The Los Angeles Times today announced the Book Prizes finalists in 11 categories, including the new Christopher Isherwood Prize for Autobiographical Prose. Novelist Thomas McGuane will be honored with the 2016 Robert Kirsch Award for lifetime achievement, which recognizes a writer whose work focuses on the American West. The ceremony will be held at the University of Southern California's Bovard Auditorium on April 21 and will serve as a prologue to the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, the nation's largest literary and cultural festival, happening April 22-23 at USC.
"We are thrilled to celebrate Thomas McGuane's nearly five-decade writing life which spans novels, short stories, screenplays and essays," said Kenneth Turan, Times film critic and director of the Book Prizes. "McGuane is a quintessential Westerner, a master storyteller who mines the territory of loneliness and isolation but whose work is also tinged with humor and absurdity."
McGuane attended Michigan State University, earned an MFA from Yale and was awarded a Wallace Stegner Fellowship at Stanford where he finished his first novel, The Sporting Club. McGuane's many honors include a National Book Award nomination for Ninety-Two in the Shade and the Rosenthal Award of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. A regular contributor to The New Yorker, McGuane has lived and worked for nearly five decades in Montana, the setting for much of his later fiction and nonfiction.
The Book Prizes recognizes 55 remarkable works in 11 categories: autobiographical prose (the Christopher Isherwood Prize), biography, current interest, fiction, first fiction (the Art Seidenbaum Award), graphic novel/comics, history, mystery/thriller, poetry, science and technology, and young adult literature. Judging panels of writers who specialize in each genre select finalists and winners.
The new Christopher Isherwood Prize for Autobiographical Prose, sponsored by the Isherwood Foundation, encompasses fiction, travel writing, memoir and diary. As a tribute to Isherwood, the prize will honor exceptional work that is personal and acutely observant.
"The Christopher Isherwood Foundation is absolutely delighted to be giving this prize with the Los Angeles Times," said Katherine Bucknell, executive director of the Isherwood Foundation. "Los Angeles was Christopher Isherwood's adoptive home, and in 1984 he was awarded the Robert Kirsch Award for his own writing."
The complete list of this year's finalists and further information, including past winners, is available at latimes.com/BookPrizes. The Innovator's Award, which honors a person or institution doing cutting-edge work to bring books, publishing and storytelling into the future, will be announced on March 16, the same day that tickets for the ceremony will be made available for purchase. Festival of Books news and updates are available on the event website, Facebook page and Twitter feed (#bookfest).