Jeff Hobbs will discuss his 2014 bestseller The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace: A Brilliant Young Man Who Left Newark for the Ivy League, a biography of his college roommate that incorporates the idea of “two America’s” and the unseen challenges of traveling between them. This talk will discuss the role of higher education in ensuring social mobility and access to other America’s.
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 and biochemistry and graduated with distinction. He also sold marijuana to his 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.
Jeff Hobbs grew up in Kennett Square, Pa., and received a bachelor of arts 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 nonfiction, 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.
The talk will be followed by a Q&A and a book signing.