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.