2018 Los Angeles Times Book Prize Finalists

Finalists for the Los Angeles Times Book Prizes were announced last Wednesday, February 20. The awards will be handed out during a ceremony on April 12, just before the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books gets underway! The festival, which will take place at the University of Southern California campus from April 13 through April 14, is designed to connect those who “create books with those who love them.” Check out the finalists for this year’s awards below, linked to their Booklist reviews when available.



Robert Kirsch Award Winner
Terry Tempest Williams

Innovator’s Award Winner
Library of America

2018 Christopher Isherwood Prize for Autobiographical Prose
 Heavy: An American Memoir, by Kiese Laymon (Scribner)



Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction

 Asymmetry, by Lisa Halliday (Simon & Schuster)
The Deeper the Water the Uglier the Fish, by Katya Apekina (Two Dollar Radio)
Heads of the Colored People, by Nafissa Thompson-Spires (Atria/37INK)
The Incendiaries, by R. O. Kwon (Riverhead)
 There There, by Tommy Orange (Knopf)


American Eden: David Hosack, Botany, and Medicine in the Garden of the Early Republic, by Victoria Johnson (Norton/Liveright)
, by Tara Westover (Random)
 Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom, by David W. Blight (Simon & Schuster)
 Reagan: An American Journey, by Bob Spitz (Penguin)
 Reporter, by Seymour M. Hersh (Knopf)

Current Interest

Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup, by John Carreyrou (Knopf)
Becoming, by Michelle Obama (Crown)
 The Fifth Risk, by Michael Lewis (Norton)
 The Library Book, by Susan Orlean (Simon & Schuster)
 The Line Becomes a River: Dispatches from the Border, by Francisco Cantú (Riverhead)


An American Marriage, by Tayari Jones (Algonquin)
 The Great Believers, by Rebecca Makkai (Viking)
 Warlight, by Michael Ondaatje (Knopf)
 Washington Black, by Esi Edugyan (Knopf)
 The Wildlands, by Abby Geni (Counterpoint)

Graphic Novel/Comics

 On a Sunbeam, by Tillie Walden (First Second)
The Pervert, by Remy Boydell and Michelle Perez (Image Comics)
Shit Is Real, by Aisha Franz (Drawn & Quarterly)
The Strange, by Jérôme Ruillier (Drawn & Quarterly)
Why Art? by Eleanor Davis (Fantagraphics)


 The Browns of California: The Family Dynasty That Transformed a State and Shaped a Nation, by Miriam Pawel (Bloomsbury)
Empire of Guns: The Violent Making of the Industrial Revolution, by Priya Satia (Penguin Press)
Empress: The Astonishing Reign of Nur Jahan, by Ruby Lal (Norton)
Scots and Catalans: Union and Disunion, by J. H. Elliott (Yale University Press)
Travelers in the Third Reich: The Rise of Fascism 1919-1945, by Julia Boyd (Pegasus)

Mystery / Thriller

 Give Me Your Hand, by Megan Abbott (Little, Brown)
 Green Sun, by Kent Anderson (Little, Brown/Mulholland)
My Sister, the Serial Killer, by Oyinkan Braithwaite (Doubleday)
 November Road, by Lou Berney (Morrow)
The Perfect Nanny, by Leila Slimani (Penguin)


American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin, by Terrance Hayes (Penguin)
Feeld, by Jos Charles (Milkweed)
Ghost Of, by Diana Khoi Nguyen (Omnidawn)
Still Life with Two Dead Peacocks and a Girl, by Diane Seuss (Graywolf)
Wild Is the Wind, by Carl Phillips (Farrar)

Science & Technology

 Amity and Prosperity: One Family and the Fracturing of America, by Eliza Griswold (Farrar)
 Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company That Addicted America, by Beth Macy (Little, Brown)
 Nine Pints: A Journey through the Money, Medicine, and Mysteries of Blood, by Rose George (Holt/Metropolitan)
Timefulness: How Thinking Like a Geologist Can Help Save the World, by Marcia Bjornerud (Princeton University Press)
 What the Eyes Don’t See: A Story of Crisis, Resistance, and Hope in an American City, by Mona Hanna-Attisha (Random/One World)

Young Adult Literature

 The Astonishing Color of After, by Emily X. R. Pan (Little, Brown)
A Few Red Drops: The Chicago Race Riot of 1919, by Claire Hartfield (Clarion)
 Hey, Kiddo! by Jarrett Krosoczka (Scholastic/Graphix)
 Picture Us in the Light, by Kelly Loy Gilbert (Disney/Hyperion)
The Poet X, by Elizabeth Acevedo (HarperTeen)



About the Author:

Michael Ruzicka, Office Manager, was raised in suburban Los Angeles, received a BA in Creative Writing/Poetry at UC Santa Cruz, then moved to Birmingham, AL, where he spent five years owning an independent bookstore and earned an MLIS. He has brought his librarian skills to Vanderbilt’s Television News Archive, Battle Ground Academy, The Museum of Contemporary Art-Chicago, and the Chicago School of Professional Psychology. Michael is very excited to be a part of Booklist and call Chicago his home.

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