WATCH: Héctor Tobar on How a Novel Can Only Be Successful When It Sees the Whole Person
This Week on Our Video Series Authors in the Tent, Hosted by Ona Russell
Authors in the Tent is a professionally filmed series of interviews with established and emerging authors conducted in a tent Ona Russell purchased during the pandemic. Inspired by Boccaccio’s Decameron and the 1001 Arabian Nights, the tent—elemental, ancient, and ubiquitous—serves as a magical backdrop for literary conversation.
On the third episode of the new third season, Ona Russell talks with Héctor Tobar, author of The Last Great Road Bum. The two discuss growing up in an immigrant household, interdependent relationship between Latin America and the U.S., the similarities and differences between writing fiction and nonfiction, and learning that the written word can only be successful when you see the whole person.
Ona Russell holds a PhD in literature from UC San Diego where she also taught for many years. She is author of three award-winning historical mysteries and the recently released Son of Nothingness: A Novel of Appearances.
Héctor Tobar is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and novelist. He is the author of the New York Times bestseller Deep Down Dark, as well as The Barbarian Nurseries, Translation Nation, and The Tattooed Soldier. Tobar is also a contributing writer for the New York Times opinion pages and an associate professor at the University of California, Irvine. He has written for The New Yorker, the Los Angeles Times, and other publications. His short fiction has appeared in Best American Short Stories, L.A. Noir, ZYZZYVA, and Slate. The son of Guatemalan immigrants, he is a native of Los Angeles, where he lives with his family.