Author, Los Angeles Times reporter and Los Angeles native Hector Tobar was honored by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Tuesday, August 14 for his accomplishments as a celebrated fiction and non-fiction author and as an acclaimed working journalist.
Tobar is the author of two novels his first, The Tattooed Soldier, published in 2000, is a chronicled account of the homeless and dispossessed in Los Angeles during the 1992 civil unrest told through the lives of two Guatemalan refugees who cross paths near MacArthur Park. His second novel The Barbarian Nurseries, published in 2011, earned him the California Book Awards Gold Medal for Fiction. The story takes readers through the divergent worlds of Southern California, form the wealthy suburbs of Orange County to the neighborhoods of South Los Angeles. He is also the author of Translation Nation, a non-fiction, literary-journalistic chronicle of life in the Spanish-speaking United States.
Throughout his literary success as a novelist, Tobar continued to distinguish his journalistic career at the Los Angeles Times as a national and foreign correspondent, Metro columnist, and recently as a books writer. Tobar’s columns include the need for a Leimert Park rail station, efforts by Black and Latino business owners to revitalize Central Avenue, and more personally, the African-American neighbor who drove his mother to the hospital the day he was born.
Supervisor Ridley-Thomas who presented Tobar to the Board for recognition thanked him for sharing the Los Angeles County story through extraordinary acumen. “The stories he tells in his fiction are those of the people of Los Angeles whose lives may otherwise be overlooked,” said the Supervisor.
At the Board of Supervisors meeting, Tobar recalled his memories of being inside the board room covering the Board of Supervisors.
“I was deeply honored then to cover the Board of Supervisors because I grew up in Los Angeles County as a son of immigrants,” said Tobar.
“It was a great honor to work here and it’s a great honor to be a Los Angeles County writer,” he continued.
Tobar holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Santa Cruz and a Master of Fine Arts from University of California, Irvine.