The BKBF Interview: Ryan Chapman


Ryan Chapman is the author of Riots I Have Known.


Where is your favorite place to read?
On my deck, cocktail in hand, squirrels giving me the stink eye.

What is your favorite book to give an adult or a child?
Alex Garland’s debut The Beach. Forget the movie adaptation, sink into the novel. Lately I’ve also been recommending Maria Gainza’s novel Optic Nerve to anyone who will listen.

Tell us your best book-receiving experience.
My wife gave me the complete Calvin & Hobbes for Christmas two years ago. It had been on my list for a decade, and I read a good three hours’ worth of strips that very morning.

What books are currently piled in your “To Be Read” stack … and where can the stack be found in your home?
Anita Brookner’s Hotel du Lac, Adam Erlich Sachs’s The Organs of Sense, and Robert A. Caro’s The Passage of Power.

If you had the power to create your own fantasy BKBF panel – any writer or artist, dead or alive – who would you love to see discussing books?
I’d elect Joan Didion, Christopher Hitchens, James Baldwin, and Dwight Macdonald. Their insights and one-liners would inspire for months.


Ryan Chapman is a Sri Lankan-American writer originally from Minneapolis, Minnesota. His work has appeared online at The New Yorker, GQ, Bookforum, BOMB, Guernica, and The Believer. He is a recipient of fellowships from Vermont Studio Center and the Millay Colony for the Arts. He lives in upstate New York.


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