The Kirsch award is considered one of the Times' most prestigious awards and is given to a writer who has made a distinguished contribution to American letters, the Los Angeles Times reported Saturday.
Other awards given out at the ceremony, hosted by author and PBS anchor Jim Lehrer, went to Israeli novelist A.B. Yehoshua for "A Woman in Jerusalem," Neal Gabler for "Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination," Lawrence Wright for "The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11," Ian Buruma's "Murder in Amsterdam: The Death of Theo van Gogh and the Limits of Tolerance" and to Michael Connelly for "Echo Park."
Each prize included a $1,000 cash award.
Also the Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction went to Alice Greenway for "White Ghost Girls" and the poetry award went to Frederick Seidel for "Ooga-Booga."
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