The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books kicked off its weekend-long celebration of ideas, creativity and the written word with the 34th Annual Book Prizes. Held tonight at the University of Southern California's iconic Bovard Auditorium and hosted by The Times' book critic David L. Ulin, the ceremony honored the year's best works from among 50 distinguished finalists in 10 categories.
Susan Straight, a tireless supporter and creator of Southern California literary culture, was this year's recipient of the Robert Kirsch Award for lifetime achievement. The Innovator's Award, which spotlights cutting-edge business models, technology or applications of narrative art, was presented to writer and activist John Green.
- Biography: Marie Arana, Bolivar: American Liberator (Simon & Schuster)
- Current Interest: Sheri Fink, Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital (Crown)
- Fiction: Ruth Ozeki, A Tale for the Time Being (Viking)
- The Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction: NoViolet Bulawayo, We Need New Names (Reagan Arthur Books)
- Graphic Novel/Comics: Ulli Lust, Today is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life (Fantagraphics)
- History: Christopher Clark, The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914 (HarperCollins)
- Mystery/Thriller: J.K. Rowling writing as Robert Galbraith, The Cuckoo's Calling (Mulholland Books/Little, Brown & Company)
- Poetry: Ron Padgett, Collected Poems (Coffee House Press)
- Science & Technology: Alan Weisman, Countdown: Our Last, Best Hope for a Future on Earth? (Little, Brown & Company)
- Young Adult Literature: Gene Luen Yang, Boxers & Saints (First Second/Macmillan)
- Innovator’s Award: John Green
- Robert Kirsch Award: Susan Straight
The complete list of 2013 finalists and previous winners, as well as eligibility and judging information, can be found at latimes.com/bookprizes.