Kirkus Reviews announces finalists for Kirkus Prize

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

Winners in the three categories will receive $50,000 each; writers become eligible by receiving a starred review from Kirkus Reviews. An panel of judges, including writers and booksellers, librarians, and Kirkus critics, select the Kirkus Prize finalists and winners.

This year’s finalists were chosen from 515 young readers’ literature titles, 314 fiction titles, and 325 nonfiction titles. The three winners will be announced at a special ceremony in Austin, Texas on Thursday, November 3, 2016.

The finalists for the 2016 Kirkus Prize are:



·     “Imagine Me Gone” by Adam Haslett (Little, Brown)

·     “Carousel Court” by Joe McGinniss Jr. (Simon & Schuster)

·     “The Sport of Kings” by C.E. Morgan (FSG)

·     “Barkskins” by Annie Proulx (Scribner)

·     “A Gentleman in Moscow: by Amor Towles (Viking)

·     “The Underground Railroad” by Colson Whitehead (Doubleday)

The judges for the 2016 Kirkus Prize in Fiction are: author Claire Messud, Annie Philbrick, the owner of Bank Square Books in Mystic, Connecticut, and journalist and Kirkus critic Gene Seymour.


·     “At the Existentialist Café: Freedom, Being, and Apricot Cocktails with Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Albert Camus, Martin Heidegger, Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Other”s by Sarah Bakewell (Other Press)

·     “Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City” by Matthew Desmond (Crown)

·     “The Black Presidency: Barack Obama and the Politics of Race in Americ”a by Michael Eric Dyson (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

·     “In the Darkroom” by Susan Faludi (Henry Holt/Metropolitan Books)

·     “Truevine: Two Brothers, a Kidnapping, and a Mother’s Quest: A True Story of the Jim Crow South” by Beth Macy (Little, Brown)

·     “Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis” by J.D. Vance (HarperCollins)

The judges for the 2016 Kirkus Prize in Nonfiction are: author and Kirkus critic Jim Piechota, Chris Schoppa of Politics & Prose Bookstore in Washington, D.C., and journalist and novelist Héctor Tobar.


Picture Books:

·     “Thunder Boy Jr.” by Sherman Alexie and illustrated by Yuyi Morales (Little, Brown)

·     “Freedom Over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life” by Ashley Bryan (Caitlyn Dlouhy Books/Atheneum)

Middle Grade:

·     “We Will Not Be Silent: The White Rose Student Resistance Movement That Defied Adolf Hitler” by Russell Freedman (Clarion)

·     “As Brave As You” by Jason Reynolds (Caitlyn Dlouhy Books/Atheneum)

Young Adult:

·     “The Reader by Traci Chee (Putnam)

·     Burn Baby Burn by Meg Medina (Candlewick)

The judges for the 2016 Kirkus Prize in Young Readers’ Literature are: Author and co-owner of The Flying Pig Bookstore in Shelburne, Vermont Elizabeth Bluemle; Coordinator of School and Student Services for Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore and Kirkus critic Deborah D. Taylor; and award-winning author and the Poetry Foundation’s Young People’s Laureate Jacqueline Woodson.

This is the third year for the Kirkus Prize. The previous winners:

From 2015: ” A Little Life” by Hanya Yanagihara, “Between the World and Me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates, and “Echo” by Pam Muñoz Ryan.

From 2014: “Euphoria” by Lily King, “Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?” by Roz Chast, and ” Aviary Wonders Inc.” by Kate Samworth.

Winners of the 2016 Kirkus Prize will be announced at a ceremony in Austin Nov. 3.

For more information about The 2016 Kirkus Prize, including dates of eligibility, more about rules and selection process, and bios of the finalists and judges, please visit Kirkus Reviews/prize

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