The Los Angeles Times Book Prizes were handed out last night and the winner in the graphic novel division was Ulli Lust’s Today is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life, published in the US by Fantagraphics.
Gene Yang’s Boxers and Saints won in the YA Literature category—a strong win for a GN in a traditionally prose only category. Yang’s work—he’s also a two time National Book Award nominee—continues to help define the new role for graphic novels as literature.
JK Rowling won in the Mystery category for The Cuckoo’s Calling which she wrote under a pen-name to avoid being ghettoized in Potter’s field.
The other nominees in the graphic novel category were • David B., “Incidents in the Night: Volume 1,” Uncivilized Books
• Ben Katchor, “Hand-Drying in America: And Other Stories,” Pantheon
• Ulli Lust, “Today is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life,” Fantagraphics
• Anders Nilsen, “The End,” Fantagraphics
• Joe Sacco, “The Great War: July 1, 1916: The First Day of the Battle of the Somme,” W. W. Norton & Co.
I would have been pleased with any of the winners, but Lust’s book was one of my favorites of the year and is truly a novel with a dense examination of youthful ignorance, gender roles, the limits of friendship and early punk culture viewed through an impromptu trip to Italy by two Austrian girls without money. If you haven’t read it, do so!
The complete list of winners.
Biography: “Bolivar: American Liberator” by Marie Arana
Current Interest: “Five Days at Memorial” by Sheri Fink
Fiction: “A Tale for the Time Being” by Ruth Ozeki
Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction: “We Need New Names” by NoViolet Bulawayo
Graphic Novel/Comics: “Today is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life” by Ulli Lust
History: “The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914” by Christopher Clark
Mystery/Thriller: “The Cuckoo’s Calling” by J.K. Rowling writing as Robert Galbraith
Poetry: “Collected Poems” by Ron Padgett
Science and Technology: “Countdown: Our Last, Best Hope for a Future on Earth?” by Alan Weisman
Young Adult Literature: “Boxers & Saints” by Gene Luen Yang
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.