L.A. Times Book Prize nominees are announced

Times Staff Writer

Nominations for the 27th annual Los Angeles Times Book Prizes were announced Thursday, along with the winner of this year’s Robert Kirsch Award.

The finalists in nine categories were unveiled by Kenneth Turan, a Times film critic and Director of the Los Angeles Times Book Prizes, at the National Arts Club in Manhattan. Winners will be announced April 27 at UCLA’s Royce Hall, as part of the newspaper’s annual Festival of Books.

William Kittredge, essayist and author, will receive the Robert Kirsch Award, Turan announced. The annual award, named for The Times’ late longtime book critic, recognizes an author whose work focuses on the Western United States and whose contributions to American letters are found worthy of recognition.

During brief remarks, Times Editor James E. O’Shea and David L. Ulin, editor of the Los Angeles Times Book Review, both reaffirmed the newspaper’s commitment to coverage of the book world. They said Book Review changes were planned but did not provide specifics.


O’Shea, acknowledging the uncertain economics facing newspapers across the nation, said: “With turmoil comes change, and with change we get dark rumors of dread and doom. I understand that one of those rumors is now abuzz in the book industry, namely that the Los Angeles Times is about to diminish its coverage of books. So let me set the record straight. That rumor is untrue. The paper and its editor remain deeply committed to vigorous literary coverage and our unique and signature event, the L.A. Times Festival of Books, to be held in Los Angeles late next month.”

Ulin, speaking next, said: “I won’t speak too specifically about what’s upcoming with the L.A. Times Book Review, mostly because we’re still in the midst of working it all out. But I do want to say that as we revamp the design of the section, we will be redistributing book coverage, expanding it in the daily paper and also taking steps

In addition to biography, current interest and fiction, finalists were announced in the categories of first fiction, mystery/ thriller, poetry and young-adult fiction.




In the running



* 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” (Knopf)

* Daniel Mendelsohn, “The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million” (HarperCollins)

Current interest

* 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” (Knopf)

* Alicia Drake, “The Beautiful Fall: Lagerfeld, Saint Laurent, and Glorious Excess in 1970s Paris” (Little, Brown)


* Terri Jentz, “Strange Piece of Paradise” (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)


* David Mitchell, “Black Swan Green” (Random House)

* Peter Orner, “The Second Coming of Mavala Shikongo” (Little, Brown)


* Susan Straight, “A Million Nightingales” (Pantheon Books)

* Daniel Woodrell, “Winter’s Bone” (Little, Brown)

* A. B. Yehoshua, “A Woman in Jerusalem,” translated from the Hebrew by Hillel Halkin (Harcourt)

Los Angeles Times