Peter Eliot Robinson was born in Castleford, Yorkshire, England, on March 17, 1950, to Clifford Robinson, a photographer, and Miriam Jarvis Robinson. There were not many books in his boyhood home, reading being a luxury for hard-working people, but he was encouraged to use the library. The family did not have a television set until Robinson was the age of twelve, so he turned to radio and films to find wonderful adventure stories. One of his earliest memories is of his mother reading Black Beauty: The Autobiography of a Horse (1877) to him at bedtime. He also remembers filling his notebooks with illustrations drawn from the tales of Robin Hood, William Tell, and King Arthur. He began writing poetry while still young, liking its structure and form, but grew bored and began experimenting with longer narrative works. The transition to fiction was easy.
In 1974, after earning his bachelor’s degree with honors in English literature from the University of Leeds, Robinson moved to Canada in hopes of studying creative writing under Joyce Carol Oates at the University of Windsor. His short-story and poetry submissions apparently did not impress Oates sufficiently, and he failed to gain admittance into her creative writing classes. However, two months into the semester, after hearing Robinson read some of his latest works, Oates asked why he was not studying with her. He explained and she declared him ready. Her tutelage was key in Robinson’s development as a writer. She gave direction but not too much, pointing out weaknesses as well as strengths, always expecting her students to fix the problems...
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