Since leaving the music-biz executive ranks, Robert Steven Williams has put in his 10,000 hours. He is an award-winning filmmaker and novelist. His critically acclaimed full-length documentary, Gatsby in Connecticut, featuring Sam Waterston and Keir Dullea, was chosen by The New Yorker as one of 36 films for Best Movies of 2020. It was selected by ten film festivals that year and also won Best New England film at the Mystic Film Festival.

His first novel, My Year as a Clown, released on the indie imprint Against the Grain Press, received the silver medal for popular fiction from the Independent Publisher Book Awards in 2013.

Robert was a runner-up in the 2014 Great American Fiction contest sponsored by the Saturday Evening Post and a finalist in the Raymond Carver Short Story Contest. His short fiction has appeared in Carve Magazine, The Orange Coast Review, and Weston Magazine.

He was the executive producer of the critically acclaimed BOOM! Studios CBGB Comic series. He wrote story seven in Book 3. In August of 2011, the series was nominated for a Harvey Award for Best Anthology.

He’s attended Bread Loaf, Sewanee and the Squaw Valley Writers’ Conferences. He’d worked closely with the esteemed fiction writer, Barry Hannah.

Robert’s work has also appeared in Poets & Writers Magazine, Billboard, USA Today  and LetterPress, a newsletter for writers. He is co-author of the best-selling business book, “The World’s Largest Market.”

Robert Steven Williams is also a musician and songwriter. In 2005 he released the critically acclaimed CD “I Am Not My Job,” featuring Rachel Z (Peter Gabriel, Wayne Shorter) and Sloan Wainwright.  He studied songwriting with Rosanne Cash, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, and several top country writers. The song, The Jersey Cowboy, was featured on NPR’s Car Talk. Robert was the subject of the documentary by Jason Byrd Round Peg, Square Hole.


Awards and Recognition

  • December 2020 – Selected as one of The New Yorker’s Best Movies of 2020
  • October 2020 – Gatsby in Connecticut: Best New England Film, Mystic Film Festival
  • Fall 2020 – Official Selection Gatsby in Connecticut: First Coast Film Festival
  • Fall 2020 – Official Selection Gatsby in Connecticut: Las Vegas Film Festival
  • Summer 2020 – Official Selection Gatsby in Connecticut: New Haven Documentary Film Festival
  • Summer 2020 – Official Selection Gatsby in Connecticut: South Europe Film Festival
  • Spring 2020 – Official Selection Gatsby in Connecticut: Madrid Film Festival
  • Spring 2020 – Finalist Gatsby in Connecticut: Ramsgate Film Festival
  • Spring 2020 – Official Selection Gatsby in Connecticut: Romford Film Festival
  • Spring 2020 – Official Selection Gatsby in Connecticut: Veritas Film Festival
  • Spring 2020 – Official Selection Gatsby in Connecticut: Garden State Film Festival
  • January 2014 – ‘Twelve Miles – 48 Stops’ runner-up Great American Fiction Contest, Saturday Evening Post
  • May 2013My Year as a Clown, silver medalist, popular fiction, Independent Publisher Book Awards
  • Winter 2012  –  My Year as a Clown released
  • Summer 2011  –  Harvey Nominee for CBGB Comic Book, Best Anthology
  • Summer 2010  –  Professor Stratocaster, a comic book story published by BOOM! Studios
  • April 2007  –  NPR’s Car Talk plays Jersey Cowboy
  • January 2007  –  Towne Crier Open Mic Finalist
  • June 2006  –  Featured music artist on Canada’s leading indie music Web site
  • May 2006  –  Short Story ‘The Chaparone’ published in the Orange Coast Review
  • April 2005  –  Raymond Carver Short Story Finalist for ‘The Jersey Cowboy.’
  • October 2004  –  Emerging Writer Hidden Talent Contest Honorable Mention for ‘Coming Home’
  • August 2004  –  Squaw Valley Writers Community Thayer Scholarship recipient
  • Summer 2003  –  New Century Writer quarter finalist for the novel ‘Sound of Money’


Special Thanks:

Circa 1981

I am humbled by the love, friendship and many acts of generosity that kept me going as I embarked on this creative journey.

Without the backing of Wally Schwartz and his wife, Liz, this scrappy, publishing campaign on Against the Grain Press would not be happening. They have also underwritten this website and other activities related to my novel. I cannot thank them enough for their support.

I hit the literary lottery when Joy Johannessen agreed to edit My Year as a Clown. Her brilliance and intuitive sense of what I wanted made working with her effortless.

I was fortunate to have four fiction mentors, men gracious with their time, each treating me as a peer. Unfortunately, all four didn’t see this day, but I’m confident that they knew it would come. Both Barry Hannah and James Houston gave me the confidence to forge on. Two Westport instructors, Frank Weiner and Robert Pollock, were also great supporters. Robert, a Londoner, was also a screenwriter.

I also want to thank the following people for their feedback, inspiration and love: Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Gerry McKeveny, Declan O’Rourke, Suzi-Lori Parks, Rosanne Cash, Janet Gilmore, Roxanna Robinson, Rachel Z, Omar Hakim, Ina Chadwick, Richard Epstein, Eileen Winnick,  Mark Standish, Carl Timpone, Jayson Byrd, David Wilk, Rich Fahle, Heather Huzovic, Sloan Wainwright, David Roth, Penny Nichols, James Hall, Tom and Charlie Phillips, Bill Gessner, Paul Winsor, Lisa Goren, Malcolm Smith, Mike Taplinger, Paul Schwarzbaum, Michelle Jurich, Laurel Leigh, Kerrith Solomon, Jessica Saxl, Tom Marsh, Phil and Louise Fletcher, Dick Marra, Paul Lanning, Sara Bassett, Jim Kempner, Louise Staley, Martin Smith, Jonathan Fanton, The Munce Man and Cleo, the Squaw Valley Writers Community.A special note of recognition goes out to my mom, stepdad Lou, sister Lisa, Dad, and of course, my girlfriend, Mary.

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