Los Angeles Times Book Prizes finalists announced

sweet-lamb-of-heaven   swing-time   innocents-and-others

spill-simmer-falter-wither  ways-to-disappear  the-bed-moved

Finalists for the Los Angeles Times Book Prizes were announced on Feb. 22. A total of 55 finalists were named in eleven categories.

In the Fiction category, three women writers were nominated: Lydia Millet, Zadie Smith, and Dana Spiotta.

Finalists in the First Fiction category include another trio of women: Sara Baume, Idra Novey, and Rebecca Schiff.

Strangely, The Girls by Emma Cline was nominated in the Mystery/Thriller category.

The prizes will be awarded on the evening of April 21, the night before the annual Los Angeles Times Festival of Books begins at the University of Southern California.

Last year’s winners included Valeria Luiselli in Fiction for The Story of My Teeth and Chigozie Obioma in First Fiction for The Fishermen.


What Belongs to You by Garth Greenwell

Imagine Me Gone by Adam Haslett

Sweet Lamb of Heaven by Lydia Millet

Swing Time by Zadie Smith

Innocents and Others by Dana Spiotta


Spill Simmer Falter Wither by Sara Baume

The Whale: A Love Story by Mark Beauregard

The Nix by Nathan Hill

Ways to Disappear by Idra Novey

The Bed Moved by Rebecca Schiff



LA Times Book Awards nominees include Enright, Luiselli, Novic, Phillips and Coste Lewis

The Green Road  Story Of My Teeth  Girl at War

Women writers made a strong showing in the nominees for the Los Angeles Times Book Prizes announced today.

Nominated in the Fiction category were Anne Enright for The Green Road (W.W. Norton & Co.), Valeria Luiselli for The Story of My Teeth (Coffee House Press) and Helen Phillips for The Beautiful Bureaucrat (Henry Holt and Co.). The other two nominees are Adam Johnson, whose story collection Fortune Smiles (Random House) recently won the National Book Award, and James Hannaham for Delicious Foods (Little, Brown & Co.).

Sara Novic’s debut novel, Girl at War (Random House) [see my review here] was nominated for the Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction, along with Sarah Gerard’s Binary Star (Two Dollar Radio). The other nominees are Ben Metcalf, Chigozie Obioma and Andrew Roe.

Other women authors nominated include Charlotte DeCroes Jacobs for Jonas Salk: A Life (Oxford University Press) in the Biography category; Sarah Chayes for Thieves of State: Why Corruption Threatens Global Security (W.W. Norton & Co.) and Sandy Tolan for Children of the Stone: The Power of Music in a Hard Land (Bloomsbury USA) in the Current Interest category; Maggie Thrash’s Honor Girl (Candlewick) and Carol Tyler’s Soldier’s Heart: The Campaign to Understand My WWII Veteran Father: A Daughter’s Memoir (Fantagraphics) in the Graphic Novels/Comics category; Mary Beard for SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome (Liveright / W.W. Norton & Co.) in the History category; Beth Shapiro’s How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction (Princeton University Press) and Andrea Wulf’s The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt’s New World (Alfred A. Knopf) in the Science & Technology category; and Marilyn Nelson’s My Seneca Village (namelos) and Laura Amy Schlitz’s The Hired Girl (Candlewick) in Young Adult Literature.

The Poetry category was dominated by women, who took four of the five spots: Jorie Graham for From the World: Poems 1976-2014 (Ecco/HarperCollins), Robin Coste Lewis for Voyage of the Sable Venus (Alfred A. Knopf), Fiona Sze-Lorrain for The Ruined Elegance (Princeton University Press), and Jean Valentine for Shirt in Heaven (Copper Canyon Press).

The L.A. Times Book Prizes will be awarded on April 9, during the Times’ Festival of Books, held on the campus of the University of Southern California.

Los Angeles Times Book Prizes nominations announced

The Blazing World   department-of-speculation  Boy, Snow, Bird  A Girl is a Half-Formed ThingCitizen   LA Times Festival of Books 2015

The 35th Los Angeles Times Book Prizes nominees were announced today, with five finalists each in 10 categories. T.C. Boyle will receive the Robert Kirsch Lifetime Achievement Award for his 30-year career as a novelist and short story writer, as well as founder of the creative writing program at USC, where he has taught since the late 1970s.

Three of the five nominees in the Fiction category are women whose novels received critical acclaim in 2014: Siri Hustvedt for The Blazing World, Jenny Offill for The Department of Speculation, and Helen Oyeyemi for Boy, Snow. Bird. [The links are to my reviews.] (The other nominees are the legendary Donald Antrim for The Emerald Light in the Air: Stories and Jesse Ball for Silence Once Begun.)

Women poets took the same number of slots in the First Fiction and Poetry categories.

In First Fiction, Diane Cook for Man v. Nature: Stories, Valerie Luiselli for Faces in the Crowd, and Eimear McBride for A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing (which won the 2014 Booker Prize). (The other nominees are John Darnielle for Wolf in White Van and David James Poissant for The Heaven of Animals: Stories.)

In Poetry the nominees are Gillian Conoley for Peace, Katie Ford for Blood Lyrics: Poems, and Claudia Rankine for Citizen: An American Lyric. (The other nominees are Peter Gizzi for In Defense of Nothing: Selected Poems, 1987-2011 and Fred Moten for The Feel Trio.)

Two small presses from Minneapolis elbowed in on the big publishing houses in the nominations. Graywolf Press published Rankine’s Citizen and Ford’s Blood Lyrics: Poems. Coffee House Press published A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing and Faces in the Crowd. Graywolf is also the publisher of Eula Biss’s On Immunity: An Inoculation, a blend of investigative medical journalism and essay (which Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg recently selected for his Year of Books reading project), and Leslie Jamison’s rapturously reviewed essay collection, The Empathy Exams (2013). Graywolf authors Eula Biss, Claudia Rankine, and Vikram Chandra (Geek Sublime: The Beauty of Code, the Code of Beauty) are finalists in this year’s National Book Critics Circle Awards (to be announced on March 12.

The L.A. Times Book Prizes will be announced at the Times’ 20th Festival of Books (to be held on the USC campus) on Saturday, April 18.