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


New York (September 25, 2018)Kirkus Reviews, the nation’s leading prepublication journal of book reviews, today announced the six finalists for the fifth 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 writers, booksellers, librarians, and Kirkus critics, select the Kirkus Prize finalists and winners.

Kirkus Reviews editor-in-chief, Clay Smith, says, “The judges chose 18 outstanding books that compel us to imagine the world in new ways. In nonfiction, the judges chose books that are wrestling with the idea of America; they’re very timely books, given that so many Americans are also thinking about what it means to be an American. The fiction judges are spotlighting both well-known writers and debut and small-press writers who clearly deserve to be more widely read. And among children’s and young adult finalists, the judges chose books that reflect the fact that all children deserve to see themselves reflected in the books created for them. Each finalist’s book is a joy to read. Kirkus thanks this year’s judges for their hard work.”

This year’s finalists were chosen from 604 young readers’ literature titles, 295 fiction titles, and 294 nonfiction titles. The three winners will be announced at a special ceremony in Austin, Texas on Thursday, October 25.

The finalists for the 2018 Kirkus Prize are:


The judges for the 2018 Kirkus Prize in Fiction are: award-winning author Sandra Cisneros; editor, writer, and Kirkus critic Jessica Jernigan; and Angela Maria Spring, owner of Duende District, a pop-up bookstore in the Washington D.C. area.


The judges for the 2018 Kirkus Prize in Nonfiction are: award-winning author Carina Chocano; author and Kirkus critic Joseph Barbato; and book buyer for all eight of Copperfield's Books' stores in San Francisco's North Bay, Sheryl Cotleur.


Picture Books:

Middle Grade:

Young Adult:

The judges for the 2018 Kirkus Prize in Young Readers’ Literature are: New York Times-bestselling author of the Legend trilogy and the Young Elites trilogy, Marie Lu; writer and Kirkus critic J. Alejandro Mazariegos; and Youth Services Supervisor at the main branch of the Kansas City, Kansas, Public Library, Kimberly A. Patton.

2018 marks the fifth 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.

Winners of the 2018 Kirkus Prize will be announced at a special ceremony in Austin, Texas on Thursday, October 25 at 6:00pm (Central Time) / 7:00pm (Eastern).

For more information about The 2018 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 85 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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