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L.A. Times Book Prizes: Dave Eggers takes two

Book AwardsBook PrizesBrenda Hillman Kevin StarrDave EggersDavid MazzuchelliElizabeth PartridgeEvan S. ConnellLA TimesPhilipp MeyerRafael Yglesias Linda GordonStuart Neville

Author Dave Eggers was the surprise big winner Friday night at the L.A. Times Book Prizes when he was awarded the current interest prize for his book "Zeitoun" before being presented with the inaugural Innovator's Award, which had been previously announced.

"I don't have anything written at all," Eggers said. "I didn't think I had a prayer in the world." Eggers said the other finalists were some of his heroes, and he said he shared the award with them. He thanked his staff at McSweeney's and the Zeitoun family.

Rafael Yglesias was awarded the fiction prize for his novel "A Happy Marriage," and Philipp Meyer battled microphone problems to accept the Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction for his novel "American Rust."

The first-ever award for graphic novel went to David Mazzuchelli for "Asterios Polyp." One of the longest-standing prizes, the Robert Kirsch Award for Lifetime Achievement, was presented to Evan S. Connell.

Veteran winner Kevin Starr was in the audience to accept the book prize in history for "Golden Dreams: California in an Age of Abundance 1950-1963," the latest installment in his acclaimed California history series. Stuart Neville, whose travel plans were almost scuttled by the Eyjafjallajokull volcano, made it after all to accept his first L.A. Times book prize -- his novel "The Ghosts of Belfast" won the mystery/thriller category.

Other winners were Linda Gordon in biography, for "Dorothea Lange: A Life Beyond Limits," Brenda Hillman for her book of poetry "Practical Water," Elizabeth Partridge's "Marching for Freedom: Walk Together Children and Don't You Grow Weary" in young adult literature and Graham Farmelo's "The Strangest Man: The Hidden Life of Paul Dirac, Mystic of the Atom" in science and technology.

The complete list of winners of the 2009 L.A. Times Book Prizes is after the jump.

2009 L.A. Times Book Prizes

Biography: "Dorothea Lange: A Life Beyond Limits" by Linda Gordon

Current Interest: "Zeitoun" by Dave Eggers

Fiction: "A Happy Marriage" by Rafael Yglesias

Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction: "American Rust" by Philipp Meyer

Graphic Novel: "Asterios Polyp" by David Mazzuchelli

History: "Golden Dreams: California in an Age of Abundance 1950-1963" by Kevin Starr

Mystery/Thriller: "The Ghosts of Belfast" by Stuart Neville

Poetry: "Practical Water" by Brenda Hillman

Science and Technology: "The Strangest Man: The Hidden Life of Paul Dirac, Mystic of the Atom" by Graham Farmelo

Young Adult Literature: "Marching for Freedom: Walk Together Children and Don't You Grow Weary" by Elizabeth Partridge

Innovators Award: Dave Eggers

Robert Kirsch Award for lifetime achievement: Evan S. Connell

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: L.A. Times book editor David L. Ulin at the 2009 Book Prizes. Credit: Carolyn Kellogg

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Dave Eggers is a mensch. I subscribe to everything McSweeney's publishes, and so should you.

His 826 tutoring projects are great, too, so volunteer at one if there's one in your city.

I read my McSweeney's iPhone app daily and I can't tell you how many times I've doubled over in a big guffaw while waiting in line at the Post Office or somewhere. Brilliant stuff.

Congratulations, Dave Eggers! and Sto Lat!!!!


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