2011 Los Angeles Times Book Prize Winners

The Los Angeles Times’ weekend-long celebration of the written word in all its forms kicked off with the 32nd Annual Book Prizes ceremony tonight at the University of Southern California's iconic Bovard Auditorium. Hosted by the Times’ book critic David L. Ulin, the honors were the opening chapter to the 17th annual Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, the nation's largest and most prestigious public literary festival.

Rudolfo Anaya was this year’s recipient of the Robert Kirsch Award for lifetime achievement. Anaya’s award-winning 1972 debut novel “Bless Me, Ultima” is the most widely read and critically acclaimed novel in the Chicano literary canon, and award presenter Jonathan Kirsch noted that Anaya’s writing “shimmers with… its authenticity, its richness of character and incident, its power to catch and hold our attention.”

The Innovator's Award, which spotlights cutting-edge business models, technology or applications of narrative art, was presented to Figment. Co-founded and led by Jacob Lewis, Figment is a digital writing community and a forum for young writers and readers to share and comment on each other's creativity, about which presenter Ulin said, “Figment’s success reaffirms what readers everywhere have always known: that literature and reading aren't going anywhere.”

2011 Book Prize Winners

  • Biography: John A. Farrell, Clarence Darrow: Attorney for the Damned (Doubleday)
  • Current Interest: Daniel Kahneman, Thinking Fast and Slow (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
  • Fiction: Alex Shakar, Luminarium (SoHo Press)
  • The Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction: Ismet Prcic, Shards (Black Cat/Grove/Atlantic)
  • Graphic Novel: Carla Speed McNeil, Finder: Voice (Dark Horse)
  • History: Richard White, Railroaded: The Transcontinentals and the Making of Modern America (W.W. Norton & Company)
  • Mystery/Thriller: Stephen King, 11/22/1963 (Scribner)
  • Poetry: Double Shadow: Carl Phillips, Poems (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
  • Science & Technology: Sylvia Nasar, Grand Pursuit: The Story of Economic Genius (Simon & Schuster)
  • Young Adult Literature: Pete Hautman, The Big Crunch (Scholastic Press)
  • Innovator's Award: Figment
  • Robert Kirsch Award: Rudolfo Anaya

The complete list of 2011 finalists and previous winners, as well as eligibility and judging information, can be found at


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John Conroy | Los Angeles Times | 213.237.4791 |