Since 1980, the LA Times Book Prizes have honored the previous year’s best books and their authors. This year’s ceremony — the 37th annual — will be held at Bovard Auditorium on the USC campus at 7:00 p.m. learn more ›


Isherwood Foundation
The Book Prizes is pleased to announce a new category award. The prize will span fiction, travel writing, memoir and diary, all genres in which Isherwood worked. During his lifetime, he authored nine novels, four books of autobiography, two travel books, and over a million words of diaries. His novel Goodbye Berlin became the basis for the stage play Cabaret while A Single Man was made into an award-winning feature film. Katherine Bucknell, executive drector of The Christopher Isherwood Foundation, says, “The Christopher Isherwood Foundation is absolutely delighted to be giving this prize with the Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles was Christopher Isherwood’s adoptive home, and in 1984 he was awarded the Robert Kirsch Award for his own writing.” Like the other category prizes, a three-judge panel has picked the five finalists for 2016's inaugural Christopher Isherwood Prize for Autobiographical Prose.

2016 Innovator’s Award

Rueben Martinez
Ruebén Martinez, the founder of Libreria Martinez, is the 2016 Innovator’s Award winner in honor of his work promoting books and reading within the Latino-American and Spanish-speaking communities. Martínez’s passion for reading inspired him to open a bookstore in his Santa Ana barbershop in the early 1990s. It quickly became a cornerstone of the community, evolved into a nationally-renowned center of Chicano/Latino literature and art, and lives on today through the Centro Comunitario de Educación – Chapman University’s learning center which houses Martínez’s book collection. Currently a Presidential Fellow of Chapman University, Martínez acts as an ambassador to encourage Latinos to pursue higher education and lifelong learning. A recipient of the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship in 2004, Martinez continues his bookselling work through his partnership with Hudson Newsstands and bookstores in airports across the country selecting books and working with associates to reach readers nationwide.

2016 Robert Kirsch Award Winner

Thomas McGuane
Novelist Thomas McGuane is the 2016 Robert Kirsch Award winner which recognizes the body of work of a writer of the American West. McGuane’s 10 novels range from 92 In the Shade (A National Book Award finalist) to 2010’s Driving on the Rim. In addition to his three short story collections of which "Crow Fair" is his most recent, McGuane has written several screenplays including 1976’s Missouri Breaks which was made into a film starring Marlon Brando and Jack Nicholson. Like much of his fiction, his essay collections are devoted to his life in the outdoors. He is a regular contributor to the New Yorker and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters as well as both The National Cutting Horse Association Hall of Fame and the Fly Fishing Hall of Fame.

2016 Finalists

Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction

Sara Baume, Spill Simmer Falter Wither, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
Mark Beauregard, The Whale: A Love Story, Viking
Nathan Hill, The Nix, Alfred A. Knopf
Idra Novey, Ways to Disappear, Little, Brown and Company
Rebecca Schiff, The Bed Moved, Alfred A. Knopf


Claire Harman, Charlotte Brontë: A Fiery Heart, Alfred A. Knopf
Volker Ullrich, Hitler: Ascent, 1889-1939, Alfred A. Knopf
Frances Wilson, Guilty Thing: A Life of Thomas De Quincey, Farrar, Straus and Giroux

The Christopher Isherwood Prize for Autobiographical Prose

Tash Aw, The Face: Strangers on a Pier, Restless Books
Scholastique Mukasonga (Author), Jordan Stump (Translator), Cockroaches, Archipelago Books
Jacqueline Woodson, Another Brooklyn: A Novel, Amistad/HarperCollins

Current Interest


Garth Greenwell, What Belongs to You, Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Adam Haslett, Imagine Me Gone, Little, Brown and Company
Lydia Millet, Sweet Lamb of Heaven, W. W. Norton and Company
Zadie Smith, Swing Time, Penguin Press
Dana Spiotta, Innocents and Others, Scribner

Graphic Novel/Comics

Nick Drnaso, Beverly, Drawn & Quarterly
Anna Haifisch, The Artist, Breakdown Press LTD
Patrick Kyle, Don't Come in Here, Koyama Press
Jason Shiga, Demon: Volume 1, First Second/Macmillan


Mystery / Thriller

Bill Beverly, Dodgers, Crown
Emma Cline, The Girls, Random House
Ian McGuire, The North Water, Henry Holt and Co
Thomas Mullen, Darktown, 37 Ink/Atria Books


Ishion Hutchinson, House of Lords and Commons: Poems, Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Phillis Levin, Mr. Memory & Other Poems, Penguin Books
Jane Mead, World of Made and Unmade, Alice James Books
Robyn Schiff, A Woman of Property, Penguin Books
Rosmarie Waldrop, Gap Gardening: Selected Poems, New Directions

Science & Technology

Young Adult Literature

Socorro Acioli/ Daniel Hahn (Translator), The Head of the Saint, Delacorte
Julie Berry, The Passion of Dolssa, Viking Books for Young Readers
Frances Hardinge, The Lie Tree, Harry N. Abrams
John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, Nate Powell, March: Book Three, Top Shelf Productions
Meg Medina, Burn, Baby, Burn, Candlewick

Awards Ceremony Presenters

Laila Lalami / The Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction
Patt Morrison / Biography
Katherine Bucknell / The Christopher Isherwood Prize for Autobiographical Prose
Gustavo Arellano / Current Interest
Adriana Ramirez / Fiction
Carolina Miranda / Graphic Novel/Comics
Nathan Masters / History
Steph Cha / Mystery/Thriller
Karen Kaplan / Science & Technology
Maurene Goo / Young Adult Literature
Carolyn Kellogg / Innovator’s Award
Jonathan Kirsch / Robert Kirsch Award

To view previous winners by award category click here.