Los Angeles Times Announces Kirsch Award Winner, Book Prize Finalists

LOS ANGELES, March 10, 2005 – Best-selling mystery writer Tony Hillerman, whose writings over the past 35 years are infused with the landscape and culture of the American Southwest, has been named the winner of the 25th annual Los Angeles Times Book Prizes’ Robert Kirsch Award for lifetime achievement.

The award was announced March 9 along with the 45 finalists for the 2004 Los Angeles Times Book Prizes during an evening reception at the National Arts Club in New York. Serving as event hosts were Times Editor John Carroll; Kenneth Turan, Director of the Book Prizes and Times film critic; and Times Book Editor Steve Wasserman.

The Book Prizes will be presented April 22 at UCLA’s Royce Hall in Los Angeles. In addition to the Kirsch Award, the evening will honor 2004’s outstanding books in nine categories: biography, current interest, fiction, first fiction (the Art Seidenbaum Award), history, mystery/thriller, poetry, science and technology, and young adult fiction.

The Los Angeles Times Book Prizes were established in 1980. Each Book Prize includes a $1,000 cash award. The named awards commemorate the life and work of Robert Kirsch, who served as The Times’ book critic for more than 25 years prior to his death in 1980, and of the late Art Seidenbaum, who founded the Book Prizes.

The Kirsch Award recognizes the body of work of an author who resides in and/or whose work focuses on the Western United States. Tony Hillerman lives in New Mexico and has used the peoples, culture and landscape of the American Southwest extensively in his many books, including the 16-book collection known as The Navajo Mysteries. His first novel, The Blessing Way, was published in 1970, and his most recent book, The Sinister Pig, was published in 2003.

Author/journalist Sir Harold Evans will emcee the April 22nd event. Presenting the 2004 Los Angeles Times Book Prizes will be Douglas Brinkley, Jennifer Donnelly, Carol Muske Dukes, Neal Gabler, Michael Kinsley, Jonathan Kirsch, T. Jefferson Parker, Sally Ride, Alice Sebold and Patricia Seidenbaum. Seidenbaum is the widow of Art Seidenbaum, and author Jonathan Kirsch is the son of the late Robert Kirsch.

Information about the awards ceremony and the Book Prize awards program is available at or by calling 1-800-LATIMES, ext. 72366.

The Book Prize awards ceremony will kick off the 10th annual Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, one of the nation’s premier public literary festivals and the largest of its kind on the West Coast. The festival will be held April 23-24 on the UCLA campus.

Book Prize Finalists


Ron Chernow, Alexander Hamilton (Penguin Press)
Stephen Greenblatt, Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare (W.W. Norton & Company)
Richard Rhodes, John James Audubon: The Making of an American (Alfred A. Knopf)
Mark Stevens and Annalyn Swan, de Kooning: An American Master (Alfred A. Knopf)
Michael J. Ybarra, Washington Gone Crazy: Senator Pat McCarran and the Great American Communist Hunt (Steerforth Press)

Current Interest

Karen Armstrong, The Spiral Staircase: My Climb out of Darkness (Alfred A. Knopf)
Edward Conlon, Blue Blood (Riverhead Books)
Michael Dirda, Bound to Please: An Extraordinary One-Volume Literary Education -- Essays on Great Writers and Their Books (W.W. Norton & Company)
Ann Patchett, Truth & Beauty: A Friendship (HarperCollins)
Evan Wright, Generation Kill: Devil Dogs, Iceman, Captain America and the New Face of American War (G.P. Putnam’s Sons)


Chris Abani, GraceLand (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Russell Banks, The Darling (HarperCollins)
Marilynne Robinson, Gilead (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Colm Tóibín, The Master: A Novel (Scribner)
Joy Williams, Honored Guest: Stories (Alfred A. Knopf)

Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction

Lorraine Adams, Harbor (Alfred A. Knopf)
David Bezmozgis, Natasha and Other Stories (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Pete Duval, Rear View: Stories (Mariner Books / Houghton Mifflin)
Susan Fletcher, Eve Green (W.W. Norton & Company)
Lisa Glatt, A Girl Becomes a Comma Like That (Simon & Schuster)


Richard J. Evans, The Coming of the Third Reich (Penguin Press)
Max Frankel, High Noon in the Cold War: Kennedy, Khrushchev, and the Cuban Missile Crisis (Presidio Press / Ballantine Books)
Geoffrey R. Stone, Perilous Times: Free Speech in Wartime from the Sedition Act of 1798 to the War on Terrorism (W.W. Norton & Company)
Richard Steven Street, Beasts of the Field: A Narrative History of California Farmworkers, 1769-1913 (Stanford University Press)
Alfred F. Young, Masquerade: The Life and Times of Deborah Sampson, Continental Soldier (Alfred A. Knopf)


Alan Furst, Dark Voyage: A Novel (Random House)
Henning Mankell, The Return of the Dancing Master [translated from the Swedish by Laurie Thompson] (The New Press)
Charles McCarry, Old Boys (Overlook Press)
Kem Nunn, Tijuana Straits: A Novel (Scribner)
Ian Rankin, A Question of Blood: An Inspector Rebus Novel (Little, Brown)


Richard Howard, Inner Voices: Selected Poems, 1963-2003 (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Brigit Pegeen Kelly, The Orchard (BOA Editions, Ltd.)
Joshua Mehigan, The Optimist: Poems (Ohio University Press)
Spencer Reece, The Clerk’s Tale: Poems (Mariner Books / Houghton Mifflin)
Catherine Tufariello, Keeping My Name (Texas Tech University Press)

Science and Technology

Ann B. Parson, The Proteus Effect: Stem Cells and Their Promise for Medicine (Joseph Henry Press / National Academies Press)
Lauren Slater, Opening Skinner’s Box: Great Psychological Experiments of the Twentieth Century (W.W. Norton & Company)
Alan Tennant, On the Wing: To the Edge of the Earth with the Peregrine Falcon (Alfred A. Knopf)
Jonathan Weiner, His Brother’s Keeper: A Story from the Edge of Medicine (Ecco / HarperCollins)
Charles Wohlforth, The Whale and the Supercomputer: On the Northern Front of Climate Change (North Point Press / Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Young Adult Fiction

Benjamin Alire Sáenz, Sammy and Juliana in Hollywood (Cinco Puntos Press)
Melvin Burgess, Doing It (Henry Holt Books for Young Readers)
Michael Morpurgo, Private Peaceful (Scholastic Press)
Adam Rapp, Under the Wolf, Under the Dog (Candlewick Press)
Meg Rosoff, How I Live Now (Wendy Lamb Books / Random House Children’s Books)

Finalist Selection Process

Los Angeles Times Book Prize finalists were selected by eight three-member committees (the fiction panel covers both the fiction and first fiction categories). Most of the judges are published authors and serve a two-year term. None of the judges, except for the Kirsch award, are current Los Angeles Times employees.

There is no nationality requirement for author nominees in any category. With the exception of significant new translations of a deceased author’s work, all authors should be living at the time of U.S. publication.

Los Angeles Times Festival of Books

The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books was created in 1996 to promote literacy, celebrate the written word, and bring together those who create books with the people who love to read them. Some 150,000 people attend the event annually.

General event information is available online at or by calling 1-800-LA TIMES, ext. 7BOOK. Detailed speaker and event information will be provided in the official festival program, which will be published in the April 17th edition of the Los Angeles Times.

The Los Angeles Times, a Tribune Publishing company, is the largest metropolitan daily newspaper in the country and the winner of 35 Pulitzer Prizes. The Times publishes five daily regional editions including the Los Angeles metropolitan area, Orange and Ventura counties, the San Fernando Valley, and an Inland Empire edition covering Riverside and San Bernardino counties as well as a National edition. Additional information about The Times is available at

Mike Lange