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Frequently asked questions
Winners will be announced live at the L.A. Times Book Prize Ceremony on Friday, April 22, 2022, at 7pm PT.
Eligibility for the prizes requires a book to have its first United States publication between January 1 and December 31 of the prize year. This American publication must be in English; however, English does not have to be the original language of the work. Authors may be of any nationality. They should be alive at the time of their book’s qualifying U.S. publication although eligibility is also extended to significant new translations of the work of deceased writers.
Books by current employees of the Los Angeles Times, by current employees of Tribune Company or any of its other affiliates, by currently serving judges of the Los Angeles Times Book Prizes, or by immediate family members of these groups are not eligible.
NO. There is no external nominating process for the Book Prizes. Authors, publishers, agents or publicists cannot propose or submit titles for consideration. Responsibility for nominating books for consideration and for naming both the finalists and the ultimate winners rests solely with the judging panels.
Please do not send books directly to the judges. Unsolicited books will not be reviewed.
The Book Prize judges are writers, academics, journalists, librarians, who generally work in the fields in which they judge or they have a deep connection to that field. Not all of the judges are, in any given year, from Los Angeles, or even from California. Most, but not all, are published writers. None is ever a current Times employee. Judges are appointed, typically, for two-year terms which are usually staggered. Responsibility for nominating books for consideration and for naming both the finalists and the ultimate winners rests solely with the judging panels. The best way to get your book noticed by the judges is to send it out widely for review.
Five finalists in each single-title category are announced in late February of the year following the actual Prize year (i.e. the 2021 finalists are announced in February of 2022). At that time, the winners of the Robert Kirsch Innovator’s Awards, as well as the Christopher Isherwood Prize are revealed. From each group of category finalists, a winner is announced when the Book Prizes are presented in a public ceremony in the Friday night, April 22, 2022, kick off to Festival of Books weekend.
The Book Prizes cover twelve subject categories: biography, current interest, autobiographical prose (the Christopher Isherwood Prize added 2016), fiction, first fiction (the Art Seidenbaum Award added 1991), graphic novel (added 2009), history, mystery/thriller (added in 2000), poetry, science fiction/fantasy (added 2019), science and technology (added in 1989), and young adult literature (added in 1998).
The Robert Kirsch Award -- Recognizes the body of work of a living author who resides in and/or whose work focuses on the West and whose contributions to American letters deserve special recognition.
The Innovator’s Award (added 2009) -- Recognizes the people and institutions that are doing cutting edge work to bring books, publishing and storytelling into the future, whether in terms of new business models, new technologies or new applications of narrative art.
The Christopher Isherwood Prize for Autobiographical Prose (added 2016) spans fiction, travel writing, memoir and diary, all genres in which Isherwood worked. During his lifetime, he authored novels, autobiography, travel books, and over a million words of diaries. Katherine Bucknell, executive director of The Christopher Isherwood Foundation, says, “ we are 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.” A five-judge panel has selected the 2021 winner.
The Ray Bradbury Prize for Science Fiction, Fantasy & Speculative Fiction (added 2019) -- Sponsored by Ray Bradbury Foundation, this award honors and extends Bradbury’s literary legacy by celebrating and elevating the writers working in his field today. “We are thrilled to present this prize in partnership with the LA Times,” the family of Ray Bradbury said in a statement. “Ray was a proud Angeleno who used words to both predict and prevent the future — this prize recognizes authors with a similar passion for storytelling and the far-reaching effects their words have in this world.” A 3-judge panel chose the 5 finalists for the 2021 prize.
The Kirsch and Innovator's Award winners are selected by an anonymous internal Los Angeles Times committee and will be announced with the winner of the Isherwood Prize and all the category finalists on February 23, 2022.