The New Yorker named him one of the best 20 Writers Under 40 in 2010. His short story collection, War By Candlelight, was a finalist for the 2005 PEN-Hemingway Award. The San Francisco Chronicle and the Washington Post named his Lost City Radio a Best Novel of the Year in 2007. He co-founded a Spanish-language podcast podcast, Radio Ambulante. He is a fellow in the Investigative Reporting Program at the UC Berkeley School of Journalism, and his stories and journalism have been in a variety of outlets, including McSweeney’s, El País, McSweeney’s, n+1, and Harper’s.
The New York Times calls his latest novel, about a theater troupe on a tour of the Andes, “wise and engaging.” Deborah Treisman, the fiction editor at The New Yorker, says Alarcón, who was born in Peru, but grew up mostly in Alabama, and attended college at Columbia University, is “trying to do something really ambitious, which is get at the inseparability of art and politics in Latin America and show how they interact and shape people’s lives.”
The event is free. Modern Times hosts a book sale and signing following the event, making for an excellent gift-buying opportunity.