Los Angeles Times Book Prizes Winners Announced


Terry Tempest Williams, Library of America among honorees

The 39th annual Los Angeles Times Book Prizes were awarded tonight at the University of Southern California’s Bovard Auditorium. The Book Prizes are committed to literary excellence, 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. Terry Tempest Williams was honored with the Robert Kirsch Award for lifetime achievement, and Library of America received the Innovator’s Award for its contributions to America’s cultural heritage by preserving the nation’s writing and making it widely available. A complete list of this year’s Book Prizes winners follows.

2018 Book Prizes Winners

  • Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction: Nafissa Thompson-Spires, “Heads of the Colored People,” Atria / 37 INK
  • Biography: David W. Blight, “Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom,” Simon and Schuster
  • Christopher Isherwood Prize for Autobiographical Prose: Kiese Laymon, “Heavy: An American Memoir,” Scribner
  • Current Interest: Francisco Cantú, “The Line Becomes a River: Dispatches from the Border,” Riverhead Books
  • Fiction: Rebecca Makkai, “The Great Believers: A Novel,” Viking
  • Graphic Novel/Comics: Tillie Walden, “On a Sunbeam,” First Second
  • History: Julia Boyd, “Travelers In The Third Reich: The Rise of Fascism 1919-1945,” Pegasus Books
  • Mystery/Thriller: Oyinkan Braithwaite, “My Sister, the Serial Killer,” Doubleday
  • Poetry: Carl Phillips, “Wild is the Wind: Poems,” Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Science & Technology: Beth Macy, “Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company that Addicted America,” Little, Brown and Company
  • Young Adult Literature: Elizabeth Acevedo, “The Poet X,” HarperTeen

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 24th annual festival will bring together more than 500 writers, musicians, artists and chefs, hundreds of exhibitors and an expected 1500,000 attendees on the USC campus.
The complete list of 2018 Book Prizes finalists and previous winners is available at, as is eligibility and judging information. The Book Prizes are supported by the Los Angeles Times Reading by 9 Fund, a 501(c)(3) public charity. Contributions made to the Book Prizes through the Reading by 9 Fund will be used to continue the awards’ mission and support future programs, writers and judges.

The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books is presented in association with USC. The festival’s charity partner is Access Books. Festival of Books news and updates are available on the event website, Facebook page and Twitter feed (#bookfest).