Nina Revoyr was born in Japan to a Japanese mother and a white American father, and grew up in Tokyo, Wisconsin, and Los Angeles. She is the author of six novels. Her first book, The Necessary Hunger, was described by Time magazine as “the kind of irresistible read you start on the subway at 6 p.m. on the way home from work and keep plowing through until you’ve turned the last page at 3 a.m. in bed.”
Her second novel, Southland, was a Los Angeles Times bestseller and “Best Book of 2003,” a Book Sense 76 pick, an Edgar Award finalist, and the winner of the Ferro Grumley Award and the Lambda Literary Award. Publishers Weekly called it “Compelling… never lacking in vivid detail and authentic atmosphere, the novel cements Revoyr’s reputation as one of the freshest young chroniclers of life in L.A.” L.A. Weekly called it “Fascinating and heartbreaking…an essential part of L.A. history,” and the LAist recently named it one of “20 Novels that Dared to Define a Different Los Angeles.” Southland was the March, 2021 pick for the California Book Club.
Nina’s third book, The Age of Dreaming, was a finalist for the 2008 Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Publishers Weekly called it “enormously satisfying;” Library Journal described it as “Fast-moving, riveting, unpredictable and profound,” and Los Angeles Magazine wrote that “Nina Revoyr…is fast becoming one of the city’s finest chroniclers and myth-makers.”
Nina’s fourth novel, Wingshooters, was published in 2011. It was a Booklist Editors Choice for 2011 and an O: Oprah Magazine’s “Book to Watch For,” and has won an Indie Booksellers Choice Award and the Midwest Booksellers Choice Award. Publishers Weekly described it as “remarkable…an accomplished story of family and the dangers of complacency in the face of questionable justice; and Booklist called it “a shattering northern variation on To Kill a Mockingbird.”
Her fifth novel, Lost Canyon, was published in August, 2015. Booklist called it “a gripping tale of unintended adventure and profound transformation,” and the San Francisco Chronicle described it as “(A) heart-hammering literary thriller…almost as much of a rush as scaling the sheer, icy rock of the Sierra Nevada.” The Los Angeles Times described Nina as “one of (L.A.’s) finest scribes,” and the Los Angeles Review of Books has called her “one of the city’s great storytellers.”
Her sixth novel, A Student of History, was published in 2019. Booklist called it “(A) masterfully intimate and suspenseful tale, fueled by volatile social conflicts…taut, commanding, and delectable,” and Kirkus described it as “An entertaining, crisply written tale…evokes echoes of Great Expectations, The Great Gatsby, and a lot of Raymond Chandler, but with a thoroughly 21st-century setting.”
Nina’s books are widely taught and have been selected for numerous “Campus Reads” and “Community Reads” programs, as well as for many book clubs. She speaks frequently on issues of community, race, and history.
Nina is also co-editor, with poet X.J. Kennedy and poet and former National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Dana Gioia, of the college textbook Literature for Life: A Thematic Introduction to Reading and Writing.
Nina was a longtime executive vice president and chief operating officer of a nonprofit organization serving children affected by violence and poverty in Los Angeles. She now works in philanthropy, as part of an effort to improve economic mobility for low-income children and their families. Nina has been an Associate Faculty member at Antioch University, and a Visiting Professor at Cornell University, Occidental College, Pitzer College, and Pomona College. She lives in Los Angeles with her spouse and their dogs.