The Los Angeles Times-Christopher Isherwood Prize for Autobiographical Prose is awarded in partnership with the Los Angeles Times. The prize category includes fiction, travel writing, memoir, and diary to honor Isherwood’s work across those genres.
Isherwood was arguably the greatest practitioner of autobiographical prose in the 20th century. He wrote nine novels, four books of autobiography or memoir, two travel books, and over a million words of diaries. He was also a prolific letter writer. His fictional characters—for instance, Mr. Norris, Sally Bowles, Friedrich Bergmann in Prater Violet, George in A Single Man—were based on people he knew, and they permanently enrich our culture. Observing them is Isherwood himself, a character who is a writer, who is inside and outside his stories. His writing is always lucid, literary, light on its feet, and very often hilariously funny even when its intention is profoundly serious.
The 2016 Christopher Isherwood Prize was presented April 21, 2017 by Don Bachardy and Tina Mascara to Wesley Lowery for “They Can't Kill Us All”: Ferguson, Baltimore, and a New Era in America's Racial Justice Movement.
Lowery fully inhabits the voice of the intelligent, committed, reliable reporter; when he is arrested, we are pulled with him into the turmoil on which he reports. This torrent of evidence, masterfully channelled, makes the Black Lives Matter story—the killing by police of young black Americans--intensely personal.
The four other finalists for the inaugural Christopher Isherwood prize were Tash Aw for The Face: Strangers on a Pier; Hisham Matar for The Return: Fathers, Sons and the Land in Between; Scholastique Mukasonga for Cockroaches, translated from the French by Jordan Stump; and Jacqueline Woodson for Another Brooklyn: A Novel.
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