NEW YORK, (February 28, 2008) – Maxine Hong Kingston has been named the winner of the 28th annual Los Angeles Times Book Prizes' Robert Kirsch Award for lifetime achievement.

The award was announced tonight along with the names of the 45 finalists for the 2007 Book Prizes during an evening reception at the National Arts Club in New York City. Serving as event hosts were Times Book Prizes Director Kenneth L. Turan and Times Book Editor David L. Ulin.

The Book Prizes will be presented April 25th at UCLA's Royce Hall in Los Angeles. In addition to the Kirsch Award, the evening will honor 2007's outstanding books in nine categories: biography, current interest, fiction, first fiction (the Art Seidenbaum Award), history, mystery/thriller, poetry, science and technology, and young adult fiction.

The Kirsch Award honors a living author with a substantial connection to the American West whose contribution to American letters deserves special recognition and Maxine Hong Kingston has been named the award's 28th recipient. Kingston is the acclaimed author of many books including the award-winning The Woman Warrior, China Men and Tripmaster Monkey. She lives in Oakland, California, with her husband Earl, where she is a Senior Lecturer Emerita at the University of California, Berkeley and directs the Veterans Writing Group project.

Presenting the 2007 Los Angeles Times Book Prizes will be Jim Newton (Biography), Scott Simon (Current Interest), Ngugi Wa Thiong'O (Fiction), Susan Salter Reynolds (First Fiction – the Art Seidenbaum Award), Douglas Brinkley (History), Paula Woods (Mystery/Thriller), Mark Doty (Poetry), David L. Ulin (the Robert Kirsch Award), Dava Sobel (Science and Technology) and Francesca Lia Block (Young Adult Fiction).

The awards ceremony will lead off the 13th 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, held April 26-27 on the UCLA campus.

The Los Angeles Times Book Prizes were established in 1980. Each Book Prize includes a $1,000 cash award. The named awards commemorate the life and work of Robert Kirsch, who served as The Times' book critic for more than 25 years prior to his death in 1980, and of the late Art Seidenbaum, who founded the Book Prizes. Finalists were selected by eight three-member committees (the fiction panel covers both the fiction and first fiction categories) and most judges are published authors and serve a two-year term. None of the judges, except for the Kirsch award, are current Los Angeles Times employees. There is no nationality requirement for author nominees in any category. With the exception of significant new translations of a deceased author's work, all authors should be living at the time of U.S. publication.

Book Prize Finalists

Nancy Isenberg, Fallen Founder: The Life of Aaron Burr (Viking)
Tim Jeal, Stanley: The Impossible Life of Africa's Greatest Explorer ( Yale University Press)
Simon Sebag Montefiore, Young Stalin (Alfred A. Knopf)
Robert Morgan, Boone: A Biography (A Shannon Ravenel Book/Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill)
Michael J. Neufeld, Von Braun: Dreamer of Space, Engineer of War (Alfred A. Knopf)

Current Interest
Ishmael Beah, A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier (Sarah Crichton Books/Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Tom Bissell, The Father of All Things: A Marine, His Son, and the Legacy of Vietnam (Pantheon)
Ronald Brownstein, The Second Civil War: How Extreme Partisanship Has Paralyzed Washington and Polarized America (The Penguin Press)
Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism (Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt and Company)