LOS ANGELES, April 27, 2007 On the eve of the nation’s largest public literary festival, the Los Angeles Times tonight applauded the year’s most accomplished authors with its 27th Annual Book Prizes ceremony at UCLA’s Royce Hall. News anchor Jim Lehrer served as master of ceremonies for the event that drew many of the biggest names in the book world, honored author William Kittredge with the Robert Kirsch Award for lifetime achievement and recognized 2006’s best books and their writers in nine categories.
“The Los Angeles Times Book Prizes honor the year’s great writers and great literary works,” said Publisher David D. Hiller. “Celebrating the diverse literary universe is a longstanding Book Prizes’ tradition and the 2006 honorees well represent a rich tapestry of writing.”
Times Book Editor David Ulin presented Kittredge with the Robert Kirsch Award, given annually to a living author with a substantial connection to the American West whose contribution to American letters deserves special recognition. Based in Montana, Kittredge is one of the West’s preeminent cultural voices. His novels, stories and essays are considered classics of western literature, with an unpretentious, no-nonsense style that uses straightforward prose to convey deeply powerful emotional undercurrents.
Established in 1980, the Book Prizes span genres as diverse as The Times’ spectrum of content, from history to captivating mystery, and masterful poetry to cutting-edge science. This year’s winners include a biography of creative pioneer Walt Disney; a perspective on the tensions between the Dutch and Muslim immigrants; and a first-time writer’s dreamy, lyrical tale of teenaged American sisters growing up in Hong Kong during the Vietnam War. Each winner, including Kittredge, receives a $1,000 cash award.
2006 Book Prizes Winners
Biography: Neal Gabler, Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination (Alfred A. Knopf). Presented by Rick Wartzman.
Current Interest: Ian Buruma, Murder in Amsterdam: The Death of the Theo van Gogh and the Limits of Tolerance (Penguin Press). Presented by Reza Aslan.
Fiction: A.B. Yehoshua, A Woman in Jerusalem [translated from the Hebrew by Hillel Halkin] (Harcourt). Presented by Steve Lopez.
Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction: Alice Greenway, White Ghost Girls (Black Cat / Grove/Atlantic). Presented by Jane Smiley.
History: Lawrence Wright, The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 (Alfred A. Knopf). Presented by Geoffrey R. Stone.
Mystery/Thriller: Michael Connelly, Echo Park: A Novel (Little, Brown). Presented by Lisa See.
Poetry: Frederick Seidel, Ooga-Booga (Farrar, Straus and Giroux). Presented by James Ragan.
Science and Technology: Eric R. Kandel, In Search of Memory: The Emergence of a New Science of Mind (W.W. Norton). Presented by M.G. Lord.
Young Adult Fiction: Coe Booth, Tyrell (Push / Scholastic). Presented by Jacqueline Woodson.
2006 Book Prize finalists (including winners)
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 (Alfred A. Knopf)Daniel Mendelsohn, The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million (HarperCollins)
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 (Alfred A. 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: A Novel (Random House)Peter Orner, The Second Coming of Mavala Shikongo: A Novel (Little, Brown)Susan Straight, A Million Nightingales (Pantheon Books)Daniel Woodrell, Winter’s Bone: A Novel (Little, Brown)A.B. Yehoshua, A Woman in Jerusalem [translated from the Hebrew by Hillel Halkin] (Harcourt)
Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction:
Tony D’Souza, Whiteman (Harcourt)Lisa Fugard, Skinner’s Drift: A Novel (Scribner)Jennifer Gilmore, Golden Country: A Novel (Scribner)Alice Greenway, White Ghost Girls (Black Cat / Grove/Atlantic)Janis Cooke Newman, Mary: A Novel (MacAdam/Cage Publishing)
Taylor Branch, At Canaan’s Edge: America in the King Years, 1965-68 (Simon & Schuster)Niall Ferguson, The War of the World: Twentieth-Century Conflict and the Descent of the West (Penguin Press)Nathaniel Philbrick, Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War (Viking)John Tayman, The Colony (Lisa Drew / Scribner)Lawrence Wright, The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 (Alfred A. Knopf)
Michael Connelly, Echo Park: A Novel (Little, Brown)Patrick Neate, City of Tiny Lights (Riverhead Books)George Pelecanos, The Night Gardener: A Novel (Little, Brown)Jess Walter, The Zero: A Novel (HarperCollins)Don Winslow, The Winter of Frankie Machine (Alfred A. Knopf)
Erin Belieu, Black Box (Copper Canyon Press)Adrian C. Louis, Logorrhea (TriQuarterly Books / Northwestern University Press)Thom Satterlee, Burning Wyclif (Texas Tech University Press)Frederick Seidel, Ooga-Booga (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)Michael Waters, Darling Vulgarity (BOA Editions)
Science and Technology:
Joyce E. Chaplin, The First Scientific American: Benjamin Franklin and the Pursuit of Genius (Basic Books)Ann Gibbons, The First Human: The Race to Discover Our Earliest Ancestors (Doubleday)Eric R. Kandel, In Search of Memory: The Emergence of a New Science of Mind (W.W. Norton)Daniel J. Levitin, This Is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession (Dutton)Edward O. Wilson, The Creation: An Appeal to Save Life on Earth (W.W. Norton)
Young Adult Fiction:
M.T. Anderson, The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume 1: The Pox Party (Candlewick Press)Coe Booth, Tyrell (Push / Scholastic)John Green, An Abundance of Katherines (Dutton Books / Penguin Young Readers Group)Meg Rosoff, Just in Case (Wendy Lamb Books / Random House Children’s Books)Nancy Werlin, The Rules of Survival (Dial Books / Penguin Young Readers Group)
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