Héctor Tobar is a novelist and journalist and the author of five books. He is currently an associate professor of literary journalism and Chicano/Latino studies at the University of California, Irvine.
At Radcliffe, he is at work on a nonfiction book about the profound shifts in American culture brought forth by the anti-immigrant movement. He will explore how a century of immigration policy and the evolving image of the “alien” in US culture have helped shape American notions of racial identity and “whiteness.” At the same time, Americans with Latin American roots are creating a collective identity formed from narratives of empire, migration, and inequality.
His books include the novels The Last Great Road Bum (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2020), The Barbarian Nurseries (Picador, 2011), and The Tattooed Soldier (HarperCollins, 1998). His nonfiction book Deep Down Dark: The Untold Stories of 33 Men Buried in a Chilean Mine, and the Miracle that Set Them Free (Farra, Starus and Giroux, 2014) was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award; it was also a New York Times best seller and adapted into the film The 33 (2015). Tobar is a contributing editor to the New York Times editorial pages and has written for National Geographic and the New Yorker. His fiction has also appeared in Zyzzyva and in The Best American Short Stories 2016 (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016), and his books have been translated into 15 languages. He is the Los Angeles–born son of Guatemalan immigrants.