Los Angeles Times Book Award Finalists Released

February 22, 2019

LA Times Book Prizes logo

The Los Angeles Times unveiled Monday the finalists for this year’s Los Angeles Times Book Awards. Established in 1980, the Prizes are awarded in eleven different categories. Past winners include Allen Ginsberg, Joan Didion, Czeslaw Milosz, John Green, and others. Among the finalists for the 2018 Prizes are notable writers Michelle Obama, R.O. Kwon, Terrance Hayes, and Elizabeth Acevedo.

The 2018 Robert Kirsch Award, which honors a living writer from the American West, went to Terry Tempest Williams. The Innovator’s Award for cutting-edge publishing was given to the Library of America. Kiese Laymon’s Heavy: An American Memoir won the Christopher Isherwood Prize for Autobiographical Prose.

Here is the complete list of finalists:


David W. Blight, Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom
Seymour M. Hersh, Reporter: A Memoir
Victoria Johnson, American Eden: David Hosack, Botany, and Medicine in the Garden of the Early Republic
Bob Spitz, Reagan: An American Journey
Tara Westover, Educated: A Memoir

Current Interest

Francisco Cantú, The Line Becomes a River: Dispatches From the Border
John Carreyrou, Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup
Michael Lewis, The Fifth Risk
Michelle Obama, Becoming
Susan Orlean, The Library Book


Esi Edugyan, Washington Black
Abby Geni, The Wildlands
Tayari Jones, An American Marriage
Rebecca Makkai, The Great Believers
Michael Ondaatje, Warlight

First Fiction

Katya Apekina, The Deeper the Water the Uglier the Fish
Lisa Halliday, Asymmetry
R.O. Kwon, The Incendiaries
Tommy Orange, There There
Nafissa Thompson-Spires, Heads of the Colored People: Stories

Graphic Novel/Comics

Michelle Perez and Remy Boydell, The Pervert
Eleanor Davis, Why Art?
Aisha Franz, ... Is Real
Jérôme Ruillier, The Strange
Tillie Walden, On a Sunbeam


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


Megan Abbott, Give Me Your Hand
Kent Anderson, Green Sun
Lou Berney, November Road
Oyinkan Braithwaite, My Sister, the Serial Killer
Leila Slimani, The Perfect Nanny


Jos Charles, feeld
Terrance Hayes, American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin
Diana Khoi Nguyen, Ghost Of
Carl Phillips, Wild Is the Wind
Diane Seuss, Still Life With Two Dead Peacocks and a Girl

Science & Technology

Mona Hanna-Attisha, What the Eyes Don't See: A Story of Crisis, Resistance, and Hope in an American City
Marcia Bjornerud, Timefulness: How Thinking Like a Geologist Can Help Save the World
Rose George, Nine Pints: A Journey Through the Money, Medicine, and Mysteries of Blood
Eliza Griswold, Amity and Prosperity: One Family and the Fracturing of America
Beth Macy, Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company that Addicted America

Young Adult Literature

Elizabeth Acevedo, The Poet X
Kelly Loy Gilbert, Picture Us in the Light
Claire Hartfield, A Few Red Drops: The Chicago Race Riot of 1919
Jarret Krosoczka, Hey, Kiddo!
Emily X.R. Pan, Astonishing Color of After


Photo Credit: LA Times

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