Just because we’re not in person doesn’t mean we can’t party!

Earlier this month, the 2021 Kirkus Prize finalists joined editor at large Megan Labrise for a series of Kirkus Prize “cocktail conversations” via Zoom, in anticipation of our virtual awards ceremony on Oct. 28.

In this supercut of three lengthier conversations, Labrise talks in turn with the young readers’ finalists, fiction finalists, and nonfiction finalists.

First up, we’re joined by author NoNieqa Ramos and illustrator Jacqueline L. Alcántara (Your Mama), Carole Boston Weatherford (Unspeakable), Nikki Grimes (Legacy), Christina Soontornvat (All Thirteen), Wai Chim (The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling), and Sharon G. Flake (The Life I’m In). The YRL finalists discuss what would happen if they were hosting their own Kirkus Prize party at home: what we’d eat, what we’d drink, the music we’d listen to, and the general convivial vibe.

Next, we go deep with author Mariana Enríquez and translator Megan McDowell (The Dangers of Smoking in Bed), Honorée Fanonne Jeffers (The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois), Jocelyn Nicole Johnson (My Monticello), author Pajtim Statovci and translator David Hackston (Bolla), and Colson Whitehead (Harlem Shuffle). The fiction finalists answer the age-old question: What did writing this book teach you?

And finally, we get to know Brian Broome (Punch Me Up to the Gods), Dara Horn (People Love Dead Jews), Tiya Miles (All That She Carried), Kristen Radtke (Seek You), Katherine E. Standefer (Lighting Flowers), and author Juan Villoro and translator Alfred MacAdam (Horizontal Vertigo). The nonfiction finalists share how they learned they’d been nominated for the prize, how it made them feel, and why they chose the titles of their books.

Editor at large Megan Labrise hosts Kirkus’ Fully Booked podcast.