When the 35th annual Los Angeles Times Book Prizes are presented April 18, USC will be front and center.
The awards will be presented as part of the LA Times Festival of Books, which takes place on the University Park Campus April 18-19. And two of the main honorees — T.C. Boyle and LeVar Burton — have ties to the university.
Boyle, writer in residence and distinguished professor emeritus of English at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, will receive the Robert Kirsch Award for Lifetime Achievement. His books include The Women, Drop City, The Tortilla Curtain, East Is East and The Road to Wellville.
T.C. Boyle has had a long-standing presence as both a writer and a teacher in the Southern California literary world.
David L. Ulin
“T.C. Boyle has had a long-standing presence as both a writer and a teacher in the Southern California literary world,” Times book critic David L. Ulin wrote in a news release. “His stature within our community is unique, from the breadth of his novels and stories to his engagement with his students and role as a mentor.”
Burton will receive the Innovators Award for his work with Reading Rainbow, the iconic television program he hosted and produced for 23 seasons.
Burton made his acting debut as Kunta Kinte in the trend-setting 1977 miniseries Roots while he was a student at the USC School of Dramatic Arts. He also played the role of Geordi La Forge on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Burton also won 12 Emmys in his roles on Reading Rainbow.
The Times on March 5 announced finalists in 10 categories: biography, current interest, fiction, graphic novel, history, mystery/thriller, poetry, science and technology, young adult literature and the Art Seidenbaum award for first fiction. For a list of nominees, visit the Times’ website.