About Rob



Margaret Atwood

Jason Isbell
Malacca gin
Game of Thrones

A short, professional bio    > back to top


Rob Yardumian received his MFA from Warren Wilson College in 1997. The Sound of Songs Across the Water is his first novel. His short fiction has been published in The Southern Review, The New Orleans Review, The Antioch Review, The Madison Review, Sycamore Review, Berkeley Fiction Review, and Porcupine Literary Arts. Before receiving his MFA, Rob spent ten years in the music business, including stints as director of marketing for a record label and creative director for a publishing company. Currently, he lives in Portland, OR.



A longer, illustrated history    > back to top




Rob was born in Escondido, CA, to Joe and Jean Yardumian—respectively, a physicist/engineer and an elementary school teacher (and now mother of two).


Was born with pyloric stenosis, an intestinal condition which caused him to throw up nearly everything he ate, often with spectacular results. His best mark was five feet across the table onto his uncle. Had corrective surgery at five weeks. Bears the scar to this day.




The family—mom, dad, sister Michele, Rob, and two boxers named Kyrie and Prince—stuffed into two cars and drove across the country to a new life on the east coast. They settled in Fairfax, VA.


Commenced a lifelong affinity for cereal, seersucker, and fancy shoes. Also, got used to having his sister explain something about which she knew more.




Late 1960’s


Enjoyed a lively suburban boyhood. Accidentally let the dogs free to terrorize the neighborhood. Opened a nasty gash above his eye chasing a ball under a table. Forced his grandma to watch Romper Room instead of Neil Armstrong walking on the moon.




Turned from dinosaurs to sports, a young boy’s classsic pivot. Joined a basketball league and found fierce beauty in a game which would invest and sustain him for thirty years. Also, once he found that the world’s fastest man played for the Dallas Cowboys, began an obsession with that team (and that man’s number, 22) which continues white-hot to the present day.




Moved to London with the family for 15 months. Attended the American School, where he argued the merits of T. Rex and Sweet over David Cassidy, and lived for Top of the Pops every Sunday night and Match of the Day every Saturday afternoon. Dug deeply into Enid Blyton books and English history, saw Elton John perform in the school cafeteria, and spent hours in nearby Regents Park playing soccer and feeding ducks.




Was elected President of Pine Ridge Elementary on the nonsensical slogan, “He’s a Yardumian, not a Volkswagen.” Political career was free from scandal, but never reached such heights again.




Attended W.T. Woodson High School. Spent thousands of hours perfecting his jump shot at a hoop in the street, then discovered beer was more fun. Briefly, located groove. Worked as an aluminum siding salesman, ice cream vendor, and school painter. Along with 491 other graduating seniors, handed the rain-soaked principal a marble as he shook hands.




Attended University of Virginia. Began developing a 20-year old’s taste: clove cigarettes, new wave music, the novels of John Steinbeck and Tom Robbins. Lived three years at the Big Yella house on Jefferson Park Avenue. Played drinking games, booked bands for his fraternity. Grew his hair, and didn’t study until it was much too late.


Sang exactly one gig, in a band called Gaston Rose.






Moved to Los Angeles, where he would stay for 20 years. Worked for ten years in the music business as a writer, Director of Marketing, and Creative Director for a publishing company.


Started playing guitar. Discovered the D chord first. Still his favorite chord.


Continued to grow his hair.




Began writing fiction, first in conjunction with UCLA Extension classes, then as an MFA student at Warren Wilson’s Program for Writers, where he received his MFA in 1997. Published his first short story, “From Hope to Hard Weather,” in 2000. Went on to publish six more stories over the next few years.


Began writing his first novel, The Sound of Songs Across the Water, in 2003, after the entire story came to him on a run around Silver Lake.


Son Dashiell Tanaka Yardumian was born in 2005.




Moved to Portland, OR, in 2006. Finished the third draft of The Sound of Songs Across the Water in 2008, and began sending query letters to agents. Got nowhere except depressed. After rejections or non-replies from 70 agents, turned to small presses in June, 2012, and received offer for publication from MP Publishing two weeks later.


Began researching new novel Rider Keene in 2009, and writing it in 2012.




The Sound of Songs Across the Water published.




Watches son graduate from college.




Moves into enormous house son buys him with the profits from selling his first business for $50,000,000.

3 thoughts on “About Rob

  1. 1997 Co-coined the term “Clown Americans” and co-founded the “Wrong Side of the Tracks Party” at Warren Wilson College.

  2. The website is great and your biography is wonderful! Can’t wait for the novel and hopefully a book signing in California. I’m lining up my friends!!! Love Naomi

  3. Hey Rob,
    I live in McMinnville and I’m a writer who waged a successful Kickstarter campaign. Sounds like Tyson from Rare Bird is going to pair us for a series of podcasts. I don’t have a clue about the format, the moderator (if there is one), length of the podcast, or anything else, but I’m ready to give it a go. I’m anxious to read your work (I think Julia is sending me a copy of your book) and if you’d like to chat sometime, write me back and I’ll give you my phone number. Best wishes for your continuing success.
    Stephen W. Long

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *