Stephen Graham Jones awarded LA Times Book Prize for horror novel ‘The Only Good Indians’

Author: Jessica Weber
April 21, 2021

Stephen Graham Jones, a core faculty member of UCR’s low-residency MFA program, has been awarded a Los Angeles Times Book Prize, announced during a virtual ceremony kicking off the 26th Annual Los Angeles Times Festival of Books on April 16. Jones was named the winner of the Ray Bradbury Prize for Science Fiction, Fantasy & Speculative Fiction for his novel, “The Only Good Indians.” Introduced in 2019, Jones is the second recipient of this award.

“Ray Bradbury has been with me since I first started reading. His imagination, his insistence on the magical over the real, and just the heart he infused every word with, it’s always been a model for me,” Jones said. “‘The Only Good Indians’ winning this LA Times prize with his name on it, then, it feels full-circle — as well as a pretty big surprise, considering the other finalists on that ballot, any one of whom deserve this just as much. This is an honor, and one I’ll keep close to my heart from here on out.”

Stephen Graham Jones
Stephen Graham Jones
(Photo by Gary Isaacs)

The Only Good Indians” follows four American Indian men and former childhood friends from the Blackfeet Nation in a desperate struggle for their lives against an entity seeking vengeance for what occurred during an elk hunt 10 years prior. A story about revenge, cultural identity, and the cost of breaking from tradition, the novel is equal parts psychological horror and social commentary on identity politics and the American Indian experience.

A New York Times bestseller, “The Only Good Indians” received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Library Journal and was included among Publishers Weekly’s “Most Anticipated Books of 2020.” It is also a finalist for the Reading the West Award in the fiction category and is on the final ballot for the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a Novel. “The Only Good Indians” was published July 2020 by Saga Press.

The Los Angeles Times Book Prizes were first awarded in 1980 to honor literary excellence and celebrate the community of readers in Los Angeles. The prizes now encompass 12 categories championing new voices and celebrating the highest quality of writing from authors at all stages of their careers.

The Ray Bradbury Prize for Science Fiction, Fantasy & Speculative Fiction award honors and extends Bradbury’s literary legacy by celebrating and elevating the writers working in his field today. Marlon James was awarded the first Ray Bradbury Prize last year for his 2019 fantasy epic “Black Leopard, Red Wolf.”

Jones is the bestselling author of 19 novels and six story collections including “The Only Good Indians,” “Mongrels,” “Mapping the Interior,” “All the Beautiful Sinners,” and “Demon Theory.” He has been an NEA fellowship recipient; has won the Jesse Jones Award for Best Work of Fiction from the Texas Institute of Letters, the Independent Publishers Award for Multicultural Fiction, a Bram Stoker Award, four This is Horror Awards; and has been a finalist for the Shirley Jackson Award and the World Fantasy Award. In addition to his UCR appointment, he is the Ivena Baldwin Professor of English at the University of Colorado Boulder.