Last Friday Stanley Plumly was awarded a 2007 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for his tenth poetry collection, Old Heart (Norton), at a ceremony at Royce Hall on the campus of the University of California, Los Angeles. Master of ceremonies Gay Talese presided at the annual event, during which awards were given in nine categories. Andrew O'Hagan won the award in fiction for his third novel Be Near Me (Harcourt), and Dinaw Mengestu won the Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction for The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears (Riverhead Books). Each winner received a thousand dollars.
Mark Doty, whose most recent poetry collection is Fire to Fire: New and Selected Poems (HarperCollins, 2008), presented the award to Plumly; Kenyan author Ngũgĩ Wa Thiong'O presented O'Hagan's award; and critic Susan Salter Reynolds gave the award to Mengestu.
David L. Ulin, book editor of the Los Angeles Times, presented Maxine Hong Kingston, the author of eight books, including the novel Tripmaster Monkey: His Fake Book (Knopf, 1989), with the 2007 Robert Kirsch Award for lifetime achievement.