LOS ANGELES — Today, the Los Angeles Times announced this year’s Book Prizes honorees and finalists in 10 categories. Novelist James Patterson will be honored with the Innovator’s Award and United States Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera will receive the 2015 Robert Kirsch Award for lifetime achievement. The awards will be presented April 9th, during the 21st Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, at the University of Southern California’s Bovard Auditorium.
James Patterson will receive the 2015 Innovator’s Award, which spotlights cutting-edge business models, technology or applications of narrative art. Kenneth Turan, Times Film Critic and Director of the Book Prizes, notes that Patterson “has left a singular mark on the literary community through his writing for adults and young people, as well as through his efforts to make books and reading a national priority. His support of libraries, independent bookstores, booksellers, teachers and students is unsurpassed with millions of dollars in grants and scholarships going toward encouraging Americans to read and supporting those who foster reading.”
Patterson, the current Guinness World Record holder for most #1 New York Times Best Sellers, has donated more than one million books to students nationwide, and established more than 400 James Patterson Teacher Education Scholarships at 24 colleges and universities across the U.S. Patterson was awarded the National Book Foundation’s 2015 Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community and he has been honored with an Edgar Award, the International Thriller Writers’ ThrillerMaster Award, and Author of the Year at the Children’s Choice Book Awards.
Juan Felipe Herrera will receive this year’s Robert Kirsch Award for lifetime achievement. “We are delighted to honor Juan Felipe Herrera’s remarkable 45-year career as a writer, teacher and activist,” said Turan. “His literary contributions include poetry, prose, young adult novels and children’s literature, and his work in all artistic forms highlights a life dedicated to giving voice to those who are not always heard.”
Named California Poet Laureate in 2012 and the U.S. Poet Laureate in 2015, Herrera studied at the University of California, Los Angeles and Stanford University and has an MFA from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. His other honors include fellowships from UC Berkeley, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and the Stanford Chicano Fellows as well as two Latino Hall of Fame Poetry Awards and a PEN Center USA Poetry Award. He has taught at California State University, Fresno, and at UC Riverside.
The Book Prizes recognize 50 remarkable works in 10 different categories: biography, current interest, fiction, first fiction (the Art Seidenbaum Award), graphic novel/comics, history, mystery/thriller, poetry, science and technology, and young adult literature. Judging panels of writers who specialize in each genre select finalists and winners. The complete list of this year’s finalists and further information, including past winners, is available at latimes.com/bookprizes.