicknamed “Illtown.” His mother worked long hours, mostly in kitchens, and his father was in prison for murder. Through a rare and delicate interplay of intelligence, ambition, luck, and sacrifice, Peace earned admission to Yale, where he majored in Molecular Biophysics & Biochemistry and graduated with distinction. He also sold marijuana to his fellow classmates. Almost exactly nine years after graduation, Peace was murdered violently, in a drug related homicide, in a basement one mile from the house he’d grown up in.

This is a story about America, its cities and their challenges, education and access and entitlement, identity and the forces that shape it, and the continuing national psychosis of race – unveiled in all their complicated gray areas through this intimate portrait of a singular individual. Peace was a Yale graduate, and he was a drug dealer. He was also a teacher, a coach, a scientist, a traveler, a friend, and above all a son. The rises and falls of his journey force us out of our bubbles to take an honest look at our failures – both individual and systemic. Could Robert Peace’s life have been saved somehow? Possibly, but possibly not. Could the life of a young man or woman be saved by learning of Peace’s story? Absolutely.

Interested in booking Jeff Hobbs to speak at your next event?

Contact Simon & Schuster Speakers Bureau.

(866) 248-3049

  • Two Americas: Urban Poverty, the Ivy League, and the Heavy Toll of Living in Both
  • You Can’t Shed Your Roots but You Can’t Go Home Again: Incompatible Archetypes of the American Dream
  • Race and Class in American Universities: How Students Experience School - And One Another
  • Where Empathy is Born: Reporting Out of a Personal Story

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