Listen, World!

The first biography of Elsie Robinson, the most influential newspaper columnist you’ve never heard of
Listen, World! is the rarest of things — a lively piece of unknown history, a marvelous story of a woman's triumph, and a tremendous read.
— Susan Orlean

At thirty-five, Elsie Robinson feared she’d lost it all. Reeling from a scandalous divorce in 1917, she had no means to support herself and her chronically ill son. She dreamed of becoming a writer and was willing to sacrifice everything for this goal, even swinging a pickax in a gold mine to pay the bills.

When the mine shut down, she moved to the Bay Area. Armed with moxie and samples of her work, she barged into the offices of the Oakland Tribune and was hired on the spot. She went on to become a nationally syndicated columnist and household name whose column ran for over thirty years and garnered more than 20 million readers.

Told in cinematic detail, Listen, World! is the inspiring story of a timeless maverick, capturing what it means to take a gamble on self-fulfillment and find freedom along the way.

At a glance:

Elsie Robinson came from nothing to become the most-read woman columnist in the country and the highest-paid woman writer in the William Randolph Hearst media empire. Learn more in this short illustrated timeline.

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Buy Elsie merch!

By purchasing from this store, you’re helping ensure yet another woman isn’t erased from history. A portion of all proceeds supports 826 Valencia, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting under-resourced students through the craft of writing.

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Reviews

An engaging tale… One does not tire of spending time with Elsie Robinson, nor stop wondering how many other women, with equally compelling tales, have also been lost to history.
New York Times   (read full review)
Rousing biography
USA Today   (read full review)
Deeply researched…Over the course of this biography, readers come to recognize Robinson’s shockingly contemporary voice.
San Francisco Chronicle   (read full review)
Memoirist Scheeres and journalist Gilbert deliver a page-turning biography of Elsie Robinson (1883–1956), a prominent 20th-century journalist and cartoonist… The account is enlivened with copious excerpts from Robinson’s column and her memoir, all of which bring home her firebrand style. This entertaining account delivers.
Publishers Weekly   (read full review)
This engaging and well-researched biography reads like a novel.
Library Journal
A fascinating topic and solid biography that should please women's history fans.
Booklist
Listen, World! is the rarest of things — a lively piece of unknown history, a marvelous story of a woman's triumph, and a tremendous read. Scheeres and Gilbert have managed the trifecta, and we readers are the better for it.
Susan Orlean, staff writer for The New Yorker and author of The Orchid Thief, On Animals, and The Library Book
A riveting story about a woman who had nerve.
Jill Abramson, former executive editor of the New York Times and author of Merchants of Truth: The Business of News and the Fight for Facts
If you are a fan of spunky, spitfire heroines in the tradition of Hester Prynne, Elizabeth Bennett and Jo March, you will love the true story of Elsie Robinson. Robinson was a maverick, who chased wild dreams of adventure and independence instead of surrendering to her wealthy but soul-crushing husband – and ended up as one of the highest-paid, most-read writers in America. Like Elsie herself, Listen, World! is broadminded, sharp-witted, fast-paced, and funny. It reads like a breezy novel that lingers long after you’ve read the last page. I loved every word of it.
Debby Applegate, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and author of Madam: The Biography of Polly Adler, Icon of the Jazz Age
Open this well-crafted and entertaining biography and it will become abundantly clear why Elsie Robinson was once one of this nation’s most celebrated and beloved columnists. Julia Scheeres and Allison Gilbert’s teamwork resurrects the life and work of this dauntless twentieth-century newspaperwoman from her days toiling deep down in a gold mine to the heights of stardom in the Hearst newspaper galaxy. For decades, readers by the millions turned to Robinson for a dash of hope and a dose of encouragement. Now thanks to Scheeres and Gilbert, millions of twenty-first century readers can too.
James McGrath Morris, author of Pulitzer: A Life in Politics, Print, and Power and Eye on the Struggle: Ethel Payne, The First Lady of the Black Press
The long-forgotten ‘most interesting woman in the world’ comes vividly to life in this captivating new biography. The multi-talented Elsie Robinson would have been a pioneering and estimable person had she lived today; that she became a revered journalistic and literary voice at a time when women were marginalized is testament to her force of nature. Listen, World! is an important read particularly as we work to bolster women's overlooked place in history.
Lisa Napoli, author of Susan, Linda, Nina & Cokie: The Extraordinary Story of the Founding Mothers of NPR
Elsie Robinson Resources

At a glance:

Elsie Robinson came from nothing to become the most-read woman columnist in the country and the highest-paid woman writer in the William Randolph Hearst media empire. Learn more in this short illustrated timeline.

LOOK

Buy Elsie merch!

By purchasing from this store, you’re helping ensure yet another woman isn’t erased from history. A portion of all proceeds supports 826 Valencia, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting under-resourced students through the craft of writing.

SHOP

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