Times Book Prizes Finalists Are Named


The finalists for the 1999 Los Angeles Times Book Prizes were announced Friday in New York. Now in its 20th year, the prizes acknowledge remarkable achievement in eight categories of writing, ranging from fiction and young adult fiction to science and technology.

The winners, as well as the recipient of the Robert Kirsch Award (which honors the body of work of a writer living in and / or writing about the American West), will be named in a public ceremony at UCLA’s Royce Hall at 7 p.m. April 29.

The Book Prizes ceremony will highlight the fifth annual Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, which will be held April 29 and 30 at UCLA.


The finalists are:

Fiction: “Freedom Song: Three Novels” by Amit Chaudhuri (Alfred A. Knopf); “Plainsong” by Kent Haruf (Alfred A. Knopf); “House of Sand and Fog” by Andre Dubus III (W.W. Norton); “Waiting” by Ha Jin (Pantheon); “Close Range: Wyoming Stories” by Annie Proulx (Scribner).

Biography: “My Grandfather’s House: A Genealogy of Doubt and Faith” by Robert Clark (Picador); “Byron: Child of Passion, Fool of Fame” by Benita Eisler (Alfred A. Knopf); “Walt Whitman: The Song of Himself” by Jerome Loving (University of California Press); “Rembrandt’s Eyes” by Simon Schama (Alfred A. Knopf); “Secrets of the Flesh: A Life of Colette” by Judith Thurman (Alfred A. Knopf).

Current Interest: “A Border Passage: From Cairo to America--A Woman’s Journey” by Leila Ahmed (Farrar, Straus & Giroux); “Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War” by Mark Bowden (Atlantic Monthly Press); “Sidewalk” by Mitchell Duneier, photographs by Ovie Carter (Farrar, Straus & Giroux); “Chosen by God: Brother’s Journey” by Joshua Hammer (Hyperion); “An Affair of State: The Investigation, Impeachment and Trial of President Clinton” by Richard Posner (Harvard University Press).

Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction: “By the Shore: A Novel” by Galaxy Craze (Atlantic Monthly Press); “For the Relief of Unbearable Urges” by Nathan Englander (Alfred A. Knopf); “Interpreter of Maladies” by Jhumpa Lahiri (Houghton Mifflin); “Last Things” by Jenny Offill (Farrar, Straus & Giroux); “Amy and Isabelle: A Novel” by Elizabeth Strout (Random House).

History: “Empire Express: Building the First Transcontinental Railroad” by David Haward Bain (Viking); “Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II” by John W. Dower (W.W. Norton); “The First World War” by John Keegan (Alfred A. Knopf); “Freedom From Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929-1945 (Oxford History of the United States, Vol. 9)” by David M. Kennedy (Oxford University Press); “The Holocaust in American Life” by Peter Novick (Houghton Mifflin).

Poetry: “The Father of the Predicaments” by Heather McHugh (Wesleyan University Press); “The Oval Hour” by Kathleen Peirce (University of Iowa Press); “The Dreamhouse” by Tom Sleigh (University of Chicago Press); “The Red Leaves of Night” by David St. John (HarperCollins); “Repair: Poems” by C.K. Williams (Farrar, Straus & Giroux).

Science and Technology: “Mind of the Raven: Investigations and Adventures with Wolf-Birds” by Bernd Heinrich (Cliff Street Books/HarperCollins); “The River: A Journey to the Source of HIV and AIDS” by Edward Hooper (Little, Brown); “Lucy’s Legacy: Sex and Intelligence in Human Evolution” by Alison Jolly (Harvard University Press); “The Code Book: The Evolution of Secrecy From Mary, Queen of Scots to Quantum Cryptography” by Simon Singh (Doubleday); “Galileo’s Daughter: A Historical Memoir of Science, Faith and Love” by Dava Sobel (Walker & Co.).

Young Adult Fiction: “Skellig” by David Almond (Delacorte Press); “Speak” by Laurie Halse Anderson (Farrar, Straus & Giroux); “Frenchtown Summer” by Robert Cormier (Delacorte); “Monster” by Walter Dean Myers (HarperCollins); “Stop Pretending: What Happened When My Big Sister Went Crazy” by Sonya Sones (HarperCollins).

Tickets for the Book Prizes ceremony are $10 or $50 for both the ceremony and reception that follows. Tickets are available at the UCLA Central Ticket Office at (310) 825-2101 or or at any Ticketmaster outlet, (213) 365-3500 or