Join today’s most notable authors for L.A.’s preeminent literary awards show. This year’s ceremony — the 38th annual — will be held at USC’s beautiful and historic Bovard Auditorium. Learn more ›

2017 Robert Kirsch Award Winner

John Rechy
The 2017 Robert Kirsch Award for lifetime achievement, which recognizes a writer whose work focuses on the American West, goes to John Rechy, a groundbreaking writer and admired teacher who is considered a pioneer of modern gay and Chicano literature.

2017 Innovator’s Award Winner

Glory Edium
The 2017 Innovator’s Award, which spotlights cutting-edge work to bring books, publishing and storytelling into the future, will be awarded to Glory Edim, founder of Well-Read Black Girl, for her work honoring black women writers and creating a vital new space for literary discussion and engagement.

2017 Christopher Isherwood Prize for Autobiographical Prose Winner

Benjamin Taylor
The winner of the 2017 Christopher Isherwood prize is Benjamin Taylor for “The Hue and Cry at Our House: A Year Remembered,” which explores the monumental preoccupations of adolescence: how to be a good son—and student, and brother, and boy. The judges describe Taylor’s memoir as “a clear-eyed history, a cultural reflection, an elegy for youth and time itself—accomplished with subtlety, humor, and grace.”


Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction

Elif Batuman, The Idiot, Penguin Press
Rachel Khong, Goodbye, Vitamin, Henry Holt and Co.
Carmen Maria Machado, Her Body and Other Parties, Graywolf Press
Gabriel Tallent, My Absolute Darling, Riverhead Books
Jenny Zhang, Sour Heart, Lenny / Random House


Ron Chernow, Grant, Penguin Press
Jonathan Eig, Ali: A Life, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
John A. Farrell, Richard Nixon: The Life, Doubleday
Laura Dassow Walls, Henry David Thoreau: A Life, University Of Chicago Press

2017 Robert Kirsch Award Winner

2017 Innovator’s Award Winner

Glory Edim, Well-Read Black Girl

The Christopher Isherwood Prize for Autobiographical Prose Winner

Benjamin Taylor, The Hue and Cry at Our House: A Year Remembered, Penguin Books

Current Interest


Mohsin Hamid, Exit West, Riverhead Books
Victor LaValle, The Changeling, Spiegel & Grau
Claire Messud, The Burning Girl, W. W. Norton & Company
Vivek Shanbhag, Srinath Perur (translator), Ghachar Ghochar, Penguin Books
Jesmyn Ward, Sing, Unburied, Sing, Scribner

Graphic Novel / Comics

Gabrielle Bell, Everything is Flammable, Uncivilized Books
Manuele Fior, Translated by Jaime Richards, The Interview, Fantagraphics
Leslie Stein, Present, Drawn and Quarterly
Connor Willumsen, Anti-Gone, Koyama Press
Yuichi Yokoyama, Iceland, Retrofit Comics/Big Planet Comics


Dan Egan, The Death and Life of the Great Lakes, W. W. Norton & Company
Frances Fitzgerald, The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America, Simon & Schuster
Richard Rothstein, The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America, Liveright/w. w. Norton & Company

Mystery / Thriller

Michael Connelly, The Late Show, Little, Brown and Company
Paul La Farge, The Night Ocean, Penguin Press
Attica Locke, Bluebird, Bluebird, Mulholland Books
Joyce Carol Oates, A Book of American Martyrs, Ecco
Ivy Pochoda, Wonder Valley, Ecco


Alessandra Lynch, Daylily Called it A Dangerous Moment, Alice James Books
Shane McCrae, In the Language of my Captor, Wesleyan University Press
Evie Shockley, semiautomatic, Wesleyan University Press
Patricia Smith, Incendiary Art: Poems, TriQuarterly Books/Northwestern University Press
David Wojahn, For the Scribe, University of Pittsburgh Press

Science & Technology

Cornelia Dean, Making Sense of Science: Separating Substance from Spin, Belknap Press: An Imprint of Harvard University Press
Jennifer A. Doudna & Samuel H. Sternberg, A Crack in Creation: Gene Editing and the Unthinkable Power to Control Evolution, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Robert M. Sapolsky, Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst, Penguin Press

Young Adult Literature

E. Lockhart, Genuine Fraud, Delacorte Press
Jason Reynolds, Long Way Down, Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books
Angie Thomas, The Hate U Give, Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins Children's Publishing
Renée Watson, Piecing Me Together, Bloomsbury Children’s Books

To view previous winners by award category click here.

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