David L. Ulin

Columnist

David L. Ulin is the former book critic of the Los Angeles Times. A 2015 Guggenheim Fellow, he is the author or editor of nine books, including "Sidewalking: Coming to Terms with Los Angeles," the novella "Labyrinth," “The Lost Art of Reading: Why Books Matter in a Distracted Time” and the Library of America’s “Writing Los Angeles: A Literary Anthology,” which won a California Book Award. He left The Times in 2015. 

Recent Articles

  • Thomas McGuane, winner of the upcoming Kirsch Award, on his path as a writer

    Thomas McGuane, winner of the upcoming Kirsch Award, on his path as a writer

    Thomas McGuane wants to discuss how fiction works. It’s a Friday afternoon, and he’s on the phone from Florida, where he recently hosted a family gathering: “all the kids and grandkids,” as he puts it, a tone of satisfaction in his voice. Now, the family is gone and he’s considering the trade that...

  • Only six more months until you can make L.A. history by riding Angels Flight

    Only six more months until you can make L.A. history by riding Angels Flight

    I have long been a fan of Angels Flight. No cynicism about downtown Los Angeles’ 298-foot-long funicular for me. Since its most recent closure in 2013, I’ve taken many a forlorn walk past its lower terminus on Hill Street, gazing longingly at its two cars, Sinai and Olivet, frozen in a tableau...

  • L.A. is defined by its streets, strip malls and the softness of its hills. Not by breathless Oscar hype

    L.A. is defined by its streets, strip malls and the softness of its hills. Not by breathless Oscar hype

    Earlier this month, one of Hollywood’s biggest agencies, United Talent, canceled its annual Oscar party in favor of a pro-immigration rally at its offices and a $250,000 donation to the American Civil Liberties Union. The news came not long after Iranian director Asghar Farhadi — whose movie “The...

  • George Saunders' novel 'Lincoln in the Bardo' is remarkable

    George Saunders' novel 'Lincoln in the Bardo' is remarkable

    George Saunders’ first novel, “Lincoln in the Bardo,” is remarkable; let’s get that out of the way first. Unfolding over one night in a graveyard not far from the White House, it tells a story that is, by turns, simple and complicated, tracing both a father’s grief and its effect on the Republic...

  • When L.A. takes to the streets, it defines itself as a city

    When L.A. takes to the streets, it defines itself as a city

    Los Angeles tends to define itself — or at least to discover its public nature — when it takes to the streets. Such a discovery occurred, again, on Saturday, at the women’s march downtown. In a city with a fractured relationship to its public spaces, one that often seems to turn its back on its...

  • What lies beneath L.A.

    What lies beneath L.A.

    For close to 20 years, my favorite landmark in Los Angeles was a pair of plastic sawhorses, each emblazoned with “City of Los Angeles Dept. of Public Works Street Services.” The sawhorses straddled a patch of pavement at the southwest corner of Wilshire and Curson, across from the La Brea Tar Pits,...

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