Los Angeles Times Book Prizes Winners Announced


Honorees include John Rechy, Glory Edim and 11 authors in a variety of categories

The 38th annual Los Angeles Times Book Prizes were awarded tonight at the University of Southern California’s Bovard Auditorium. Now a program of the Los Angeles Times Foundation, the Book Prizes are dedicated to honoring literary luminaries, championing new voices and celebrating the highest quality of writing from authors at all stages of their careers.

The ceremony recognized 11 outstanding literary works published last year. Novelist John Rechy was honored with the Robert Kirsch Award for lifetime achievement, and Glory Edim, founder of Well-Read Black Girl, received the Innovator’s Award for her work honoring black women writers and creating a platform to bring readers and writers together. A complete list of this year’s Book Prize winners follows.

2017 Book Prizes Winners

  • Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction: Jenny Zhang, Sour Heart, Lenny/Random House
  • Biography: Laura Dassow Walls, Henry David Thoreau: A Life, University of Chicago Press
  • Christopher Isherwood Prize for Autobiographical Prose: Benjamin Taylor, The Hue and Cry at Our House: A Year Remembered, Penguin Books
  • Current Interest: Nancy MacLean, Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America, Viking
  • Fiction: Mohsin Hamid, Exit West, Riverhead Books
  • Graphic Novel/Comics: Leslie Stein, Present, Drawn and Quarterly
  • History: Dan Egan, The Death and Life of the Great Lakes, W. W. Norton and Company
  • Mystery/Thriller: Joyce Carol Oates, A Book of American Martyrs, Ecco
  • Poetry: Patricia Smith, Incendiary Art: Poems, TriQuarterly Books/Northwestern University Press
  • Science & Technology: Robert M. Sapolsky, Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst, Penguin Press
  • Young Adult Literature: Jason Reynolds, Long Way Down, Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books

The Book Prizes ceremony is a prologue to the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, the nation’s largest literary and cultural festival. This year’s 23rd annual festival will bring together more than 500 writers, musicians, artists and chefs on the USC campus.

The complete list of 2017 Book Prizes finalists and previous winners is available at, as is eligibility and judging information. The Los Angeles Times Foundation is a 501(c)(3) public charity. Contributions made to the Book Prizes through the L.A. Times Foundation, will be used to continue the awards’ mission and support future programs, writers and judges.

The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books and Book Prizes are sponsored by Medium. The festival is presented in association with USC and presenting sponsor Pacific Sales Kitchen & Home. Festival of Books news and updates are available on the event website, Facebook page and Twitter feed (#bookfest).