Robert (Bob) A. Garfinkle, FRAS former president of the California Writers Club. Bob is an internationally recognized independent scholar on the history of astronomy and is a highly regarded amateur astronomer. He has been a professional writer for over 30 years. In addition to his two astronomy books, Bob has published book reviews, articles, and short stories. He is the author of the international best-selling astronomy book Star-Hopping: Your Visa to Viewing the Universe (CUP, 1994, 1997), a co-author of Advanced Skywatching (The Nature Company; Time-Life Books, 1997), and a contributing author to the Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers (2007). Star-Hopping was the Alternate Selection for November 1994 of the Astronomy Book Club. Advanced Skywatching has been republished under different titles as well as having been translated into German and Spanish language editions. Reviews of Advances Skywatching have praised the star-hopping section of the book, which is the section that Bob contributed.
From February 1996 through July 1999, Bob created the monthly “SkyChart” and “SkyTalk” pages for Mercury, the bimonthly magazine of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific. His astronomical writings have also appeared in Astronomy, Sky & Telescope, Selenology, The Journal of the British Astronomical Association, The Journal of the Irish Astronomical Society, The Journal of the Antique Telescope Society, The Observers’ Guide, The Observatory, The Journal of Astronomical History and Heritage, and Deep Sky Journal. He is the Book Review Editor for The Journal of the Association of Lunar and Planetary Observers.
Bob also serves as the Historian for the Lunar Section of the British Astronomical Association. In the early 1980s, he was a contributing editor for “Business Software” magazine. The success of his astronomical writings lead to Mr. Garfinkle being elected a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society of London, in 1998.
In addition to being a best-selling nonfiction author, Bob has also won awards for his short stories. “When Are You Going to Cry” won first place in the Las Positas College fiction contest and second place in “Writers Talk Challenge 2005”. The story was published in “The Sand Hill Press” (Stanford University, 2006). His coming-of-age story, “Up and Over” was the cover story for the December 1992 issue of “Seedling Short Story International” (vol. 12, no. 48).
From 1981 to 2002, Bob worked as a full-time Senior Technical Writer. He wrote technical documentation for military hardware, high-tech semiconductor products, marketing materials, white papers, and company press releases. Since 2002, he continues to write as a full-time freelance author.
Bob holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in History (1975) and English Literature (1994) from California State University, Hayward. He has also taken writing workshops, seminars, and college-level fiction writing and editing classes. He has studied creative writing under Leonard Michaels (The Men’s Club), Donald Barthelme, Diane Johnson, and Tim O’Brien (1978 National Book Award winner for Going After Cacciato).
Bob represented the South Bay Branch of the California Writers Club (CWC) on the state Central Board (2004–2007). He is active in this branch and served on the East of Eden Writers Conference committee (2004 and 2006). He is also the co-founder and President of the new Fremont Area Writers (2008–2010), which is now the eighteenth branch of the California Writers Club. In 2009, Bob received the prestigious Jack London Award for outstanding service to his branch and CWC. Since 2005, Bob has been a book review columnist for the local weekly newspaper, ‟The Tri-City Voice.”