The Kirkus Prize is one of the richest literary awards in the world, with prizes totaling $150,000 bestowed annually to authors of Fiction, Nonfiction, and Young Readers’ Literature. 

New York (September 8, 2022)Kirkus Reviews, founded in 1933 by Virginia Kirkus and now the nation’s leading prepublication journal of book reviews, announces the 18 finalists for the 2022 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, now in its ninth year, 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 Tom Beer says, “This year’s crop of Kirkus Prize finalists is an exhilaratingly diverse collection of books on a wide range of topics from authors across the United States and around the globe. Chosen by our hardworking judges from among the very best books our critics reviewed in the past year, these titles are truly on the top shelf of contemporary literature.”

This year’s finalists were chosen from 512 young readers’ literature titles, 478 fiction titles, and 446 nonfiction titles. On average, Kirkus’ editors award the Kirkus star to 10% of the approximately 10,000 titles they assign for review each year. One of the most coveted designations in the book industry, the Kirkus star marks books of exceptional merit. 

The finalists for the 2022 Kirkus Prize are listed below, followed by a quote from their Starred Kirkus Review:


The judges for the 2022 Kirkus Prize in Fiction are:

Deesha Philyaw, award-winning author of The Secret Lives of Church Ladies; Luis Correa, Avid Bookshop (Athens, GA) operations manager and bookseller; book critic and essayist, Wendy Smith, and Kirkus fiction editor Laurie Muchnick. 


The judges for the 2022 Kirkus Prize in Nonfiction are:

Hanif Abdurraqib, award-winning author of, most recently, A Little Devil in America; Lillian Dabney, librarian at Folio: The Seattle Athenaeum; Kirkus critic and writer Sarah Norris, and Kirkus nonfiction editor Eric Liebetrau.


Picture Books:

Middle Grade:

Young Adult:

The judges for the 2022 Kirkus Prize in Young Readers’ Literature are:

Award-winning author-illustrator Jerry Craft, #1 New York Times bestselling author of New Kid and Class Act; Librarian and educator Junko Yokota, director of the Center for Teaching through Children’s Books and professor emeritus at National Louis University (Chicago); Kirkus critic and children’s librarian (Pacific Northwest), Alec B. Chunn, and Kirkus young readers’ editor Laura Simeon.

The three 2022 Kirkus Prize winners will be announced at an in-person ceremony at the Special Event Center at the Austin Central Library on Thursday, October 27, 2022. The announcement will be live streamed on Kirkus’ YouTube channel at 6pm Central/7pm Eastern. “It’s been three years since we’ve been able to celebrate in real life, and we are giddy with excitement. Our virtual ceremonies gave us the opportunity to share special, previously semi-private moments with a global audience, though, and we are committed to delivering that access online once again,” says Meg LaBorde Kuehn, Kirkus’ CEO. “We are thrilled with the Kirkus Prize judges’ choices of finalists this year and look forward to discovering the 2022 Kirkus Prize winners along with the audience, whether virtually or in-person, in October.” 


About Kirkus Reviews

For almost 90 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 Simon. Marc Winkelman is the President and Publisher, and Meg LaBorde Kuehn is the Chief Executive Officer. The Chief Marketing Officer is Sarah Kalina. The Editor-in-Chief of Kirkus Reviews is Tom Beer. The President of Indie is Karen Schechner. Eric Liebetrau is the Managing Editor and Nonfiction Editor, Laurie Muchnick is the Fiction Editor, and Laura Simeon and Mahnaz Dar are the Young Readers’ Editors.

Kirkus Prize Publicity Contact: Kimberly Burns / / 917.405.8708 

For more information about the 2022 Kirkus Prize, including dates of eligibility, rules, and selection process, as well as complete bios of the 2022 Kirkus Prize finalists and judges, please visit Kirkus Reviews/prize.




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