Our 2020 LA Times Book Prizes Finalists and Honorees

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The finalists and honorees for the 40th annual Los Angeles Times Book Prizes were announced this week, and 19 titles published by Penguin Random House imprints are nominees, and two authors on our lists are selected for special awards: 

Walter Mosley, a prolific novelist, some of whose backlist is published by three PRH imprints (Vintage Crime/Black LizardBerkley, and Riverhead), is the winner of the prestigious Robert Kirsch Award for lifetime achievement.

Additionally, Vintage author Emily Bernard will be honored with the Christopher Isherwood Prize for Autobiographical Prose for her groundbreaking memoir BLACK IS THE BODY

Prize winners in the literary categories will be revealed on Friday, April 17 at the University of Southern California, preceding the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, which will run from April 18-19.

Our Finalists:

Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction

SAY SAY SAY by Lila Savage (Knopf)

THE OLD DRIFT by Namwali Serpell (Hogarth)

MARILOU IS EVERYWHERE by Sarah Elaine Smith (Riverhead)


OUR MAN: Richard Holbrooke and the End of the American Century by George Packer (Knopf)

FAY WRAY AND ROBERT RISKIN: A Hollywood Memoir by Victoria Riskin (Pantheon)

FIRST: Sandra Day O’Connor by Evan Thomas (Random House)

Current Interest

THE DREAMT LAND: Chasing Water and Dust Across California by Mark Arax (Knopf)

CHARGED: The New Movement to Transform American Prosecution and End Mass Incarceration by Emily Bazelon (Random House)


THE NICKEL BOYS by Colson Whitehead (Doubleday)


GODS OF THE UPPER AIR: How a Circle of Renegade Anthropologists Reinvented Race, Sex, and Gender in the Twentieth Century by Charles King (Doubleday)

THE HEARTBEAT OF WOUNDED KNEE: Native America from 1890 to the Present by David Treuer (Riverhead)

Science & Technology

FIGURING by Maria Popova (Vintage)

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

EXHALATION: Stories by Ted Chiang (Knopf)

BLACK LEOPARD, RED WOLF by Marlon James (Riverhead)

THE OLD DRIFT by Namwali Serpell (Hogarth)

Young Adult Literature

SHOUT by Laurie Halse Anderson (Penguin Books)

DIG by A.S. King (Dutton Books for Young Readers)

WHEN THE GROUND IS HARD by Malla Nunn (G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers)

PATRON SAINTS OF NOTHING by Randy Ribay (Kokila)

Our Honorees

Robert Kirsch Award winner

Walter Mosley (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard, Berkley, and Riverhead)

Christopher Isherwood Prize for Autobiographical Prose winner

BLACK IS THE BODY: Stories from My Grandmother’s Time, My Mother’s Time, and Mine by Emily Bernard (Vintage)

To view the complete list of this year’s L.A. Times Book Prize finalists and honorees, click here.

Posted: February 21, 2020