The award was announced tonight along with the names of the 45 finalists for the 2006 Book Prizes during an evening reception at the National Arts Club in New York City. Serving as event hosts were Times Editor Jim O'Shea, Times Book Prize Director Kenneth Turan and Times Book Editor David L. Ulin.
The Book Prizes will be presented April 27th at UCLA's Royce Hall in Los Angeles. In addition to the Kirsch Award, the evening will honor 2006'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. William Kittredge is a master storyteller, essayist and influential cultural voice known for his unflinching vision of the hardscrabble landscape of the West and the people who survive and die on it. He lives in Missoula, Montana.
Presenting the 2006 Los Angeles Times Book Prizes will be Rick Wartzman (Biography), Reza Aslan (Current Interest), Steve Lopez (Fiction), Jane Smiley (First Fiction the Art Seidenbaum Award), Geoffrey R. Stone (History), Lisa See (Mystery/Thriller), James Ragan (Poetry), David L. Ulin (the Robert Kirsch Award), M.G. Lord (Science and Technology) and Jacqueline Woodson (Young Adult Fiction).
The awards ceremony will lead off the 12th 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 28-29 on the UCLA campus. The event will be hosted by acclaimed author and news anchor Jim Lehrer of "The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer" on PBS.
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. Information about the awards ceremony and the Book Prize awards program is available at www.latimes.com/bookprizes or by calling 1-800-LATIMES, x72366.
Book Prize Finalists
Debby Applegate, The Most Famous Man in America: The Biography of Henry Ward Beecher (Doubleday)
Rodney Bolt, The Librettist of Venice: The Remarkable Life of Lorenzo Da Ponte, Mozart's Poet, Casanova's Friend, and Italian Opera's Impresario in America (Bloomsbury USA)
Neal Gabler, Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination (Alfred A. Knopf)
Jeffrey Goldberg, Prisoners: A Muslim and a Jew across the Middle East Divide (Alfred A. Knopf)
Daniel Mendelsohn, The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million (HarperCollins)
Douglas Brinkley, The Great Deluge: Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast (William Morrow / HarperCollins)
Ian Buruma, Murder in Amsterdam: The Death of Theo van Gogh and the Limits of Tolerance (Penguin Press)
Rajiv Chandrasekaran, Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Iraq's Green Zone (Alfred A. Knopf)
Alicia Drake, The Beautiful Fall: Lagerfeld, Saint Laurent, and Glorious Excess in 1970s Paris (Little, Brown)