Los Angeles Times Book Prizes Announces Kirsch Award Winner Robert Alter

LOS ANGELES, March 2, 2009 – Robert Alter has been named recipient of the 29th annual Los Angeles Times Book Prizes' Robert Kirsch Award for lifetime achievement, to be presented April 24th at the exclusive, invitation-only ceremony at The Times' Chandler Auditorium. The event leads-off the 14th 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, April 25-26 on the UCLA campus.

Hosted by Times Book Prizes Director Kenneth Turan and Book Editor David L. Ulin, the Book Prizes will recognize 2008's 45 outstanding finalists in nine categories: biography, current interest, fiction, first fiction (the Art Seidenbaum Award), history, mystery/thriller, poetry, science and technology, and young adult literature (2008 finalists and past winners posted at latimesbookprizes.com).

The Kirsch Award honors authors with substantial connections to the American West whose contributions to American letters deserve special recognition. Alter is the author of many acclaimed works on the Bible, literary modernism, and contemporary Hebrew literature including Necessary Angels: Tradition and Modernity in Kafka, Benjamin, and Scholem, Genesis: Translation and Commentary, The David Story: A Translation with Commentary of 1 and 2 Samuel, Canon and Creativity: Modern Writing and the Authority of Scripture, The Five Book of Moses: A Translation with Commentary, Imagined Cities: Urban Experience and the Language of the Novel, and The Book of Psalms: A Translation with Commentary.

This year's presenters will include Chris Abani, A. Scott Berg, Robert Crais, Dana Goodyear, Jonathan Kirsch, Doyle McManus, Patt Morrison, Jim Newton and Susan Straight.

The Los Angeles Times Book Prizes were established in 1980 and include a $1,000 cash award. Finalists are selected by eight three-member committees (the fiction panel covers both the fiction and first fiction categories) composed primarily of published authors.


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. Between 130,000 and 140,000 people attend the event annually.

General event information is available online at latimesfestivalofbooks.com 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 19th edition of the Los Angeles Times.

About the Los Angeles Times:

The Los Angeles Times (latimes.com) is the largest metropolitan daily newspaper in the country, with a daily readership of 2 million and 3 million on Sunday, and a combined print and interactive local weekly audience of 5.5 million. The fast-growing latimes.com draws over 10 million unique visitors monthly.

The Los Angeles Times and its media businesses and affiliates – including The Envelope, Times Community Newspapers, Hoy, and Community News – reach approximately 5.3 million or 40% of all adults in the Southern California marketplace. The Pulitzer Prize-winning Los Angeles Times has been covering Southern California for more than 127 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 is available at latimes.com/mediacenter.

John Conroy (213) 237-4791 john.conroy@latimes.com

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