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Finalists Selected in Nine Categories for The Times Book Prizes

March 09, 2001

The finalists for the 2000 Los Angeles Times Book Prizes were announced today. Now in their 21st year, the prizes acknowledge excellence in nine categories of writing, ranging from fiction and young adult fiction to science and technology. For the first time, the prizes include a mystery-thriller category.

Each category is judged by three notable writers from the genre, and this year's judges included Michael Connelly for mysteries, and Mona Simpson for fiction.

The winners, as well as the recipient of the Robert Kirsch Award (which honors the body of work of a writer living in and/or writing about the American West), will be named in a public ceremony at UCLA's Royce Hall on April 28 at 7:30 p.m.

The Book Prizes ceremony is part of the sixth annual Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, which will be held April 28 and 29 at UCLA.

The finalists are:

Fiction: "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Klay: A Novel," by Michael Chabon (Random House); "Equal Love: Stories," by Peter Ho Davies (Houghton Mifflin); "Assorted Fire Events: Stories," by David Means (Context Books); "The Human Stain," by Philip Roth (Houghton Mifflin); and "The Quick & the Dead," by Joy Williams (Alfred A. Knopf).

Biography: "The First American: The Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin," by H.W. Brands (Doubleday); "Jefferson Davis, American," by William J. Cooper, Jr. (Alfred A. Knopf); "Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation," by Joseph J. Ellis (Alfred A. Knopf); "Hitler, 1936-1945: Nemesis," by Ian Kershaw (W.W. Norton); and "Mao: A Life," by Philip Short (Henry Holt).

Current Interest: "The Missionary and the Libertine: Love and War in East and West," by Ian Buruma (Random House); "Way Out There in the Blue: Reagan and Star Wars and the End of the Cold War," by Frances FitzGerald (Simon & Schuster); "The Mysteries Within: A Surgeon Reflects on Medical Myths," by Sherwin B. Nuland (Simon & Schuster); "Pitching Around Fidel: A Journey Into the Heart of Cuban Sports," by S.L. Price (HarperCollins / Ecco Press); and "Darkness in El Dorado: How Scientists and Journalists Devastated the Amazon," by Patrick Tierney (W.W. Norton).

Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction: "The Last Samurai: A Novel," by Helen DeWitt (Talk Miramax Books); "Sam the Cat and Other Stories," by Matthew Klam (Random House); "The Romantics: A Novel," by Pankaj Mishra (Random House); "An Obedient Father: A Novel," by Akhil Sharma (Farrar, Straus & Giroux); and "White Teeth: A Novel," by Zadie Smith (Random House).

History: "Resisting Hitler: Mildred Harnack and the Red Orchestra--The Life and Death of an American Woman in Nazi Germany," by Shareen Blair Brysac (Oxford University Press); "Kosovo: War and Revenge," by Tim Judah (Yale University Press); "The Collaborator: The Trial and Execution of Robert Brasillach," by Alice Kaplan (University of Chicago Press); "The Right to Vote: The Contested History of Democracy in the United States," by Alexander Keyssar (Basic Books); and "In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex," by Nathaniel Philbrick (Viking).

Poetry: "Men in the Off Hours," by Anne Carson (Alfred A. Knopf); "The Ledge: Poems," by Michael Collier (Houghton Mifflin); "Some Ether," by Nick Flynn (Graywolf Press); "Pastoral: Poems," by Carl Phillips (Graywolf Press); and "The Throne of Labdacus," by Gjertrud Schnackenberg (Farrar, Straus & Giroux).

Science and Technology: "E=MC2: A Biography of the World's Most Famous Equation," by David Bodanis (Walker & Co.); "The Rise and Fall of Modern Medicine" by James Le Fanu, M.D. (Carroll & Graf), "Einstein in Love (A Scientific Romance)," by Dennis Overbye (Viking); "Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters," by Matt Ridley (HarperCollins); and "A Rum Affair: A True Story of Botanical Fraud," by Karl Sabbagh (Farrar, Straus & Giroux).

Young Adult Fiction: "Forgotten Fire," by Adam Bagdasarian (DK Ink); "Many Stones," by Carolyn Coman (Front Street); "Esperanza Rising," by Pam Munoz Ryan (Scholastic); "When Kambia Elaine Flew in From Neptune," by Lori Aurelia Williams (Simon & Schuster); and "Miracle's Boys," by Jacqueline Woodson (Penguin Putnam / G.P. Putnam's Sons).

Mystery: "Purple Cane Road: A Novel," by James Lee Burke (Bantam Books); "Blood Rain: An Aurelio Zen Mystery," by Michael Dibdin (Pantheon); "A Place of Execution: A Novel," by Val McDermid (St. Martin's Press / Minotaur); "Shame the Devil: A Novel," by George P. Pelecanos (Little, Brown); and "Cold Is the Grave: A Novel of Suspense," by Peter Robinson (HarperCollins / William Morrow).

Tickets for the Book Prizes ceremony are $10, or $50 for both the ceremony and reception that follows. They are available at the UCLA Central Ticket Office at (310) 825-2101 or http://www.tickets.ucla.edu or through Ticketmaster, (213) 365-3500 or http://www.ticketmaster.com.

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