LOS ANGELES, April 23, 2005 – The Los Angeles Times presented its annual Robert Kirsch Award for lifetime achievement and honored nine Book Prize winners during its 25th annual Book Prizes ceremony, April 22 at UCLA's Royce Hall.

Best-selling mystery writer Tony Hillerman, whose writings over the past 35 years are infused with the landscape and culture of the American Southwest, was presented with the Robert Kirsch Award for lifetime achievement.

The citation noted Hillerman's appeal to an "international readership that has remained attentive and appreciative over the last 35 years. Tony Hillerman is a master storyteller who has reinvented the mystery novel as a venue for the exploration and celebration of Native American history, culture and identity."

The Robert Kirsch Award, presented by Jonathan Kirsch, recognizes the body of work by an author who resides in and/or whose work focuses on the Western United States and whose contributions to American letters merit body-of-work recognition. The late Robert Kirsch served as The Times' book critic for more than 25 years before his death in 1980. He was a novelist, editor and teacher as well as one the nation's foremost book critics.

This year's Los Angeles Times Book Prizes honored outstanding literary achievement in nine categories: biography, current interest, fiction, first fiction, history, mystery/thriller, poetry, science and technology, and young adult fiction. Each winner, including Hillerman, receives a $1,000 cash award.

Author/journalist Sir Harold Evans served as the master of ceremonies for the presentation of the Book Prizes.

Book Prizes winners
  • Biography – Mark Stevens and Annalyn Swan, de Kooning: An American Master (Alfred A. Knopf). Presented by Neal Gabler.
  • Current Interest – Evan Wright, Generation Kill: Devil Dogs, Iceman, Captain America and the New Face of American War (G.P. Putnam's Sons). Presented by Michael Kinsley.
  • Fiction – Colm Tóibín, The Master: A Novel (Scribner). Presented by Alice Sebold.
  • First Fiction (the Art Seidenbaum Award) – Lorraine Adams, Harbor (Alfred A. Knopf). Presented by Patricia Seidenbaum.
  • History – Geoffrey R. Stone, Perilous Times: Free Speech in Wartime from the Sedition Act of 1798 to the War on Terrorism (W.W. Norton & Company). Presented by Douglas Brinkley.
  • Mystery/Thriller – Kem Nunn, Tijuana Straits: A Novel (Scribner). Presented by T. Jefferson Parker.
  • Poetry – Richard Howard, Inner Voices: Selected Poems, 1963-2003 (Farrar, Straus and Giroux). Presented by Carol Muske Dukes.
  • Science and Technology – Charles Wohlforth, The Whale and the Supercomputer: On the Northern Front of Climate Change (North Point Press / Farrar, Straus and Giroux). Presented by Sally Ride.
  • Young Adult Fiction – Melvin Burgess, Doing It (Henry Holt Books for Young Readers). Presented by Jennifer Donnelly.
2004 Book Prize finalists (including winners)


Ron Chernow, Alexander Hamilton (Penguin Press)

Stephen Greenblatt, Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare (W.W. Norton & Company)

Richard Rhodes, John James Audubon: The Making of an American (Alfred A. Knopf)

Mark Stevens and Annalyn Swan, de Kooning: An American Master (Alfred A. Knopf)

Michael J. Ybarra, Washington Gone Crazy: Senator Pat McCarran and the Great American Communist Hunt (Steerforth Press)

Current Interest

Karen Armstrong, The Spiral Staircase: My Climb out of Darkness (Alfred A. Knopf)

Edward Conlon, Blue Blood (Riverhead Books)