What: Ryan Gattis is a writer and educator. His most recent book, ALL INVOLVED: A NOVEL OF THE 1992 L.A. RIOTS, is grounded in 2.5 years of research & background spent with former Latino gang members, firefighters, nurses, & other L.A. citizens who lived through it. The novel has won the American Library Association’s Alex Award and the Lire Award for Noir of the Year in France. Set to be translated into 11 languages, it has been called “a high-octane speedball of a read” by The New York Times & its film rights have been acquired by HBO. Gattis lives and writes in Los Angeles, where he is a member of the street art crew UGLARworks, and a founding board member of 1888, a Southern California literary arts non-profit.
Where: Los Angeles
Interview conducted by email. Some questions and answers have been edited.
I just finish ALL INVOLVED and it was easily one of the best books I’ve read in the last year. How were you inspired to tackle the L.A. riots?
I’m so pleased to hear that. Thank you, sir. I think it’s safe to say that the more time I spent with former firefighters & former gang members, I realized that there was an awful lot about the riots that I had absolutely no idea had ever happened. The more I researched, the more there seemed to be, & a portrait of a neglected city emerged—one far more complicated & dangerous than what was portrayed on the news. To be honest, I wrote the novel to try to comprehend the depth & scope of that blind spot. Even now, I don’t know that I came close, but I sure tried my damndest.