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



New York, New York (September 9, 2020) – Kirkus Reviews, the nation’s leading journal of prepublication book reviews, today announced the 18 finalists for the seventh 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, selects the Kirkus Prize finalists and winners.

“This has been an unprecedented and challenging year for authors, publishers, booksellers, and librarians,” says Kirkus Reviews editor-in-chief Tom Beer. “We’re thrilled that the Kirkus Prize can help bring attention to 18 books of exceptional merit that deserve the widest possible readership. The diversity and timeliness of all the finalists speak to our present moment, but they will endure as lasting works of literature.”

This year’s finalists were chosen from the 629 young readers’ literature titles, 352 fiction titles, and 395 nonfiction titles that received starred reviews from the more than 10,000 total books reviewed by Kirkus during the periods of eligibility. The three winners will be announced at a special virtual ceremony and cocktail party emceed by CEO Meg LaBorde Kuehn from the Austin Public Library in Austin, Texas, on Thursday, November 5.

The finalists for the 2020 Kirkus Prize are:


The judges for the 2020 Kirkus Prize in Fiction are: bestselling author Chang-rae Lee, editor and writer Amy Reiter, and Veronica Santiago Liu, founder and general coordinator of Word Up Community Bookshop/Librería Comunitaria.


The judges for the 2020 Kirkus Prize in Nonfiction are: 2018 Kirkus Prize finalist Kiese Laymon, critic Erika Rohrbach, and Nick Buzanski, general manager at Books Are Magic.


Picture Books:

Middle Grade:

Young Adult:

The judges for the 2020 Kirkus Prize in Young Readers’ Literature are: #1 New York Times bestselling author Nicola Yoon, critic and author Kyle Lukoff,and children’s and school librarian Roxanne Hsu Feldman.

The previous Kirkus Prize winners are:

2020 marks the seventh year of the Kirkus Prize. It was created in 2014 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 2020 Kirkus Prize will be announced at a special virtual ceremony via the Austin Public Library in Austin, Texas on Thursday, November 5 at 5:00pm (Central) / 6:00pm (Eastern).

For more information about the 2020 Kirkus Prize, including dates of eligibility, the rules and selection process, and bios of the finalists and judges, please visit


About Kirkus Reviews

For more than 87 years, Kirkus has been one of the most trusted and authoritative voices in book discovery. Kirkus Reviews covers more than 7,000 books published by traditional houses and more than 4,000 self-published books every year. The magazine is published on the 1st and 15th of every month, and because of the scope of its coverage, its authoritative voice, and the timeliness of its reviews, Kirkus Reviews is revered by many as the first indicator of a book’s potential.

The Chairman of Kirkus Media is Herb SimonMarc Winkelman is the President and Publisher, and Meg LaBorde Kuehn is the Chief Executive Officer. The Editor-in-Chief of Kirkus Reviews is Tom Beer. The Vice-President of Indie is Karen Schechner. Eric Liebetrau is the Managing Editor and Nonfiction Editor, Laurie Muchnick is the Fiction Editor, and Laura Simeonand Vicky Smith are the Young Readers’ Editors.

Contact: Beth Parker,, 914-629-9205

For more information about the Kirkus Prize, please visit

For further information on Kirkus, see



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