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Six finalists in the categories of Fiction, Nonfiction and Young Readers’ Literature $150,000 Bestowed Annually


New York (September 30, 2014)Kirkus Reviews, the nation’s leading prepublication journal of book 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. This year’s finalists were chosen from all titles that earned a Kirkus Star with publication dates between November 1, 2013 and October 31, 2014. The judges chose from 1007 books total: 266 fiction; 225 nonfiction, 446 children/teens; and 70 Indie Kirkus Star titles.

The winners will be announced at a special ceremony in Austin, Texas on Thursday, October 23, 2014.

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 Thesaurus 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.

2014 marks the first year of the Kirkus Prize, one of the richest literary awards in the world, with a prize of $150,000 bestowed annually: $50,000 per category to authors of fiction, nonfiction and young readers’ literature. It was created to celebrate the 81 years of discerning, thoughtful criticism that Kirkus Reviews has contributed to both the publishing industry and readers at large.

Winners of the 2014 Kirkus Prize will be announced at a special ceremony in Austin, Texas on Thursday, October 23, 2014 at 6:30pm (Central Time).

About Kirkus Reviews

Founded in 1933, Kirkus has been one of the most trusted and authoritative voices in book discovery. When Kirkus Reviews was established by Virginia Kirkus, it was an innovation in the publishing field. Virginia arranged to receive advance galley proofs of books from publishers — only 20 or so at first, but eventually nearly every firm of any size in the industry. She read the galleys and wrote brief, critical evaluations of their literary merit and probable popular appeal. Today, Kirkus Reviews covers more than 7,000 books published by traditional houses and more than 3,000 self-published books every year. The magazine is published on the 1st and 15th of every month, and because of the scope of their coverage, their authoritative voice and the timeliness of their reviews, Kirkus Reviews is revered by many as the first indicator of a book’s potential. For more information, visit

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