Riots I Have Known

Ryan Chapman (Author) Vikas Adam (Read by)


Riots I Have Known, the short, electric, uproarious, and biting debut novel by Ryan Chapman, is a real-time confession, set during a prison riot, in a high-comic pitch, a voice-driven narrative in the tradition of Paul Beatty's The Sellout and Aravind Adiga's The White Tiger.

It is present-day Dutchess County, New York, where an unnamed Sri Lankan inmate has barricaded himself inside a computer lab while a riot rages outside, incited by an article published in the prison's literary journal, The Holding Pen. As he awaits imminent interruption by the growing crowd of guards, prisoners, and news crews on the other side of the doors, he takes us on a confessional roller coaster of plot and language, exploring not only his life in and out of the clink but also asking himself the important questions: How did an enterprising Sinhalese end up here? Should he have remained a quiet Park Avenue doorman? Are his beloved few possessions safe in E Block? What will become of The Holding Pen, a "masterpiece of post-penal literature" favored by Brooklynites everywhere? Meanwhile he reveals how his actions have inadvertently led to the chaos around him.

Smart, wry, and laugh-out-loud funny, Ryan Chapman's Riots I Have Known is an utter gem of contemporary social satire--an approachable and accessible send-up that packs a punch. "Hilarious, original, and cunningly wrought, Ryan Chapman has written a rocket-powered ode to literary creation and mass incarceration. Weaving satire and seriousness into a singularly rambunctious monologue, rollicking and oddly recognizable at once, Riots I Have Known is a breath of fresh air" (Alexandra Kleeman, author of You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine and Intimations).

Product Details

Simon & Schuster Audio
Publish Date
May 21, 2019
5.8 X 0.6 X 5.6 inches | 0.3 pounds
Compact Disc
BISAC Categories:

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About the Author

Ryan Chapman is a Sri Lankan-American writer originally from Minneapolis, Minnesota. His work has appeared online at The New Yorker, GQ, McSweeney's, BookForum, BOMB, Guernica, and The Believer. A recipient of fellowships from Vermont Studio Center and the Millay Colony for the Arts, he lives in Kingston, New York.
Vikas Adam is a classically trained actor who has performed on stage, film, and television. He has also recorded over one hundred audiobooks, for which he has garnered numerous awards and nominations, including Earphones, various Best of the Year lists, and the Audie Award. When not recording, acting, or directing, he can be found lecturing in the Theater Department at UCLA.


"Relentless, hilarious, and unabashedly smart."

-- "Scott Cheshire, author of High as the Horses' Bridles"

"Chapman is his very own, and this is a book readers will devour."

-- "Amelia Gray, author of Gutshot"