The finalists for the thirty-fourth annual Los Angeles Times Book Prizes , which are awarded in ten categories, were announced last week.
The finalists in poetry are Joshua Beckman for The Inside of an Apple  (Wave Books), Mei-Mei Berssenbrugge for Hello, the Roses  (New Directions), Ron Padgett for Collected Poems  (Coffee House Press), Elizabeth Robinson for On Ghosts  (Solid Objects), and Lynn Xu for Debts & Lessons  (Omnidawn).
The finalists in fiction are Percival Everett for Percival Everett by Virgil Russell  (Graywolf Press), Claire Messud for The Woman Upstairs (Knopf), Ruth Ozeki for A Tale for the Time Being  (Viking), Susan Steinberg for Spectacle: Stories  (Graywolf Press), and Daniel Woodrell for The Maid’s Version: A Novel  (Little, Brown).
The finalists for the Art Seidanbaum Award for First Fiction are NoViolet Bulawayo for We Need New Names  (Reagan Arthur Books), Jeff Jackson for Mira Corpora  (Two Dollar Radio), Fiona McFarlane for The Night Guest  (Faber & Faber), Jamie Quatro for I Want to Show You More  (Grove Press), and Ethan Rutherford for The Peripatetic Coffin and Other Stories  (Ecco).
Fiction writer Susan Straight  will receive the Robert Kirsch Award for lifetime achievement. Straight is the author of eight novels, most recently Between Heaven and Here  (McSweeney’s, 2012). Straight writes about Rio Seco, a fictional town inspired by Riverside, California, where she currently resides.
The winners will be announced during an award ceremony on April 11 at the University of Southern California. The event is open to the public, and tickets will go on sale for $10 on March 17. For more information on the event, and a list of finalists in the additional categories of biography, current interest, graphic novel/comics, history, mystery/thriller, science and technology, and young adult literature, visit the L.A. Times Book Prizes website .
In the video below from TEDx Redondo Beach, Susan Straight talks about why she became a writer.