LOS ANGELES, March 10, 2003 -- The Los Angeles Times announced the finalists for the 23rd annual Los Angeles Times Book Prizes, which will be presented April 26 at UCLA's Royce Hall in Los Angeles.
The 45 Book Prize finalists were announced during a March 7 evening reception at the National Arts Club in New York. The event was hosted by Los Angeles Times Features Editor Rick Flaste; Kenneth Turan, director of the Book Prizes and Times film critic; and Times Book Editor Steve Wasserman.

The 2002 Los Angeles Times Book Prizes will honor outstanding literary achievement in nine categories: biography, current interest, fiction, first fiction, history, mystery/thriller, poetry, science and technology, and young adult fiction.

In addition to these nine categories awards, the annual Robert Kirsch Award also will be presented April 26. The award will recognize the body of work of an author who resides in and/or whose work focuses on the Western United States. It is named after Robert Kirsch, who served as The Times' book critic for more than 25 years prior to his death in 1980. There are no finalists for this category.

The Los Angeles Times Book Prizes were established in 1980. Each Book Prize includes a $1,000 cash award.

Presenting the nine category awards at the ceremony will be Gayle E. Anderson, A. Scott Berg, T. Jefferson Parker, George Plimpton, John Rechy, Dava Sobel, Ronald Steel, Susan Straight and Quincy Troupe. The Robert Kirsch Award will be presented by author Jonathan Kirsch, son of the late book critic.

Information about the awards ceremony and the Book Prize awards program is available at http://www.latimes.com/bookprizes or by calling 1-800-LATIMES, ext. 72366.

The Book Prize awards ceremony will be the highlight of the eighth annual Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, one of the nation's premier public literary festivals and the largest of its kind on the West Coast. The festival will be held April 26-27 on the UCLA campus.

Book Prize Finalists


• Gioconda Belli, "The Country under My Skin: A Memoir of Love and War" (Alfred A. Knopf)

• Robert A. Caro, "Master of the Senate: The Years

of Lyndon Johnson, Vol. 3" (Alfred A. Knopf)

Daniel Ellsberg, "Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam

and the Pentagon Papers" (Viking)

• T.J. Stiles, " Jesse James: Last Rebel of the

Civil War" (Alfred A. Knopf)

• Claire Tomalin, " Samuel Pepys: The Unequalled

Self" (Alfred A. Knopf)