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LOS ANGELES TIMES BOOK PRIZES PREVIOUS HONOREES

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2016: Los Angeles Times Book Prizes Winners & Finalists

Innovator’s Award Winner

Ruebén Martinez

Ruebén Martinez, the founder of Libreria Martinez, is the 2016 Innovator’s Award winner in honor of his work promoting books and reading within the Latino-American and Spanish-speaking communities. Martínez’s passion for reading inspired him to open a bookstore in his Santa Ana barbershop in the early 1990s. It quickly became a cornerstone of the community, evolved into a nationally-renowned center of Chicano/Latino literature and art, and lives on today through the Centro Comunitario de Educación – Chapman University’s learning center which houses Martínez’s book collection. Currently a Presidential Fellow of Chapman University, Martínez acts as an ambassador to encourage Latinos to pursue higher education and lifelong learning. A recipient of the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship in 2004, Martinez continues his bookselling work through his partnership with Hudson Newsstands and bookstores in airports across the country selecting books and working with associates to reach readers nationwide.

Robert Kirsch Award Winner

Thomas McGuane

Novelist Thomas McGuane is the 2016 Robert Kirsch Award winner which recognizes the body of work of a writer of the American West. McGuane’s 10 novels range from 92 In the Shade (A National Book Award finalist) to 2010’s Driving on the Rim. In addition to his three short story collections of which “Crow Fair” is his most recent, McGuane has written several screenplays including 1976’s Missouri Breaks which was made into a film starring Marlon Brando and Jack Nicholson. Like much of his fiction, his essay collections are devoted to his life in the outdoors. He is a regular contributor to the New Yorker and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters as well as both The National Cutting Horse Association Hall of Fame and the Fly Fishing Hall of Fame.


Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction

Winner
Nathan Hill / The Nix, Alfred A. Knopf

Runners Up

Sara Baume, Spill Simmer Falter Wither, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Mark Beauregard, The Whale: A Love Story, Viking

Idra Novey, Ways to Disappear, Little, Brown and Company

Rebecca Schiff, The Bed Moved, Alfred A. Knopf


Biography

Winner
Volker Ullrich / Hitler: Ascent, 1889-1939, Alfred A. Knopf

Runners Up

Claire Harman, Charlotte Brontë: A Fiery Heart, Alfred A. Knopf

Ross King, Mad Enchantment: Claude Monet and the Painting of the Water Lilies, Bloomsbury USA

James McBride, Kill ‘Em and Leave: Searching for the Real James Brown, Spiegel & Grau

Frances Wilson, Guilty Thing: A Life of Thomas De Quincey, Farrar, Straus and Giroux


The Christopher Isherwood Prize for Autobiographical Prose

Winner
Wesley Lowery / They Can’t Kill Us All: Ferguson, Baltimore, and a New Era in America’s Racial Justice Movement, Little, Brown and Company

Runners Up

Tash Aw, The Face: Strangers on a Pier, Restless Books

Hisham Matar, The Return: Fathers, Sons and the Land in Between, Random House

Scholastique Mukasonga (Author), Jordan Stump (Translator), Cockroaches, Archipelago Books

Jacqueline Woodson, Another Brooklyn: A Novel, Amistad/HarperCollins


Current Interest

Winner
Svetlana Alexievich (Author), Bela Shayevich (Translator) / Secondhand Time: The Last of the Soviets, Random House

Runners Up

Matthew Desmond, Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City, Crown

Jane Mayer, Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right, Doubleday

Ben Rawlence, City of Thorns: Nine Lives in the World’s Largest Refugee Camp, Picador

Robert F. Worth, A Rage for Order: The Middle East in Turmoil, from Tahrir Square to ISIS, Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Fiction

Winner
Adam Haslett / Imagine Me Gone, Little, Brown and Company

Runners Up

Garth Greenwell, What Belongs to You, Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Lydia Millet, Sweet Lamb of Heaven, W. W. Norton and Company

Zadie Smith, Swing Time, Penguin Press

Dana Spiotta, Innocents and Others, Scribner


Graphic Novel/Comics

Winner
Nick Drnaso / Beverly, Drawn & Quarterly


History

Winner
Benjamin Madley / An American Genocide: The United States and the California Indian Catastrophe, 1846-1873, Yale University Press

Runners Up

Masha Gessen, Where the Jews Aren’t: The Sad and Absurd Story of Birobidzhan, Russia’s Jewish Autonomous Region, Schocken Books

Adam Hochschild, Spain in Our Hearts: Americans in the Spanish Civil War, 1936–1939, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Nancy Isenberg, White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America, Viking

Heather Ann Thompson, Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy, Pantheon


Mystery / Thriller

Winner
Bill Beverly / Dodgers, Crown


Poetry

Winner
Rosmarie Waldrop / Gap Gardening: Selected Poems, New Directions

Runners Up

Ishion Hutchinson, House of Lords and Commons: Poems, Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Phillis Levin, Mr. Memory & Other Poems, Penguin Books

Jane Mead, World of Made and Unmade, Alice James Books

Robyn Schiff, A Woman of Property, Penguin Books


Science & Technology

Winner
Luke Dittrich / Patient H.M.: A Story of Memory, Madness, and Family Secrets, Random House

Runners Up

Mary Roach, Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War, W. W. Norton and Company

Sonia Shah, Pandemic: Tracking Contagions, from Cholera to Ebola and Beyond, Sarah Crichton Books/Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Bruce Watson, Light: A Radiant History from Creation to the Quantum Age, Bloomsbury USA

Ed Yong, I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life, Ecco


Young Adult Literature

Winner
Frances Hardinge / The Lie Tree, Harry N. Abrams

Runners Up

Socorro Acioli/ Daniel Hahn (Translator), The Head of the Saint, Delacorte

Julie Berry, The Passion of Dolssa, Viking Books for Young Readers

John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, Nate Powell, March: Book Three, Top Shelf Productions

Meg Medina, Burn, Baby, Burn, Candlewick

2015: Los Angeles Times Book Prizes Winners & Finalists

Innovator’s Award Winner

James Patterson | Read more

James 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. A feature film based on his bestselling Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life series is set for release this fall.

Robert Kirsch Award Winner

Juan Felipe Herrera | Read more

Juan Felipe Herrera’s 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.


Biography

Winner
Hayden Herrera / Listening to Stone: The Art and Life of Isamu Noguchi (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)


Current Interest

Winner
Sarah Chayes / Thieves of State: Why Corruption Threatens Global Security (W. W. Norton and Company)

Runners Up

Joe Domanick, Blue: The LAPD and the Battle to Redeem American Policing, Simon & Schuster

Sam Quinones, Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic, Bloomsbury Press

Sandy Tolan, Children of the Stone: The Power of Music in a Hard Land, Bloomsbury USA

Stephen Witt, How Music Got Free: The End of an Industry, the Turn of the Century, and the Patient Zero of Piracy, Viking


Fiction

Winner
Valeria Luiselli, Translated by Christina MacSweeney / The Story of My Teeth (Coffee House Press)

Runners Up

Anne Enright, The Green Road, W. W. Norton and Company

James Hannaham, Delicious Foods, Little, Brown and Company

Adam Johnson, Fortune Smiles, Random House

Helen Phillips, Beautiful Bureaucrat, Henry Holt and Co.


Graphic Novel/Comics

Winner
Riad Sattouf / Arab of the Future: A Childhood in the Middle East, 1978-1984: A Graphic Memoir (Metropolitan Books)

Runners Up

Sam Alden, New Construction: Two More Stories, Uncivlized Books

Julian Hanshaw, Tim Ginger, Top Shelf Productions, an imprint of IDW Publishing

Maggie Thrash, Honor Girl: A Graphic Memoir, Candlewick

Carol Tyler, Soldier’s Heart: The Campaign to Understand My WWII Veteran Father: A Daughter’s Memoir (You’ll Never Know), Fantagraphics


History

Winner
Dan Ephron / Killing a King: The Assassination of Yitzhak Rabin and the Remaking of Israel (W. W. Norton and Company)

Runners Up

Mary Beard, SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome, Liveright/W. W. Norton and Compan

Jonathan M. Bryant, Dark Places of the Earth: The Voyage of the Slave Ship Antelope, Liveright/W. W. Norton and Company

David Maraniss, Once in a Great City: A Detroit Story , Simon & Schuster

Mark Molesky, This Gulf of Fire: The Destruction of Lisbon, or Apocalypse in the Age of Science and Reason, Alfred A. Knopf


Mystery / Thriller

Winner
Don Winslow / The Cartel (Alfred A. Knopf)


Poetry

Winner
Jorie Graham / From the New World: Poems 1976-2014 (Ecco/HarperCollins)


Science & Technology

Winner
Andrea Wulf / The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt’s New World (Alfred A. Knopf)


The Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction

Winner
Chigozie Obioma / The Fishermen (Little, Brown and Company)


Young Adult Literature

Winner
Marilyn Nelson / My Seneca Village (namelos)

2014: Los Angeles Times Book Prizes Winners & Finalists

Innovator’s Award Winner

LeVar Burton Read more | Watch Video

Robert Kirsch Award Winner

TC Boyle Read more | Watch Video


Biography

Winner
Andrew Roberts / Napoleon: A Life (Viking)


Current Interest

Winner
Jeff Hobbs / “The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace: A Brilliant Young Man Who Left Newark for the Ivy League” (Scribner)

Runners Up

Atul Gawande, Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End, Metropolitan Books

Bryan Stevenson, Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption, Spiegel & Grau

Matt Taibbi, The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap, Spiegel & Grau

Héctor Tobar, Deep Down Dark: The Untold Stories of 33 Men Buried in a Chilean Mine, and the Miracle That Set Them Free, Farrar, Straus and Giroux


Fiction

Winner
Siri Hustvedt / The Blazing World (Simon & Schuster)

Runners Up

Donald Antrim, The Emerald Light in the Air: Stories, Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Jesse Ball, Silence Once Begun, Pantheon

Jenny Offill, Dept. of Speculation, Knopf

Helen Oyeyemi, Boy, Snow, Bird, Riverhead


Graphic Novel/Comics

Winner
Jaime Hernandez / The Love Bunglers (Fantagraphics Books)

Runners Up

Roz Chast, Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? A Memoir, Bloomsbury

Mana Neyestani, An Iranian Metamorphosis, Uncivilized Books

Olivier Schrauwen, Arséne Schrauwen, Fantagraphics

Mariko Tamaki, This One Summer, First Second

Jillian Tamaki, This One Summer, First Second


History

Winner
Adam Tooze / The Deluge: The Great War, America and the Remaking of the Global Order, 1916-1931 (Viking)

Runners Up

Judith Flanders, The Victorian City: Everyday Life in Dickens’ London, Thomas Dunne Books

Mark Harris, Five Came Back: A Story of Hollywood and the Second World War, The Penguin Press

Walter Isaacson, The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution, Simon & Schuster

Lawrence Wright, Thirteen Days in September: Carter, Begin, and Sadat at Camp David, Knopf


Mystery / Thriller

Winner
Tom Bouman / Dry Bones in the Valley (W. W. Norton & Company)


Poetry

Winner
Claudia Rankine / Citizen: An American Lyric (Graywolf Press)

Runners Up

Gillian Conoley, Peace, Omnidawn

Katie Ford, Blood Lyrics: Poem, Graywolf Press

Peter Gizzi, In Defense of Nothing: Selected Poems, 1987-2011, Wesleyan University Press

Fred Moten, The Feel Trio, Letter Machine Editions


Science & Technology

Winner
Elizabeth Kolbert / The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History (Henry Holt & Co.)

Runners Up

Michael Benson, Cosmigraphics: Picturing Space Through Time, Abrams

Martin J. Blaser, MD, Missing Microbes, How the overuse of antibiotics is fueling our modern plagues, Henry Holt and Co.

Naomi Klein, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate, Simon & Schuster

Christian Rudder, Dataclysm: Who We Are (When We Think No One’s Looking), Crown Publishers


The Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction

Winner
Valeria Luiselli (translated by Christina MacSweeney) / Faces in the Crowd (Coffee House Press)

Runners Up

Diane Cook, Man V. Nature: Stories, HarperCollins

John Darnielle, Wolf in White Van, Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Eimear McBride, A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing, Coffee House Press

David James Poissant, The Heaven of Animals: Stories, Simon & Schuster


Young Adult Literature

Winner
Candace Fleming / The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion, and the Fall of Imperial Russia (Schwartz & Wade/Random House Children’s)

2013: Los Angeles Times Book Prizes Winners & Finalists

Innovator’s Award Winner

John Green Read more | Watch video ›

The recipient of the 2013 Innovator’s Award, which spotlights cutting-edge business models, technology or applications of narrative art, is young adult writer and activist John Green. Green’s best-selling novels have garnered numerous awards and he has been at the forefront of experimenting with social media and technology, expanding how people in and out of the literary world use these mediums to inspire and teach others.

Robert Kirsch Award Winner

Susan Straight Read more | Watch video ›

The recipient of the 2013 Robert Kirsch Award is Riverside native Susan Straight. Straight is a Southern California original, and a tireless supporter, and creator, of our literary culture. Her award-winning novels and short stories have opened up not just California literature but American literature to the Inland Empire, and to the often-neglected voices of the people there. Through her work as a teacher, she has inspired and mentored a new generation of California writers.

Biography

Winner
Marie Arana / Bolivar: American Liberator, (Simon & Schuster)

Runners Up

A. Scott Berg, Wilson, G.P. Putnam’s Sons

Benita Eisler, The Red Man’s Bones: George Catlin, Artist and Showman, W. W. Norton and Company

Edna O’Brien, Country Girl: A Memoir, Little, Brown & Company

Deborah Solomon, American Mirror: The Life and Art of Norman Rockwell, Farrar, Straus and Giroux


Current Interest

Winner
Sheri Fink / Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital, (Crown)

Runners Up

David Finkel, Thank You for Your Service, Sarah Crichton Books/Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Charlie LeDuff, Detroit: An American Autopsy, The Penguin Press

Barry Siegel, Manifest Injustice: The True Story of a Convicted Murderer and the Lawyers Who Fought for His Freedom, Henry Holt and Company

Lawrence Wright, Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief, Knopf


Fiction

Winner
Ruth Ozeki / A Tale for the Time Being, (Viking)

Runners Up

Percival Everett, Percival Everett by Virgil Russell, Graywolf Press

Claire Messud, The Woman Upstairs, Knopf

Susan Steinberg, Spectacle: Stories, Graywolf Press

Daniel Woodrell, The Maid’s Version: A Novel, Little, Brown & Company


Graphic Novel/Comics

Winner
Ulli Lust / Today is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life, (Fantagraphics Books)

Runners Up

David B., Incidents in the Night: Volume 1, Uncivilized Books

Ben Katchor, Hand-Drying in America: And Other Stories, Pantheon

Anders Nilsen, The End, Fantagraphics

Joe Sacco, The Great War: July 1, 1916: The First Day of the Battle of the Somme, W. W. Norton and Company


History

Winner
Christopher Clark / The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914, (HarperCollins)

Runners Up

Richard Breitman & Allan J. Lichtman, FDR and the Jews, Belknap Press of Harvard University

Glenn Frankel, The Searchers: The Making of an American Legend, Bloomsbury USA

Doris Kearns Goodwin, The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism, Simon & Schuster

Alan Taylor, The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772-1832, W. W. Norton and Company


Mystery / Thriller

Winner
J. K. Rowling Writing As Robert Galbraith / The Cuckoo’s Calling, (Mulholland Books/Little, Brown & Company)

Runners Up

Richard Crompton, Hour of the Red God, Sarah Crichton Books/Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Robert Galbraith, The Cuckoo’s Calling, Mulholland Books/Little, Brown & Company

John Grisham, Sycamore Row, Doubleday Books

Gene Kerrigan, The Rage, Europa Editions

Ferdinand von Schirach, The Collini Case, Viking


Poetry

Winner
Ron Padgett / Collected Poems, (Coffee House Press)

Runners Up

Joshua Beckman, The Inside of an Apple, Wave Books

Mei-Mei Berssenbrugge, Hello, the Roses, New Directions

Elizabeth Robinson, On Ghosts, Solid Objects

Lynn Xu, Debts & Lessons, Omnidawn


Science & Technology

Winner
Alan Weisman / Countdown: Our Last, Best Hope for a Future on Earth?, (Little, Brown & Company)

Runners Up

Matthew D. Lieberman, Social: Why Our Brains are Wired to Connect, Crown

Sally Satel / Scott O. Lilienfeld, Brainwashed: The Seductive Appeal of Mindless Neuroscience, Basic Books

Virginia Morell, Animal Wise: The Thoughts and Emotions of Our Fellow Creatures, Crown

Annalee Newitz, Scatter, Adapt, and Remember: How Humans Will Survive a Mass Extinction, Doubleday Books


The Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction

Winner
Maggie Shipstead / Seating Arrangements, (Knopf)

Runners Up

David Abrams / Fobbit, (Black Cat/Grove/Atlantic, Inc.)

Kevin P. Keating / The Natural Order of Things, (Aqueous Books)

Lydia Netzer / Shine Shine Shine* After the 2012 Book Prize finalists were announced, we became aware that SHINE SHINE SHINE did not meet our criteria for the Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction. However, the judges, who judge both fiction categories, agreed that this title merited finalist status and so it was moved to the Fiction category. Click to go to our fiction category. (St. Martin’s Press)

Robin Sloan / Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Book Store: A Novel, (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)


Young Adult Literature

Winner
Gene Luen Yang / Boxers & Saints, (First Second/Macmillan)

Runners Up

Elizabeth Knox, Mortal Fire, Farrar, Straus and Giroux Books for Young Readers

Rainbow Rowell, Fangirl, St. Martin’s Griffin

Joyce Sidman, What the Heart Knows: Chants, Charms & Blessings, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers

Jonathan Stroud, Lockwood & Co: The Screaming Staircase, Disney-Hyperion

2012: Los Angeles Times Book Prizes Winners & Finalists

Innovator’s Award Winner

Margaret Atwood Read more | Watch video ›

Robert Kirsch Award Winner

Kevin Starr Read more | Watch video ›


Biography

Winner
Robert A. Caro / The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson (Knopf)


Current Interest

Winner
Katherine Boo / Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity (Random House)


Fiction

Winner
Ben Fountain / Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (HarperCollins Publishers / Ecco)


Graphic Novel/Comics

Winner
Sammy Harkham / Everything Together: Collected Stories (PictureBox)


History

Winner
Fergus M. Bordewich / America’s Great Debate: Henry Clay, Stephen A. Douglas, and the Compromise That Preserved the Union (Simon & Schuster)


Mystery / Thriller

Winner
Tana French / Broken Harbor (Viking)


Poetry

Winner
Louise Glück / Poems 1962-2012 (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Runners Up

Rowan Ricardo Phillips / The Ground: Poems (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

D. A. Powell / Useless Landscape, or A Guide for Boys: Poems (Graywolf Press)

Bin Ramke / Aerial (Omnidawn)

Cole Swensen / Gravesend (New California Poetry) (University of California Press)


Science & Technology

Winner
Florence Williams / Breasts: A Natural and Unnatural History (W.W. Norton & Company)


The Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction

Winner
Maggie Shipstead / Seating Arrangements (Knopf)


Young Adult Literature

Winner
A.S. King / Ask the Passengers (Little, Brown Books For Young Readers)

2011: Los Angeles Times Book Prizes Winners & Finalists

Innovator’s Award Winner

Figment Read more

Robert Kirsch Award Winner

Rudolfo Anaya Read more


Biography

Winner
John A. Farrell / Clarence Darrow: Attorney for the Damned (Doubleday)


Current Interest

Winner
Daniel Kahneman / Thinking Fast and Slow (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)


Fiction

Winner
Alex Shakar / Luminarium (SoHo Press)


Graphic Novel

Winner
Carla Speed McNeil / Finder: Voice (Dark Horse)


History

Winner
Richard White / Railroaded: The Transcontinentals and the Making of Modern America (W.W. Norton & Company)


Mystery / Thriller

Winner
Stephen King / 11/22/1963 (Scribner)


Poetry

Winner
Carl Phillips / Double Shadow: Poems (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)


Science & Technology

Winner
Sylvia Nasar / Grand Pursuit: The Story of Economic Genius (Simon & Schuster)


The Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction

Winner
Ismet Prcic / Shards (Grove Press, Black Cat)


Young Adult Literature

Winner
Pete Hautman / The Big Crunch (Scholastic Press)

2010: Los Angeles Times Book Prizes Winners & Finalists

Innovator’s Award Winner

Powell’s Books, Portland, Oregon Read more

Robert Kirsch Award Winner

Beverly Cleary Read more, (HarperCollins Children’s Books)


Biography

Winner
Laura Hillenbrand / Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience & Redemption (Penguin/Random House)


Current Interest

Winner
Michael Lewis / The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine (W. W. Norton & Company)


Fiction

Winner
Jennifer Egan / A Visit From the Goon Squad (Knopf)


Graphic Novel

Winner
Adam Hines / Duncan the Wonder Dog: Show One (Adhouse Books)


History

Winner
Thomas Powers / The Killing of Crazy Horse (Knopf)


Mystery / Thriller

Winner
Tom Franklin / Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter (William Morrow)


Poetry

Winner
Maxine Kumin / Where I Live: New & Selected Poems 1990-2010 (W. W. Norton & Company)


Science & Technology

Winner
Oren Harman / The Price of Altruism: George Price and the Search for the Origins of Kindness (W. W. Norton & Company)


The Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction

Winner
Peter Bognanni / The House of Tomorrow (Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam)


Young Adult Literature

Winner
Megan Whalen Turner / A Conspiracy of Kings (Greenwillow/HarperCollins)

2009: Los Angeles Times Book Prizes Winners & Finalists

Innovator’s Award Winner

Dave Eggers Read more

The Innovator’s Award recognizes the people and institutions that are doing cutting edge work to bring books, publishing and storytelling into the future, whether in terms of new business models, new technologies or new applications of narrative art.

Dave Eggers has always been an innovator. From his early days at Might Magazine – where he and his partners poked smart fun at the excesses of 1990s culture – to his ongoing work with McSweeney’s, the publishing house he runs in San Francisco, he has shown a refreshing disregard for conventional wisdom, whether it has to do with what he publishes, how he publishes or that he is a publisher at all. To be sure, publishing was not something he needed to do; his first book, the memoir “A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius” became a bestseller upon its release in 2000 and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

Were Eggers another kind of writer, this might have been enough for him, but writing is just one of the things he does. In 1998, he founded the literary journal McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern; the success of “A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius” allowed him to turn McSweeney’s into a full-fledged independent press, publishing writers from Stephen Dixon and Robert Coover to Lawrence Weschler, Art Spiegelman and William T. Vollmann. Eggers has not only built an editorial model to support these efforts, but a business model as well. What’s more, in an era when too many in the media seem to want to give up on print altogether, McSweeney’s books, along with their magazines and other publications, are beautiful: elaborately designed, a pleasure to hold and look at, a three-dimensional reading experience in the best sense of the word.

Equally important is Eggers’ involvement in 826 National, which he co-founded in 2002. These eight urban non-profit centers – including two in Los Angeles – are dedicated to fostering literacy in kids 6-18, and work with students on everything from homework to college essays, while encouraging them to produce books and anthologies. More to the point, they offer a place to gather, helping to create communities in which literature is not just important but fun.

Through it all, Dave Eggers continues to function as an inspirational role model, producing his own books – his latest, “Zeitoun,” is a finalist for this year’s Current Interest Book Prize – and other projects, including the screenplay for last year’s film adaptation of “Where the Wild Things Are.”

He is exactly the kind of person the Innovator’s Award is intended to honor: a forward thinker who is not afraid of print, but also not afraid to look ahead to the future, and who is drawing a new generation of writers and readers to the written word.

Robert Kirsch Award Winner

Evan S. Connell Read more


2011: the year chillwave became a real thing. The debate over whether chillwave is a real genre has been pretty heated since Hipster Runoff first (supposedly) coined the term. I think it’s safe to assume however that the genre has finally gained some legitimacy, with its pioneers proving they were more than buzz-bands and releasing sophomore records, while still embracing the term. So now that you are witnessing the birth of a new genre, now would be the perfect time to get familiar with the artists that make it up. So don’t be left in the dark, chill out, and check out these ten chillwave releases that could be seen as classics in the future.

Panda Bear Person Pitch

First off, you should know two things about this album. One, many people hold this particular record to be the beginning of chillwave. Two, the debate over this album’s chillwave legitimacy is still going. Although the decision is not clear yet, this record really does appear to be the precursor to the whole scene. Person Pitch contains the elements that make chillwave lovable, such as the chopped up synths and the chilled yet urgent vocals. This particular album may be a bit hard to get into at first (two of the album’s tracks clock in at almost 13 minutes), but it is a good starting point for the genre, as well as one hell of a record.

Person Pitch is now available on Paw Tracks.

Memory Tapes Seek Magic

Memory Tapes’ Seek Magic was the beginning of a new genre, whether the New Jersey artist knew it or not. It’s not like this was the first record to mix fuzzy lo-fi with synthpop, but this was one of the first to be branded chillwave. There’s a reason for this; chillwave isn’t so much a genre as it is a feeling, and this was the first album to truly convey it. Like a morning after, Seek Magic is the feeling of recalling something you had long forgotten. This feeling created by Memory Tapes has been imitated countless times, and has been recaptured by few.

Seek Magic is now available on Something Under Construction.

Washed Out Life of Leisure

If you’re looking to start with a light entry into the genre, then Life of Leisure is pretty much the perfect starting point. Ernest Greene’s second release as Washed Out proved to be the one that put him on the map. Clocking in at less than 20 minutes, and containing tracks that are all short and to the point, Life of Leisure is perfect for those who want to test the waters of the genre. Chopped up and chilled out, this particular EP represents the genre pretty simply and pretty well.

Life of Leisure is now available on Kemado Records.

Neon Indian Psychic Chasms

The first chillwave album to truly be accepted by fans and critics alike that actually fell under the genre’s guidelines, Psychic Chasms was a huge step towards the legitimization of the genre. The album has everything that makes chillwave, chillwave. However it has something else, something that made this more than just a buzz project. Neon Indian has charisma and ambition, and at no point does Psychic Chasms not sound like a full-fledged project. Alan Palomo sounds thoroughly confident in himself throughout the whole album as he comes off as more than just a stoner, but rather a real person with real feelings.

Psychic Chasms is now available on Static Tongues.

Golden Ages Sitting Softly In the Sea

Out of this list of records, Sitting Softly in the Sea is definitely the most “out there.” Using all sorts of instrumentation to create a relaxed atmosphere, Golden Ages can even come off as the Flying Lotus of chillwave. Don’t be fooled though; the chilled out sentiment is still there. Sitting Softly in the Sea mixes loud climaxes with calmer samples (the chimes in “Black Swan”). Overall it may not be as accessible as other chillwave records, but it is still worth giving a shot.

Toro y Moi Causers of This

There was a period of time when Chaz Bundick (a.k.a. Toro y Moi) sounded like a simple dude making music out of his bedroom. Causers of This was given to us from this period. More sample-driven than his later work, and closer to Panda Bear’s Person Pitch than anything from the ’80s. This albumwas the birth of one of the stars of the genre. While much of the album was composed of bleak, melancholic tracks, Toro y Moi’s future affinity with the ’80s is somewhat noticeable as well. Tracks like “Imprint After” may be more reminiscent of ’80s funk than synthpop, but it was an influence nonetheless.

Causers of This is now available on Carpark Records.

MemoryhouseThe Years

This particular release differs greatly from others in the genre. Unlike their more energetic counterparts, Memoryhouse is more contained, mellower, and more serene. The higher quality of production as well the gentleness of Denise Nouvion’s voice make this EP very easy on the ears. It doesn’t hurt either that the EP clocks in at barely over 12 minutes, making it easier to digest, as well as preventing it from becoming redundant.

The Years is now available on Arcade Sound.

Teen Daze – Four More Years

Teen Daze perfectly represents the instrumental side of chillwave. Instead of simply coming off as ’80s synthpop, they mix the ’80s with modern IDM (Intelligent Dance Music) to create a sound of mellow instrumental pop songs. Releases like these are hard to describe and can only be interpreted through listening, but let it be known that this is an EP perfect for those lonely fall days. Teen Daze stands far away from projects like Neon Indian and Toro Y Moi, but they follow a similar aesthetic, making Four More Years an essential release in the genre.

Four More Years is now available on Arcade Sound.

Brothertiger Vision Tunnels

Brothertiger seems to be the complete package when it comes to chillwave. At times John Jagos (the man behind the moniker) will sound like Neon Indian. Don’t be fooled however; this isn’t some cheap rip-off. When he’s not inspired by other artists in his niche of music, he is putting his own unique twist on the genre. Mixing the IDM-influenced stylings of Teen Daze and adding his own charisma by adding vocals to it all.  Vision Tunnels is a short and comprehensive entry into the genre, which blends two styles to come out with something refreshing.

Gold Panda Lucky Shiner

If you enjoy the IDM influences of Teen Daze, or are simply a fan of IDM, then Gold Panda is for you. Leaning more to the electronic side than chillwave, Lucky Shiner is a wonderful addition to any music fan’s collection. Filled with moments of ambience and bounciness at the same time, Gold Panda may come off as somewhat eclectic, but it all works in his favor. Since this record, he has strayed further from chillwave, but the influences are clear here.

Lucky Shiner is now available on Ghostly International.

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Sebastian Fonseca

I’m an 18 year old Senior at Coral Gables High School in Miami, Florida. My five main loves in life are music, history, Pokemon, literature, and cats. I’m somewhat of a music nerd, so I tend to listen to any genre of music, but I am very particular as to which bands/artist I listen to from said genre. I’m also terrible at video games and sports, which I think makes me lame by default. Also, if it’s worth mentioning, I am fluent in Spanish, so don’t hesitate to let me do your Spanish homework.

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