2016 Nominees: fiction

MERCURY by Margot Livesey
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Sept. 27, 2016

"Uncharacteristically dark, yet more evidence of Livesey's formidable gifts."
Another probing study of the way character shapes our destinies from the author of The Flight of Gemma Hardy (2012), etc. Read full book review >
THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD by Colson Whitehead
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Sept. 13, 2016

"Whitehead continues the African-American artists' inquiry into race mythology and history with rousing audacity and razor-sharp ingenuity; he is now assuredly a writer of the first rank."
What if the metaphorical Underground Railroad had been an actual…underground railroad, complete with steam locomotive pulling a "dilapidated box car" along a subterranean nexus of steel tracks? Read full book review >
THE NIX by Nathan Hill
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Aug. 31, 2016

"A grand entertainment, smart and well-paced, and a book that promises good work to come."
Sparkling, sweeping debut novel that takes in a large swath of recent American history and pop culture and turns them on their sides. Read full book review >
SPELLBREAKER by Blake Charlton
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Aug. 23, 2016

"Vivid, intelligent, and painful in an authentically laudable way."
"Where's the apocalypse?" wonder the characters and the reader as this epic fantasy trilogy reaches its long-awaited conclusion. Read full book review >
BEHOLD THE DREAMERS by Imbolo Mbue
Released: Aug. 23, 2016

"Realistic, tragic, and still remarkably kind to all its characters, this is a special book."
The American dream is put to the test by the economic disaster of 2007. Read full book review >
THE ONE MAN by Andrew Gross
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Aug. 23, 2016

"This is Gross' best work yet, with his heart and soul imprinted on every page."
The author of One Mile Under (2015) changes genres with a heart-pounding thriller set in the bowels of Auschwitz. Read full book review >
INVASIVE by Chuck  Wendig
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Aug. 16, 2016

"Another rip-roaring, deeply paranoid thriller about the reasons to fear the future."
The world teeters on the brink of destruction once more in this spiritual sequel set in the same world as Wendig's wetwork horror story Zer0es (2015). Read full book review >
THE HATING GAME by Sally Thorne
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Aug. 9, 2016

"A breezy tale perfect for a day at the beach, this one's a real winner."
Lucy Hutton absolutely detests her office mate Joshua Templeman. He's a pompous, self-important, obnoxious ass. But, she's got to admit, he is pretty cute. Read full book review >
ANOTHER BROOKLYN by Jacqueline Woodson
Released: Aug. 9, 2016

"A stunning achievement from one of the quietly great masters of our time."
In her first adult novel in 20 years, National Book Award-winning children's author Woodson (Brown Girl Dreaming, 2014, etc.) crafts a haunting coming-of-age story of four best friends in Brooklyn, New York. Read full book review >
I'LL SELL YOU A DOG by Juan Pablo Villalobos
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Aug. 9, 2016

"A wry, sardonic romp made even more vibrant by its various satires and absurdities."
A novel of retirement, regret, and revolution in Mexico City. Read full book review >
ALL THE UGLY AND WONDERFUL THINGS by Bryn Greenwood
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Aug. 9, 2016

"Intelligent, honest, and unsentimental."
Greenwood's powerful, provocative debut chronicles a desolate childhood and a discomfiting love affair. Read full book review >
BRIGHT MAGIC by Alfred Döblin
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Aug. 9, 2016

"The humor is dark. So is the general outlook. Still, Döblin's stories are uplifting in their elegance and beauty."
Essential anthology of short works by the master of German literary expressionism. 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, 2015, and October 31, 2016 (see FAQ for exceptions), are automatically nominated for the 2016 Kirkus Prize, and the winners will be selected on November 3, 2016, by an esteemed panel composed of nationally respected writers and highly regarded booksellers, librarians and Kirkus critics.