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LA Literature

Students in Scott Bryson's Freshman English courses at Mount Saint Mary’s University are currently constructing this website devoted to the phenomenon of Los Angeles Literature. We realize that for many people, the terms "Los Angeles" and "literature" don't seem to go together, and we are aware of our city's reputation for shallowness and superficiality. Still, despite this (in some cases fair) criticism, we feel that we can make a pretty compelling argument that a great deal of good writing has emerged and is continuing to emerge from Los Angeles. On our website, we attempt to make this case.

Los Angeles Novels, Short Stories, and Plays

Click on the novel titles below for resources on these works. (This list of books will grow over the next few semesters, and we'll be adding poetry as well.)



Zoot Suit and Other Plays
Luis Valdez

Less Than Zero
Bret Easton Ellis

Tropic of Orange
Karen Tei Yamashita

The Republic of East L.A.: Stories
Luis J. Rodriguez

Play it as it Lays
Joan Didion

The Revolt of the Cockroach People
Oscar Zeta Acosta


Day of the Locust
Nathanael West




 If He Hollers Let Him Go
Chester Himes

 A Requiem
Robert Crais


 Walkin' The Dog
Walter Mosley


The Handyman
Carolyn See


In the Heart of the Valley of Love
Cynthia Kadohata




 Moonlight on the Avenue of Faith
Gina B. Nahai

 Eulogy for a Brown Angel
Lucha Corpi


The Tortilla Curtain
T.C. Boyle


Zoot-Suit Murders
Thomas Sanchez


 Ask the Dust
John Fante


Dreams of Joy
Lisa See



What we mean when we say L.A. Lit. An explanation of the criteria we have used in selecting our texts and defining our field. (under construction)

The rationale. A brief explanation of the underlying principles that guide and justify this project as an academic exercise.

The assignment. An abbreviated version of the instructions students were given as they began this project.

The syllabus. An example of the syllabus students see for the Writing about L.A. Literature course.

Bibliography: Los Angeles Literature. An extensive, if still incomplete, partially annotated bibliography on L.A. Literature.

Where to start. If you're coming to L.A. Lit for the first time, here's a list of secondary/critical books you'll definitely want to check out. (under construction)

Our site in the news:

**We've made every attempt to document materials appearing on this site. If you find information that should be more clearly attributed, please let us know.

**For more information or to offer feedback, contact Scott Bryson: