LOS ANGELES, April 27, 2007 – On the eve of the nation's largest public literary festival, the Los Angeles Times tonight applauded the year's most accomplished authors with its 27th Annual Book Prizes ceremony at UCLA's Royce Hall. News anchor Jim Lehrer served as master of ceremonies for the event that drew many of the biggest names in the book world, honored author William Kittredge with the Robert Kirsch Award for lifetime achievement and recognized 2006's best books and their writers in nine categories.

"The Los Angeles Times Book Prizes honor the year's great writers and great literary works," said Publisher David D. Hiller. "Celebrating the diverse literary universe is a longstanding Book Prizes' tradition and the 2006 honorees well represent a rich tapestry of writing."

Times Book Editor David Ulin presented Kittredge with the Robert Kirsch Award, given annually to a living author with a substantial connection to the American West whose contribution to American letters deserves special recognition. Based in Montana, Kittredge is one of the West's preeminent cultural voices. His novels, stories and essays are considered classics of western literature, with an unpretentious, no-nonsense style that uses straightforward prose to convey deeply powerful emotional undercurrents.

Established in 1980, the Book Prizes span genres as diverse as The Times' spectrum of content, from history to captivating mystery, and masterful poetry to cutting-edge science. This year's winners include a biography of creative pioneer Walt Disney; a perspective on the tensions between the Dutch and Muslim immigrants; and a first-time writer's dreamy, lyrical tale of teenaged American sisters growing up in Hong Kong during the Vietnam War. Each winner, including Kittredge, receives a $1,000 cash award.

2006 Book Prizes Winners

• Biography: Neal Gabler, Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination (Alfred A. Knopf). Presented by Rick Wartzman.
• Current Interest: Ian Buruma, Murder in Amsterdam: The Death of the Theo van Gogh and the Limits of Tolerance (Penguin Press). Presented by Reza Aslan.
• Fiction: A.B. Yehoshua, A Woman in Jerusalem [translated from the Hebrew by Hillel Halkin] (Harcourt). Presented by Steve Lopez.
• Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction: Alice Greenway, White Ghost Girls (Black Cat / Grove/Atlantic). Presented by Jane Smiley.
• History: Lawrence Wright, The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 (Alfred A. Knopf). Presented by Geoffrey R. Stone.
• Mystery/Thriller: Michael Connelly, Echo Park: A Novel (Little, Brown). Presented by Lisa See.
• Poetry: Frederick Seidel, Ooga-Booga (Farrar, Straus and Giroux). Presented by James Ragan.
• Science and Technology: Eric R. Kandel, In Search of Memory: The Emergence of a New Science of Mind (W.W. Norton). Presented by M.G. Lord.
• Young Adult Fiction: Coe Booth, Tyrell (Push / Scholastic). Presented by Jacqueline Woodson.

2006 Book Prize finalists (including winners)

Debby Applegate, The Most Famous Man in America: The Biography of Henry Ward Beecher (Doubleday) Rodney Bolt, The Librettist of Venice: The Remarkable Life of Lorenzo Da Ponte, Mozart's Poet, Casanova's Friend, and Italian Opera's Impresario in America (Bloomsbury USA) Neal Gabler, Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination (Alfred A. Knopf) Jeffrey Goldberg, Prisoners: A Muslim and a Jew across the Middle East Divide (Alfred A. Knopf) Daniel Mendelsohn, The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million (HarperCollins)

Current Interest:
Douglas Brinkley, The Great Deluge: Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast (William Morrow / HarperCollins) Ian Buruma, Murder in Amsterdam: The Death of Theo van Gogh and the Limits of Tolerance (Penguin Press) Rajiv Chandrasekaran, Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Iraq's Green Zone (Alfred A. Knopf) Alicia Drake, The Beautiful Fall: Lagerfeld, Saint Laurent, and Glorious Excess in 1970s Paris (Little, Brown) Terri Jentz, Strange Piece of Paradise (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)