Kirkus announces finalists for the first annual Kirkus Prize


 Kirkus Reviews today announced the six finalists for the first annual Kirkus Prize in the categories of Fiction, Nonfiction and Young Readers’ Literature


Winners in the three categories will receive $50,000 each, making the Kirkus Prize one of the richest annual literary awards in the world.

Writers become eligible by receiving a rare starred review from Kirkus Reviews.

Panels of three highly regarded judges, composed of a writer, a bookseller or librarian and a Kirkus critic, select the Kirkus Prize finalists and winners from among those starred books.

Kirkus chose this year’s finalists from all titles that earned a Kirkus Star with publication dates between November 1, 2013 and October 31, 2014.

The judges chose from 1,007 books total: 266 fiction; 225 nonfiction, 446 children/teens; and 70 self published Kirkus Star titles.  

Kirkus will announce the winners at a ceremony in Austin Oct. 23, a few days before the Texas Book Festival kicks off. (Kirkus editor Clay Smith was for many years the Texas Book Festival’s literary editor, a position now held by Steph Opitz.)

 The finalists for the 2014 Kirkus Prize are:


 ·    ” The Blazing World” by Siri Hustvedt (Simon & Schuster)

·     “Euphoria” by Lily King (Atlantic Monthly Press)

·     “All Our Names” by Dinaw Mengestu (Knopf)

·     “Florence Gordon” by Brian Morton (Houghton Mifflin)

·     “The Remedy for Love” by Bill Roorbach (Algonquin Books)

·     “The Paying Guests” by Sarah Waters (Riverhead)

The judges for the 2014 Kirkus Prize in fiction are: author Kate Christensen, Stephanie Valdez, co-owner of Community Bookstore and Terrace Books in Brooklyn, and Kirkus critic and author Marion Winik.


 ·     “Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?” by Roz Chast (Bloomsbury)

·     “Jonathan Swift: His Life and His World” by Leo Damrosch (Yale University Press)

·     “The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History” by Elizabeth Kolbert (Holt)

·     “The Lagoon: How Aristotle Invented Science” by Armand Marie Leroi (Viking)

·     “Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty” (Harvard University Press)

·     “Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption” by Bryan Stevenson (Spiegel & Grau)

 The judges for the 2014 Kirkus Prize in Nonfiction are: Sarah Bagby, owner of Watermark Books & Café in Wichita, KS, author Sloane Crosley, and Kirkus critic and author Gregory McNamee.


Picture Books:

·     “The Right Word: Roget and His Thesauru”s by Jen Bryant and Melissa Sweet (Eerdmans)

·     “Aviary Wonders Inc.: Spring Catalog and Instruction Manual” by Kate Samworth (Clarion)

Middle Grade:

·     “El Deafo” by Cece Bell (Amulet/Abrams)

·     “The Key That Swallowed Joey Pigza” by Jack Gantos (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)

Young Adult:

·     “The Story of Owen, Dragon Slayer of Trondheim” by E.K. Johnston (Carolrhoda Lab)

·    ” The Freedom Summer Murders” by Don Mitchell (Scholastic)


The judges for the 2014 Kirkus Prize in Young Readers’ Literature are: Claudette S. McLinn, executive director at the Center for the Study of Multicultural Children’s Literature, author Linda Sue Park, Kirkus critic and children’s librarian John Edward Peters.

Author: Joe Gross

Joe Gross has covered books, movies, music and culture for the American-Statesman since 2002. He tweets at @joegross.

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