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The Wreck of the Nymph



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


New York (September 20, 2016)Kirkus Reviews, the nation’s leading prepublication journal of book reviews, today 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, 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. An esteemed panel of judges, composed of nationally respected writers and highly regarded 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 (Farrar Straus & Giroux)
  • 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: Award-winning 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 Others 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 America 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 award-winning 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.

2016 marks the third year of the Kirkus Prize. It was created to celebrate the discerning, thoughtful criticism that Kirkus Reviews has contributed to both the publishing industry and readers at large since it was founded in 1933. The previous Kirkus Prize winners are, from 2015: A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara, Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates, and Echo by Pam Muñoz Ryan, and 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 special ceremony in Austin, Texas on Thursday, November 3 at 6:00pm (Central Time) / 7:00pm (Eastern).

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

About Kirkus Reviews

For over 83 years, 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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