Crowds make their way down Trousdale Parkway during the Festival of Books at USC. (USC Photo/Gus Ruelas)


Los Angeles Times Book Prize winners named as USC anticipates annual literary fest in October

In its 25th year, the annual L.A. Times Festival of Books is scheduled to return to USC this fall.

April 17, 2020 Alicia Di Rado

As the nation embraces binge-reading during the pandemic, the Los Angeles Times Book Prizes were awarded today to a dozen authors.

The book prizes usually recognize writers in a ceremony held in conjunction with the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, which is held on USC’s University Park Campus each April. But public health efforts to reduce the spread of the coronavirus forced postponement of this year’s two-day literary and cultural event.

Bibliophiles can already mark their calendars for the festivities: The 25th annual Los Angeles Times Festival of Books is scheduled to return to USC on Oct. 3 and 4.

Book Prize winners include both rising authors and wily veterans

In the meantime, readers can explore works recognized by the 40th annual Los Angeles Times Book Prizes. Announced on the L.A. Times Books Twitter feed, this year’s awards honored established authors and up-and-coming voices. These works and writers were honored:

  • Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction: Namwali Serpell, The Old Drift: A Novel
  • Biography: George Packer, Our Man: Richard Holbrooke and the End of the American Century
  • Christopher Isherwood Prize for Autobiographical Prose: Emily Bernard, Black Is the Body: Stories from My Grandmother’s Time, My Mother’s Time, and Mine
  • Current interest: Emily Bazelon, Charged: The New Movement to Transform American Prosecution and End Mass Incarceration
  • Fiction: Ben Lerner, The Topeka School: A Novel
  • Graphic novel/comics: Eleanor Davis, The Hard Tomorrow
  • History: Stephanie E. Jones-Rogers, They Were Her Property: White Women as Slave Owners in the American South
  • Mystery/thriller: Steph Cha, Your House Will Pay: A Novel
  • Poetry: Ilya Kaminsky, Deaf Republic: Poems
  • Ray Bradbury Prize for Science Fiction, Fantasy & Speculative Fiction: Marlon James, Black Leopard, Red Wolf (The Dark Star Trilogy Book 1)
  • Science and technology: Maria Popova, Figuring
  • Young adult literature: Malla Nunn, When the Ground is Hard

For more, visit the L.A. Times Book Prizes website. Information about programming at the upcoming L.A. Times Festival of Books will be added in the coming months.