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“An engrossing, thorough, and revealing portrait of a beloved beachside community confronting disaster.” – Kirkus Reviews
“Kerbeck writes in a voice that is compassionate and gripping. Readers are pulled in from the very first page.” – Readers’ Favorite Five Star review
Malibu Burning named Best Historical Nonfiction of 2019
Robert Kerbeck fought one of the worst fires in California history, the Woolsey Fire of 2018, with his wife and son to save their home. The New York Times asked him to write an essay about the experience, which the Los Angeles Times published as a Sunday Op-Ed. Based on that essay, comes his book, Malibu Burning: The Real Story Behind LA’s Most Devastating Wild Fire (Fall 2019).
Robert interviewed nearly every player in the fire from the LA County Supervisor to the Deputy Fire Chief to the Malibu City Manager, as well as many well-known people whose lives were affected. Celebrities who were interviewed or appear in the book include Bob Dylan, Joan Didion, Sean Penn, Nick Nolte, Kevin Dillon, Matt Dillon, Julia Roberts, Anthony Kiedis, Chris Martin, Rick Rubin, Leonardo DiCaprio, and many others.
Malibu Burning is a combination of investigative journalism and memoir…a series of stories of people impacted by the fire that ripped through Los Angeles and Ventura counties, destroying thousands of homes and displacing nearly 300,000 residents. Readers feel part of the dramatic, life-threatening journey portrayed through the stories of not just the celebrities but the teachers, students, surfers, landscapers, florists, and service industry workers. This is more than a story about the most famous community of Los Angeles; it’s a survival tale anyone can relate to.
The Story Behind the 2018 Woolsey Fire and Malibu With ‘Malibu Burning’ Author Robert Kerbeck
KTLA 5 — November 4, 2019
Robert Kerbeck is the founder of the Malibu Writers Circle and a three-time nominee for the Pushcart Prize, a national literary award. Based on his short stories, he was selected for mentorship by the managing editor of Tin House. One of those stories was adapted into the award-winning film, Reconnected, which has been accepted at film festivals all over the world. Reconnected won the audience award for Best Film at the New Hope Film Festival and received award nominations at the Madrid International Film Festival for Best Lead Actor (Robert), Best Lead Actress (Barbara Bain), and Best Director (SJ Main).
Robert’s writing has appeared in numerous publications, including The Normal School, Atticus Review, Serving House Journal, upstreet,
Zone 3, Gargoyle, Cream City Review, Cortland Review, Exposition Review, and The MacGuffin. His essay based on his experience with O.J. Simpson was featured onNarratively. His first play, Putin And The Snowman, had two runs Off-Broadway.
A lifetime member of The Actors Studio, Robert has worked extensively in theater, film, and television, appearing in lead roles in major shows and earning several awards.A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Robert currently lives in Malibu and owns a corporate intelligence firm.