Héctor Tobar is a Los Angeles-born author and journalist. He is the author of the critically acclaimed New York Times bestseller "Deep Down Dark: The Untold Stories of 33 Men Buried in a Chilean Mine and the Miracle That Set Them Free." "Deep Down Dark" was adapted into the film The 33, starring Antonio Banderas.
His novel, "The Barbarian Nurseries," was published by FSG and named a New York Times Notable Book. "The Barbarian Nurseries" won the California Book Award Gold Medal for Fiction, a distinction Tobar shares with John Steinbeck, Michael Chabon, T.C. Boyle, and many other distinguished California writers. In 2020, Tobar released "The Last Great Road Bum."
Tobar is also a contributing writer for the New York Times opinion pages and an associate professor at the University of California, Irvine.
For two decades, he worked for The Los Angeles Times as a city reporter, national and foreign correspondent (on assignments from Alaska to Patagonia, and from East Los Angeles to Iraq). He was part of the reporting team that won a Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the 1992 L.A. riots. He was The Times Bureau Chief in Buenos Aires and Mexico City. For several years he wrote a column for The Los Angeles Times and has also worked as Features Editor at The LA Weekly and as editor of the bilingual San Francisco magazine El Tecolote.
He has a Master in Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of California Irvine, and studied at UC Santa Cruz and at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México in Mexico City. He is also the author of "Translation Nation: Defining a New American Identity in the Spanish-Speaking United States" and "The Tattooed Soldier," a novel, a finalist for the PEN USA West Award for First Fiction.
Tobar has been an adjunct professor at Loyola Marymount University and Pomona College, was an assistant professor at the University of Oregon's school of journalism and communication, and is currently an associate professor at the University of California, Irvine.
His short fiction has appeared in Best American Short Stories, L.A. Noir, Zyzzyva and Slate. Tobar, the son of Guatemalan immigrants, is married with three children.
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