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L.A. Times Book Prize nominees announced

Times Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- Nominees for the 28th annual Los Angeles Times Book Prizes were announced Thursday, along with the winner of this year’s Robert Kirsch Award.

Finalists in nine categories were unveiled at the National Arts Club in Manhattan by Kenneth Turan, a Times film critic and director of the Times Book Prizes, and David L. Ulin, Times book editor. The winners will be announced April 25 at UCLA’s Royce Hall as part of the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books.

Novelist Maxine Hong Kingston won this year’s Kirsch award, which honors a living author with a connection to the American West whose works have made a substantial contribution to American letters. Kingston, who lives in Oakland, has written many highly acclaimed books, such as “The Woman Warrior,” “China Men” and “Tripmaster Monkey.” The award is given in memory of the late Los Angeles Times book critic and editor.

The nominees for this year’s book prizes include:

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Biography

Nancy Isenberg

“Fallen Founder: The Life of Aaron Burr” (Viking)

Tim Jeal

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“Stanley: The Impossible Life of Africa’s Greatest Explorer” (Yale University Press)

Simon Sebag Montefiore

“Young Stalin” (Alfred A. Knopf)

Robert Morgan

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“Boone: A Biography” (A Shannon Ravenel Book/Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill)

Michael J. Neufeld

“Von Braun: Dreamer of Space, Engineer of War” (Alfred A. Knopf)

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Current interest

Ishmael Beah

“A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier” (Sarah Crichton Books/Farrar, Straus & Giroux)

Tom Bissell

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“The Father of All Things: A Marine, His Son, and the Legacy of Vietnam” (Pantheon)

Ronald Brownstein

“The Second Civil War: How Extreme Partisanship Has Paralyzed Washington and Polarized America” (Penguin Press)

Naomi Klein

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“The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism” (Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt)

Elizabeth D. Samet

“Soldier’s Heart: Reading Literature Through Peace and War at West Point” (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)

Fiction

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Junot Diaz “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao” (Riverhead Books)

Andrew O’Hagan

“Be Near Me” (Harcourt)

Stewart O’Nan

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“Last Night at the Lobster” (Viking)

Per Petterson

“Out Stealing Horses: A Novel” (Graywolf Press)

Marianne Wiggins

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“The Shadow Catcher: A Novel” (Simon & Schuster)

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Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction

Antonia Arslan (Translated by Geoffrey Brock)

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“Skylark Farm” (Alfred A. Knopf)

Rebecca Curtis

“Twenty Grand: And Other Tales of Love and Money” (Harper Perennial)

Pamela Erens

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“The Understory” (Ironweed Press)

Ellen Litman

“The Last Chicken in America: A Novel in Stories” (W.W. Norton)

Dinaw Mengestu

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“The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears” (Riverhead Books)

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History

David A. Bell

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“The First Total War: Napoleon’s Europe and the Birth of Warfare as We Know It” (Houghton Mifflin)

Margaret Macmillan

“Nixon and Mao: The Week That Changed the World” (Random House)

Andrew Nagorski

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“Stalin, Hitler, and the Desperate Struggle for Moscow that Changed the Course of World War II” (Simon & Schuster)

Lynne Olson

“Troublesome Young Men: The Rebels Who Brought Churchill to Power and Helped Save England” (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)

Tim Weiner

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“Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA” (Doubleday)

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Mystery/Thriller

Benjamin Black

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“Christine Falls: A Novel” (Henry Holt)

Ake Edwardson

“Frozen Tracks: An Inspector Erik Winter Novel” (Viking)

Karin Fossum (Translated by Charlotte Barslund)

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“The Indian Bride” (Harcourt)

Tana French

“In the Woods” (Viking)

Jan Costin Wagner (Translated by John Brownjohn)

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“Ice Moon” (Harcourt)

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Poetry

Marvin Bell

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“Mars Being Red” (Copper Canyon Press)

Elaine Equi

“Ripple Effect: New and Selected Poems” (Coffee House Press)

Albert Goldbarth

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“The Kitchen Sink: New and Selected Poems, 1972-2007" (Graywolf Press)

Stanley Plumly

“Old Heart: Poems” (W.W. Norton)

Jean Valentine

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“Little Boat” (Wesleyan University Press)

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Science & Technology

James L. and Carol Grant Gould

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“Animal Architects: Building and the Evolution of Intelligence” (Basic Books)

Douglas Hofstadter

“I Am a Strange Loop” (Basic Books)

Christine Kenneally

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“The First Word: The Search for the Origins of Language” (Viking)

Daniel Lord Smail

“On Deep History and the Brain” (University of California Press)

Gino Segre

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“Faust in Copenhagen: A Struggle for the Soul of Physics” (Viking)

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Young Adult Fiction

Sherman Alexie

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“The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” (Little, Brown Young Readers)

Geraldine McCaughrean

“The White Darkness” (HarperTeen)

Walter Dean Myers

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“What They Found: Love on 145th Street” (Wendy Lamb Books/Random House)

Kenneth Oppel

“Darkwing” (Eos Books/ HarperCollins)

Philip Reeve

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“A Darkling Plain” (The Hungry City Chronicles) (Eos Books/HarperCollins)


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