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Announcing the L.A. Times Book Prize finalists for 2013

February 19, 2014|By Carolyn Kellogg
  • Author and activist John Green will receive the L.A. Times book prize Innovators Award.
Author and activist John Green will receive the L.A. Times book prize Innovators… (Ton Koene / Penguin Young…)

The finalists for the 34th annual L.A. Times Book Prizes were announced Wednesday morning: 50 books in 10 categories are in the running to win the L.A. Times Book Prizes, to be awarded in April. Two authors will receive special recognition: John Green with the Innovators Award and Susan Straight with the Kirsch Award for lifetime achievement.

Bestselling young adult novelist John Green will be presented with the Innovators Award for his dynamic use of online media to entertain and engage. He and his brother Hank, videoblog pioneers, launched an annual combination video sharing/charitable fundraiser, Project for Awesome, in 2007. Their fans -- who they call Nerdfighters -- raised more than $400,000 in two days in December 2013. Green, who has won a Printz Award and an Edgar Award, maintains a dynamic relationship with his readers via Tumblr and Twitter, where he has more than 2 million followers.

Susan Straight, the winner of the Kirsch Award for lifetime achievement, is a National Book Award finalist and a winner of the Lannan Literary Prize. In her novels, Straight has created and explored Rio Seco, a fictional Southern California town much like Riverside, where she resides.
“Susan Straight is a Southern California original and a tireless supporter, and creator, of our literary culture,” Times book critic David L. Ulin said in the news release announcing the award. “Her novels opened up not just California literature but American literature to the Inland Empire and to the often-neglected voices of the people there. Through her work as a teacher, she has inspired a new generation of California writers.”

Finalists for the 2013 L.A. Times Book Prizes were named in 10 categories: biography, current interest, fiction, graphic novel/comics, history, mystery/thriller, poetry, science and technology, the Art Seidenbaum Award for first fiction, and young adult literature.

Among the 50 finalists are John Grisham, “Robert Galbraith” (aka J.K. Rowling), Doris Kearns Goodwin, A. Scott Berg, Joe Sacco, Percival Everett, Claire Messud, Rainbow Rowell, Alan Weisman, and Gene Luen Yang. The complete list of finalists is below.

The winners of the L.A. Times book prizes will be announced at an awards ceremony April 11, the evening before the L.A. Times Festival of Books, April 12-13. Held on USC's campus in Bovard Auditorium, the awards are open to the public; tickets will be made available in late March. Details can be found online at www.latimes.com/bookprizes.

The 2013 L.A. Times Book Prize finalists:

Biography
Marie Arana, “Bolivar: American Liberator,” Simon & Schuster
A. Scott Berg, “Wilson,” G.P. Putnam's Sons
Benita Eisler, “The Red Man's Bones: George Catlin, Artist and Showman,” W. W. Norton & Co.
Edna O'Brien , “Country Girl: A Memoir,” Little, Brown & Co.
Deborah Solomon, “American Mirror: The Life and Art of Norman Rockwell,” Farrar, Straus & Giroux

Current Interest
Sheri Fink, “Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital,” Crown
David Finkel, “Thank You for Your Service,” Sarah Crichton Books/Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Charlie LeDuff, “Detroit: An American Autopsy,” The Penguin Press
Barry Siegel, “Manifest Injustice: The True Story of a Convicted Murderer and the Lawyers Who Fought for His Freedom,” Henry Holt & Co.
Lawrence Wright, “Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief,” Knopf

Fiction
Percival Everett, “Percival Everett by Virgil Russell,” Graywolf Press
Claire Messud, “The Woman Upstairs,” Knopf
Ruth Ozeki, “A Tale for the Time Being,” Viking
Susan Steinberg, “Spectacle: Stories,” Graywolf Press
Daniel Woodrell, “The Maid's Version: A Novel,” Little, Brown & Co.

The Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction
NoViolet Bulawayo, “We Need New Names,” Reagan Arthur Books
Jeff Jackson, “Mira Corpora,” Two Dollar Radio
Fiona McFarlane, “The Night Guest,” Faber & Faber
Jamie Quatro, “I Want to Show You More,” Grove Press
Ethan Rutherford, “The Peripatetic Coffin and Other Stories,” Ecco / HarperCollins

Graphic Novel/Comics
David B., “Incidents in the Night: Volume 1,” Uncivilized Books
Ben Katchor, “Hand-Drying in America: And Other Stories,” Pantheon
Ulli Lust, “Today is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life,” Fantagraphics
Anders Nilsen, “The End,” Fantagraphics
Joe Sacco, “The Great War: July 1, 1916: The First Day of the Battle of the Somme,” W. W. Norton & Co.

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