Los Angeles Times 2019 Book Prizes

Marlon James won the new Ray Bradbury Prize for Science Fiction, Fantasy & Speculative Fiction, and Walter Mosley was honored with the Robert Kirsch Award for lifetime achievement when the 40th annual Los Angeles Times Book Prizes were awarded today on The Times’ Books Twitter feed.

Following each prize announcement, a video of the winner’s speech was shared on Twitter, with all videos now compiled on The Times’ YouTube page.

The Book Prizes recognized outstanding literary works in 12 categories.

2019 Book Prizes Winners

Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction

  • Namwali Serpell, The Old Drift: A Novel, Hogarth

Biography

  • George Packer, Our Man: Richard Holbrooke and the End of the American Century, Knopf

Christopher Isherwood Prize for Autobiographical Prose

  • Emily Bernard, Black Is the Body: Stories from My Grandmother’s Time, My Mother’s Time, and Mine, Knopf

Current Interest

  • Emily Bazelon, Charged: The New Movement to Transform American Prosecution and End Mass Incarceration, Random House

Fiction

  • Ben Lerner, The Topeka School: A Novel, Farrar, Straus, Giroux

Graphic Novel/Comics

  • Eleanor Davis, The Hard Tomorrow, Drawn & Quarterly

History

  • Stephanie E. Jones-Rogers, They Were Her Property: White Women as Slave Owners in the American South, Yale University Press

Mystery/Thriller

  • Steph Cha, Your House Will Pay: A Novel, Ecco

Poetry

  • Ilya Kaminsky, Deaf Republic: Poems, Graywolf Press

Ray Bradbury Prize for Science Fiction, Fantasy & Speculative Fiction

  • Marlon James, Black Leopard, Red Wolf (The Dark Star Trilogy Book 1), Riverhead

Science & Technology

  • Maria Popova, Figuring, Knopf

Young Adult Literature

  • Malla Nunn, When the Ground is Hard, G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Marlon James

Bradbury Prize winner Marlon James said in his acceptance remarks:

Well, you know, there is something kind of ironic about winning an award in tribute to the creator of the original American dystopia when we are in a kind of dystopia. You know, I I think kind of it makes me think even more about Ray Bradbury and more about how we look at his dystopia as a possible future not realizing in a way it has happened. You know, we’re not burning books but we’re burning intelligence, we are burning expertise, we are burning the simple privilege of knowing, and we’re seeing the consequences of that. But let’s not deal too much with the bad because this is a great occasion and I’m so incredibly honored and so incredibly humbled by winning this the inaugural Ray Bradbury prize for science fiction fantasy and speculative fiction…

Walter Mosley’s acceptance video:

The complete list of 2019 Book Prizes finalists and previous winners is available at latimes.com/BookPrizes, as is eligibility and judging information

The Book Prizes awards ceremony usually takes place at the LA Times Festival of Books in the spring, but the event was cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak, and rescheduled to October 3-4 at USC.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian and Michael Toman for the story.]

New Ray Bradbury Prize for SFF

Ray Bradbury

Today’s L.A. Times Book Prizes finalists announcement includes the first nominees for the Ray Bradbury Prize for Science Fiction, Fantasy and Speculative Fiction, sponsored by Ray Bradbury Literary Works. The prize honors Bradbury’s literary legacy by celebrating writers working in his field today.

“Ray was a proud Angeleno who used words to both predict and prevent the future,” said a statement from Bradbury’s family. “(T)his prize recognizes authors with a similar passion for storytelling and the far-reaching effects their words have in this world,”

The Ray Bradbury Prize for Science Fiction, Fantasy & Speculative Fiction

Also of genre interest —

Walter Mosley

The 2019 Robert Kirsch Award for lifetime achievement

  • Walter Mosley

The award recognizes a writer whose work focuses on the American West. Mosley is best known for his mystery series featuring detective Easy Rawlins, a private detective in South-Central Los Angeles, however, he also has written a half-dozen sff novels, and several shorter works, including the Crosstown to Oblivion series.

“We are pleased to celebrate Walter Mosley’s 30-year writing life, which spans mysteries, short stories, science fiction, nonfiction, plays, and works for television and film,” said Times Book Editor Boris Kachka. “Whether through a detective story set in the streets of 1950s Los Angeles or essays about contemporary politics, Mosley reaches a wide range of readers, bringing about a deeper understanding of the world and the people who live in it.”

Graphic Novel/Comics

Winners will be announced at an evening ceremony in Los Angeles on April 17, the day before the start of the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, Stories and Ideas on the USC campus.