Héctor Tobar at the 2011 Texas Book Festival.
Los Angeles, California
He is the son of Guatemalan immigrants. He is currently a book critic for the Los Angeles Times. Previously, he was a Metro columnist, and the paper's bureau chief in Mexico City and in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He also worked for several years as the National Latino Affairs Correspondent. In 1992, he won a Pulitzer Prize for his work as part of the team covering the L.A. riots for the Los Angeles Times. He is a graduate of the University of California, Santa Cruz and the MFA program in Creative Writing at the University of California, Irvine.
Tobar is the author of The Tattooed Soldier, a novel set in the impoverished immigrant neighborhoods of Los Angeles in the weeks before the riots, and in Guatemala during the years of military dictatorship there. His non-fiction Translation Nation: Defining a New American Identity in the Spanish-Speaking United States, is a cross-country journey with stops in many of the new places where Latin American immigrants are settling, including Rupert, Idaho, Grand Island, Nebraska and Memphis, Tennessee. His third book, The Barbarian Nurseries, is a sweeping novel about class and ethnic conflict in modern Southern California: it was named a New York Times Notable Book for 2011 and won the 2012 California Book Award gold medal for fiction.
In 2006, Tobar was named one of the 100 Most Influential Hispanics in the United States by Hispanic Business magazine.
- The Tattooed Soldier, Delphinium Books, Penguin Books, 1998, ISBN 978-1-883285-15-9
- Translation Nation: Defining a New American Identity in the Spanish-Speaking United States, Riverhead Books, 2005, ISBN 978-1-57322-305-8
- The Barbarian Nurseries, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2011.
- "Hector Tobar bio". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 19 July 2012.
- Jennifer McNulty (25 April 2005). "Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter's stories lead to new book, Translation Nation". UC Santa Cruz Currents. Retrieved 19 July 2012.
- "Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, alum Hector Tobar speaks on campus". UC Santa Cruz. 15 November 2007. Retrieved 19 July 2012.