Robert Bjork was born in Virginia, Minnesota, and attended Pomona College (Claremont, California), Stockholm University, and the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), where he received his doctorate in 1979. His teaching interests, both in the classroom at all levels and as mentor to master's and doctoral students, range over the whole of medieval English language and literature, but his research has centered squarely in the Anglo-Saxon period. Bjork co-edited with colleagues from Wisconsin and Indiana "Klaeber's Beowulf" (U Toronto Press, 2008), the 4th edition of Fr. Klaeber's, "Beowulf and the Fight at Finnsburg" (the most important edition of the Old English epic ever published), and he is general editor of the 4-volume "Oxford Dictionary of the Middle Ages" (Oxford U Press, 2010). Besides being Foundation Professor of English, for 24 years, he directed the Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies (ACMRS), which houses a number of interesting programs.
Engaged though he is in medieval and renaissance studies, Bjork also has two subsidiary research interests: Scandinavian studies and medical writing. From 1984 to 1994, he was general editor of "Modern Scandinavian Literature in Translation" for the University of Nebraska Press, and from 1993 to 2001, he was co-general editor (with George C. Schoolfield of Yale University) of "Studies in Scandinavian Literature and Culture" for Camden House / Boydell & Brewer. He has translated a number of short stories and novels from Swedish, winning one translation prize in 1987 and honorable mention for another in 1989. Since 1981, Bjork has published on medical writing as well and every year has taught a course on writing for biomedical journals for the UCLA School of Medicine. That course is the longest running medical writing course in the country. When time allows, he transmutes it into appropriate, digestible form and offers it to graduate students in English at ASU. Bjork is a fellow of the Medieval Academy of America and a corresponding fellow of the English Association (UK).