2015 Nominees: fiction

WAKE OF VULTURES by Lila Bowen
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Oct. 27, 2015

"Readers will love this absorbing fantasy adventure (the first in a planned series) and its strong, dynamic heroine."
A fantasy set in a Wild West populated by plenty of vicious monsters—and one unwilling heroine. Read full book review >
AFTER ALICE by Gregory Maguire
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Oct. 27, 2015

"A brilliant and nicely off-kilter reading of the children's classic, retrofitted for grown-ups—and a lot of fun."
Alice doesn't live here anymore—and Maguire (Egg & Spoon, 2014, etc.) has great fun upending the furniture to find out where's she gone.Read full book review >
SLADE HOUSE by David Mitchell
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Oct. 27, 2015

"Though there's something of an inside joke happening on every page, Mitchell serves up a story that wouldn't be out of place alongside The Turn of the Screw. Ingenious, scary, and downright weird."
At the end of life, does a writer's every word flash before his or her eyes? Read full book review >
OUR SPOONS CAME FROM WOOLWORTHS by Barbara Comyns
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Oct. 27, 2015

"Much of the story revolves around issues of reproduction, housework, and economic opportunity that contemporary feminists would see as questions of justice. But Sophia narrates a story of fairy tale-like fatality, casting an amused, self-deprecating light on even the most painful moments."
A Depression-era artist struggles with crippling poverty and sexism in bohemian London; the result is a surprisingly charming and funny novel (first published in 1950). Read full book review >
PLAYING WITH FIRE by Tess Gerritsen
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Oct. 27, 2015

"Clear your schedule for this one—you won't want to put it down until you're finished."
A suspenseful thriller about mysterious music and a violinist's fear of her child. Read full book review >
COLD-HEARTED RAKE by Lisa Kleypas
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Oct. 27, 2015

"A gratifying series starter from a not-to-be-missed romance author."
Inheriting an earldom riddled with debt, Devon Ravenel intends to sell everything off and sink back into his feckless life—until he sets foot on the land and feels the seductive pull of responsibility and meets the beautiful widow trying to hold everything together. Read full book review >
CITY ON FIRE by Garth Risk Hallberg
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Oct. 20, 2015

"The very-damn-good American novel."
Rough-edged mid-1970s New York provides the backdrop for an epic panorama of musicians, writers, and power brokers and the surprising ways they connect. Read full book review >
WELCOME TO NIGHT VALE by Joseph Fink
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Oct. 20, 2015

"A delightfully bonkers media crossover that will make an incredible audiobook."
All hail the glow cloud as the weird and wonderful town of Night Vale brings itself to fine literature. Read full book review >
A STRANGENESS IN MY MIND by Orhan Pamuk
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Oct. 20, 2015

"Rich, complex, and pulsing with urban life: one of this gifted writer's best."
Nobel laureate Pamuk (The Museum of Innocence, 2009, etc.) sets a good-natured Everyman wandering through Istanbul's changing social and political landscape.Read full book review >
THE MARK AND THE VOID by Paul Murray
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Oct. 20, 2015

"Murray manages the trick of being thoughtful and entertaining. His creative energy sends the book in many directions, making it a little loose and lumpy, but the same may be said of Dickens, with whom real Paul also shares wit, sympathy, and a purposeful sense of mischief."
A darkly comic, lightly metafictional tale about a banker seeking love and a novelist seeking wealth amid the fallout from the financial boom and bust in Ireland. Read full book review >
THE EDUCATION OF A POKER PLAYER by James McManus
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Oct. 13, 2015

"With this plainspoken, highly readable coming-of-age story, McManus adds another winning hand to a growing body of work on the hearts and souls lost to the game of poker."
A boy copes with Catholicism, nuns, and such forbidden fruit as girls and gambling in a collection of closely related stories. Read full book review >
MRS. ENGELS by Gavin McCrea
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Oct. 13, 2015

"Who knew reading about communists could be so much fun?"
Irish-born McCrea's stellar debut imagines the lives of Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, not men usually associated with romance, through the eyes of Engels' illiterate common-law wife, Lizzie Burns. Read full book review >

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ABOUT THE KIRKUS PRIZE

The Kirkus Prize is one of the richest literary awards in the world, with a prize of $50,000 bestowed annually to authors of fiction, nonfiction and young readers’ literature. It was created to celebrate the 81 years of discerning, thoughtful criticism Kirkus Reviews has contributed to both the publishing industry and readers at large. Books that earned the Kirkus Star with publication dates between November 1, 2014, and October 31, 2015 (see FAQ for exceptions), are automatically nominated for the 2015 Kirkus Prize, and the winners will be selected on October 15, 2015, by an esteemed panel composed of nationally respected writers and highly regarded booksellers, librarians and Kirkus critics.