Robert Isenberg

Robert Isenberg (CNF, Fiction, Poetry) | Phoenix, AZ

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Robert Isenberg is author of The Green Season (The Tico Times Publications Group), The Mysterious Tongue of Dr. Vermilion (Backpack Media), The Archipelago: A Balkan Passage (Autumn House Press), and Wander, a poetry collection (Six Gallery Press). An award-winning writer and stage actor, Isenberg has contributed to such diverse publications as Lonely Planet, McSweeney’s, Mental_Floss, The Christian Science Monitor, and Pittsburgh Magazine. His many stage-plays have received enthusiastic reviews, as has his Pittsburgh Monologue Project, a stand-up performance series based on overheard conversations (co-authored with Brad Keller). He is the past recipient of a Breckenridge Fellowship, Trespass Residency, Pushcart nomination, and two Golden Quill Awards for arts criticism. He earned his MFA in Nonfiction Writing from Chatham University, where he served as Whitford Fellow, the program’s highest honor. He has taught for Duquesne University and currently teaches for Arizona State University. Originally from Vermont, he has traveled to 35 countries on five continents. Isenberg worked as a staff writer for two years for The Tico Times, Central America’s most distinguished English-language newspaper. He currently lives in Arizona and contributes to The Phoenix New Times.


The Green Season (Tico Times Publications Group, 2015). CNF. Essays/Travel.
The Mysterious Tongue of Dr. Vermillion (Backpack Media, 2015). The Adventures of Elizabeth Crowne. Book 1. Fiction.
Wander (Six Gallery Press, 2011). CNF. Essays/Travel.

The Archipelago: A Balkan Passage (Autumn House Press, 2011). CNF. Essays/Travel.
The Iron Mountain (SabellaPress, 2009). Fiction. Out of Print.

Press & Reviews

The Green Season

“In another era, Isenberg would have been striding the Hindu Kush as a solo adventurer on the Great Game, perhaps; or, like Lawrence of Arabia, following a Bedouin tribe in the Sahara; or, like my hero, William Dampier, setting off across the ‘flat’ horizon to chronicle the discoveries of uncharted lands. And we would have seen all these things through his eyes, been thoroughly bewitched by them and even tempted to follow in his footsteps. At the same time, Isenberg is very much a writer of today. He visits places that many of us are familiar with, but uncovers secrets, stories and anecdotes about them that most of us would ignore, overlook or miss entirely.”
–Caroline Kennedy, Author of How the English Establishment Framed Stephen Ward

“The book chronicles his first year there in search of stories for his paper and a deeper understanding of Costa Rican society. It’s a warm yet clear-eyed account of a nation ‘whose disdain for violence is among its most wondrous virtues.’”
The Telegraph of London

The Archipelago

“In the spirit of Paul Theroux, Robert Isenberg takes us on an informative, spirited and sometimes comic journey into the heart of the Balkans. You can’t finish this book without being moved by the landscape, the culture, and especially, the people Isenberg encounters along the way. With the skill of a master storyteller, he creates a narrative that’s hard to put down, and when you’re finished, you are closer to understanding this ‘nervous string’ of countries.”
—Sheryl St. Germain

“Isenberg is a warm and witty travel companion. He is quick to chuckle at his own misadventures… The Archipelago combines the best of the travel-writing, history and personal-memoir genres. It’s a journey not to be missed.”
—Kristofer Collins, Pittsburgh Magazine

“A fresh work of travel writing, a sort of intellectual pilgrimage… the descriptions of the various cities and countries are painted with slow strokes, building a complete and individual image that the reader can understand… Isenberg takes his cues from the people, passing along a palpable optimism that kept me reading to the last inspiring note.”
—Caleb Tankersley, New Pages

The Mysterious Tongue of Dr. Vermilion

“Elizabeth Crowne, Uncannologist, is a treasure: a quick-witted, brash heroine whose dry humor and no-nonsense attitude serves her well in a world where Prohibition really isn’t the biggest problem looming. A reader couldn’t ask for a better combination than the one found in Dr. Vermilion – an incredibly enjoyable heroine, her plucky sidekick (ladies kicking butt and taking names in 1921! Yes!), and a collection of stories that sparkle with lush description and carefully-crafted plots against the backdrop of one of the best cities in the world. Do yourself a favor: read it. You’ll want to travel with Elizabeth far past the last page – which comes all too soon.”
—Megan O’Neill, author of (Baseball) Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend

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