Luis Alberto Urrea and Piers Vitebsky were recently named winners of the 2006 Kiriyama Prize. Urrea won in fiction for his novel The Hummingbird’s Daughter (Little, Brown) and Vitebsky won in creative nonfiction for his book The Reindeer People: Living with Animals and Spirits in Siberia (Houghton Mifflin). The winners split the $30,000 award.
Sponsored by Pacific Rim Voices, a nonprofit organization in San Francisco, the annual prize honors books published in the previous year that “encourage greater mutual understanding of and among the peoples and nations” of the Pacific Rim and South Asia.
The finalists in fiction were Karen Connelly for The Lizard Cage (Random House Canada), Amitav Ghosh for The Hungry Tide (Houghton Mifflin), Yiyun Li for A Thousand Years of Good Prayers (Random House), and Jess Row for The Train to Lo Wu (The Dial Press). The finalists in nonfiction were Gail Lee Bernstein for Isami’s House (University of California Press), U Sam Oeur for Crossing Three Wildernesses (Coffee House Press), Oyama Shiro (translated by Edward Fowler) for A Man with No Talents (Cornell University Press), and John Vaillant for The Golden Spruce (W.W. Norton).
The judges in fiction were Lauro Flores, James D. Houston, Gish Jen, Maxine Hong Kingston, and Gail Tsukiyama. The judges in nonfiction were Janet Brown, Sally Ito, Laura Lent, Kathryn Olney, and James Rosenthal.