“I’m leaving for a job as a full-time professor at the University of Oregon’s excellent journalism department. It’s a dream job, and I couldn’t say no.”
A Pulitzer prize-winning journalist and author, Héctor has been at the LAT for more than two decades. During his time at the paper, he has been the Buenos Aires and Mexico City bureau chief, a Metro columnist, and until his resignation, a book critic.
This is the second time that Héctor quits the paper. The first time was in 1993 to get a MFA and write the novel The Tattooed Soldier, but he returned to the LAT to continue his journalism career.
“All those years, I was leading a double life–I was writing books too. A second, a third and now a fourth. I squeezed writing into every free day I had, including most weekends and vacations going back 15 years (as my long suffering wife will attest),” he explains on Facebook. “The success of my third book, The Barbarian Nurseries, started to change the way I felt about myself as a writer. For the first time in my life, I gave myself permission to think of myself as an artist–not an easy thing for me or any other son of immigrants to do.”
Taking the teaching job, he says, will allow him to dedicate more time to writing more books.
Héctor’s fourth book, Deep Down Dark: The Untold Stories of 33 Men Buried in a Chilean Mine, and the Miracle That Set Them Free, is due out next month.