Robert Mailer Anderson Books & Biography
Robert Mailer Anderson was born in San Francisco in 1968, three years before his parents were divorced. He was the fifth generation of his family -- a clan comprised largely of railroad workers, San Quentin prison guards, and tamale vendors -- to be raised across the Golden Gate Bridge in San Rafael. He spent every other weekend and summers with his father in Mendocino County, reading, playing sports, and accompanying his father to his business, a home for juvenile delinquents, where young Anderson encountered some "hard cases" who were later convicted of, among other crimes, armed robbery, rape, and murder. One former resident, David Mason, was executed by the state. Several others are on death row.
At age fourteen, Anderson moved in with his father "full time" and, due to financial constraints, the group home. He started high school in Ukiah, where he was routinely kicked out of classes. He took a year off from school and played golf. He developed a gambling habit. He began contributing articles to the Anderson Valley Advertiser, where his uncle, Bruce Anderson, was editor and publisher. Eventually, he graduated from Anderson Valley High School in Boonville. He played three varsity sports and was MVP of the NCL III in baseball. He was student body president until he was impeached.
Pursuing a career in baseball, Anderson matriculated to the University of Miami, where he did not play. He was then transferred to the College of Marin, where he pitched and played first base for a semester and a half before packing his possessions into the trunk of a "borrowed" Cadillac, cashing his student loan check, and heading to Mexico.
When the money ran out, he moved to New York City, where he had a series of unfulfilling jobs: selling suits, telemarketing, moving furniture, and temping. He did stand-up comedy, once. He played basketball at West Fourth Street. He was accepted into a creative writing tutorial taught by Shelby Hearon at the Ninety-second Street Y.
In 1995, Anderson's short story "36-28-34-7" was published by Christopher Street. He began referring to himself as "the heterosexual voice of gay lit."
Anderson lives in San Francisco with his wife and two children, son Dashiell and daughter Lucinda. He is co-owner of Quotidian art gallery and is on the board of the San Francisco Opera Association. Boonville is his first novel.