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Contact: Kimberly Burns, or 212-226-0981



Kirkus Media to Award $150,000 Annually to Outstanding Writers of Fiction, Nonfiction and Young Readers’ Literature


New York (May 28, 2014)Kirkus Reviews, the nation’s leading prepublication journal of book reviews, announced today the formation of The Kirkus Prize, one of the richest annual literary awards in the world.

The Kirkus Prize honors outstanding writing by authors whose books have earned the Kirkus Star in the categories of fiction, nonfiction and young readers’ literature. The prize in each category, bestowed annually, is $50,000. All books that earn the Kirkus Star with publication dates between October 1, 2013 and September 30, 2014 are automatically nominated for The Kirkus Prize.

The Kirkus Prize is created to celebrate the 81 years of discerning, thoughtful criticism that Kirkus Reviews has contributed to both the publishing industry and to readers across the country. Marc Winkelman, president and publisher of Kirkus Media, says, “Since relaunching Kirkus Reviews in 2010, the company has enjoyed tremendous growth. Everyone at Kirkus feels a deep responsibility to our readers and the publishing industry; this prize is a symbol of that commitment.”

Panels of three highly regarded judges, composed of a writer, a bookseller or librarian, and a Kirkus critic, will select the Kirkus Prize finalists and winners. Six finalists in each category – fiction, nonfiction and young readers’ literature – will be announced on September 30, 2014. The three winners of the 2014 Kirkus Prizes will be announced at a special ceremony in Austin, Texas on October 23.

Claiborne Smith, Editor in Chief of Kirkus Reviews, says, “At a moment when the publishing industry is rebounding from the recession and adapting to the many changes thrust upon it, we wanted to create the Kirkus Prize to put a spotlight on writers who remind all of us why we got into publishing in the first place.”

The editors of Kirkus Reviews work closely with their critics to determine which titles will receive a coveted Kirkus Star, one of the most prestigious designations in the book industry. A Kirkus Star is given to approximately 10% of the 8,000-10,000 books reviewed each year by the magazine. Self-published books that are reviewed by Kirkus’ indie section and that receive the Kirkus Star are also eligible for the Kirkus Prize and will be considered in their respective categories—fiction, nonfiction or young readers’ literature.

Since its acquisition by Herb Simon and Marc Winkelman in 2010, the circulation of Kirkus Reviews has increased 257 percent. The number of book reviews published has increased 77 percent while feature coverage has grown by more than 350 percent. With a new website design in 2013, Kirkus has seen an exponential increase in web traffic, with receiving more than 1,500,000 page views a month.

“Kirkus has been known for holding books to the highest standards of excellence for more than 80 years. It brings us the deepest joy to have the opportunity to give back to writers who achieve this standard,” says Meg Kuehn, the chief operating officer of Kirkus Media. “Great writing deserves a rich reward.”

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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