Los Angeles Times Book Prizes' Kirsch Award To Pay Tribute To Maxine Hong Kingston

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NEW YORK, (February 28, 2008) – Maxine Hong Kingston has been named the winner of the 28th annual Los Angeles Times Book Prizes' Robert Kirsch Award for lifetime achievement.

The award was announced tonight along with the names of the 45 finalists for the 2007 Book Prizes during an evening reception at the National Arts Club in New York City. Serving as event hosts were Times Book Prizes Director Kenneth L. Turan and Times Book Editor David L. Ulin.

The Book Prizes will be presented April 25th at UCLA's Royce Hall in Los Angeles. In addition to the Kirsch Award, the evening will honor 2007's outstanding books in nine categories: biography, current interest, fiction, first fiction (the Art Seidenbaum Award), history, mystery/thriller, poetry, science and technology, and young adult fiction.

The Kirsch Award honors a living author with a substantial connection to the American West whose contribution to American letters deserves special recognition and Maxine Hong Kingston has been named the award's 28th recipient. Kingston is the acclaimed author of many books including the award-winning The Woman Warrior, China Men and Tripmaster Monkey. She lives in Oakland, California, with her husband Earl, where she is a Senior Lecturer Emerita at the University of California, Berkeley and directs the Veterans Writing Group project.

Presenting the 2007 Los Angeles Times Book Prizes will be Jim Newton (Biography), Scott Simon (Current Interest), Ngugi Wa Thiong'O (Fiction), Susan Salter Reynolds (First Fiction – the Art Seidenbaum Award), Douglas Brinkley (History), Paula Woods (Mystery/Thriller), Mark Doty (Poetry), David L. Ulin (the Robert Kirsch Award), Dava Sobel (Science and Technology) and Francesca Lia Block (Young Adult Fiction).

The awards ceremony will lead off the 13th annual Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, one of the nation's premier public literary festivals and the largest of its kind on the West Coast, held April 26-27 on the UCLA campus.

The Los Angeles Times Book Prizes were established in 1980. Each Book Prize includes a $1,000 cash award. The named awards commemorate the life and work of Robert Kirsch, who served as The Times' book critic for more than 25 years prior to his death in 1980, and of the late Art Seidenbaum, who founded the Book Prizes. Finalists were selected by eight three-member committees (the fiction panel covers both the fiction and first fiction categories) and most judges are published authors and serve a two-year term. None of the judges, except for the Kirsch award, are current Los Angeles Times employees. There is no nationality requirement for author nominees in any category. With the exception of significant new translations of a deceased author's work, all authors should be living at the time of U.S. publication.

Book Prize Finalists

Biography
Nancy Isenberg, Fallen Founder: The Life of Aaron Burr (Viking)
Tim Jeal, Stanley: The Impossible Life of Africa's Greatest Explorer ( Yale University Press)
Simon Sebag Montefiore, Young Stalin (Alfred A. Knopf)
Robert Morgan, Boone: A Biography (A Shannon Ravenel Book/Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill)
Michael J. Neufeld, Von Braun: Dreamer of Space, Engineer of War (Alfred A. Knopf)

Current Interest
Ishmael Beah, A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier (Sarah Crichton Books/Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Tom Bissell, The Father of All Things: A Marine, His Son, and the Legacy of Vietnam (Pantheon)
Ronald Brownstein, The Second Civil War: How Extreme Partisanship Has Paralyzed Washington and Polarized America (The Penguin Press)
Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism (Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt and Company)
Elizabeth D. Samet, Soldier's Heart: Reading Literature Through Peace and War at West Point (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Fiction
Junot Díaz, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (Riverhead Books)
Andrew O'Hagan, Be Near Me (Harcourt)
Stewart O'Nan, Last Night at the Lobster (Viking)
Per Petterson, Out Stealing Horses: A Novel (Graywolf Press)
Marianne Wiggins, The Shadow Catcher: A Novel (Simon & Schuster)

First Fiction (the Art Seidenbaum Award)
Antonia Arslan {Translated by Geoffrey Brock}, Skylark Farm (Alfred A. Knopf)
Rebecca Curtis, Twenty Grand: And Other Tales of Love and Money (Harper Perennial)
Pamela Erens, The Understory (Ironweed Press)
Ellen Litman, The Last Chicken in America: A Novel in Stories (W.W. Norton)
Dinaw Mengestu, The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears (Riverhead Books)

History
David A Bell, The First Total War: Napoleon's Europe and the Birth of Warfare as We Know It (Houghton Mifflin)
Margaret Macmillan, Nixon and Mao: The Week that Changed the World (Random House)
Andrew Nagorski, The Greatest Battle: Stalin, Hitler, and the Desperate Struggle for Moscow that Changed the Course of World War II (Simon and Schuster)
Lynne Olson, Troublesome Young Men: The Rebels Who Brought Churchill to Power and Helped Save England (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Tim Weiner, Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA (Doubleday)

Mystery / Thriller
Benjamin Black, Christine Falls: A Novel ( Henry Holt and Company)
Åke Edwardson, Frozen Tracks: An Inspector Erik Winter Novel (Viking)
Karin Fossum {Translated by Charlotte Barslund}, The Indian Bride (Harcourt)
Tana French, In the Woods (Viking)
Jan Costin Wagner {Translated by John Brownjohn}, Ice Moon (Harcourt)

Poetry
Marvin Bell, Mars Being Red (Copper Canyon Press)
Elaine Equi, Ripple Effect: New and Selected Poems (Coffee House Press)
Albert Goldbarth, The Kitchen Sink: New and Selected Poems, 1972-2007 (Graywolf Press)
Stanley Plumly, Old Heart: Poems (W.W. Norton)
Jean Valentine, Little Boat ( Wesleyan University Press)

Science and Technology
James L. and Carol Grant Gould, Animal Architects: Building and the Evolution of Intelligence (Basic Books)
Douglas Hofstadter, I Am A Strange Loop (Basic Books)
Christine Kenneally, The First Word: The Search for the Origins of Language (Viking)
Daniel Lord Smail, On Deep History and the Brain (University of California Press)
Gino Segrè, Faust in Copenhagen: A Struggle for the Soul of Physics (Viking)

Young Adult Fiction
Sherman Alexie, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian (Little, Brown Young Readers)
Geraldine McCaughrean, The White Darkness (HarperTeen)
Walter Dean Myers, What They Found: Love on 145th Street (Wendy Lamb Books/Random House)
Kenneth Oppel, Darkwing (Eos Books/HarperCollins)
Philip Reeve, A Darkling Plain (The Hungry City Chronicles) (Eos Books/HarperCollins)

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Information about the awards ceremony and the Book Prize awards program is available at latimesbookprizes.com or by calling 1-800-LATIMES, x72366.

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About the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books
The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books was created in 1996 to promote literacy, celebrate the written word, and bring together those who create books with the people who love to read them. More than 130,000 people attend the event annually.

General information about the Festival of Books is available online or by calling 1-800-LA TIMES, ext. 7BOOK. Detailed speaker and event information will be provided in the official festival program, which will be published in the April 23rd edition of the Los Angeles Times.

About the Los Angeles Times
The Los Angeles Times is the largest metropolitan daily newspaper in the country, with a daily readership of 2.2 million and 3.2 million on Sunday, and a combined print and interactive monthly audience of 4.9 million. The Los Angeles Times and its media businesses and affiliates – including The Envelope, Metromix, Times Community Newspapers, Hoy, and California Community News – reach approximately 8.1 million or 62% of all adults in the Southern California marketplace.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning Los Angeles Times, has been covering Southern California for over 126 years and is part of Tribune Company, one of the country's leading media companies with businesses in publishing, the Internet and broadcasting. Additional information about the Los Angeles Times is available here.

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