2015 Nominees: nonfiction

CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Oct. 27, 2015

"Winchester's passionate research—on sea and land—undergirds this superb analysis of a world wonder that we seem hellbent on damaging."
The preternaturally curious writer about everything from the Oxford English Dictionary to volcanoes to the Atlantic Ocean (Atlantic: A Vast Ocean of a Million Stories, 2010, etc.) returns with a series of high-resolution literary snapshots of the Pacific Ocean.Read full book review >
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: Oct. 27, 2015

"A top-notch science book from a leading researcher."
Randall (Theoretical Particle Physics and Cosmology/Harvard Univ.; Knocking on Heaven's Door: How Physics and Scientific Thinking Illuminate the Universe and the Modern World, 2011, etc.) explores the causes of the fifth major extinction event, which occurred 66 million years ago and wiped out terrestrial dinosaurs and three-quarters of all other species living on Earth.Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 27, 2015

"General readers looking for a challenge will love this book and will dive into Blake's work. Many will find him just too far off the beam, but they, too, will enjoy the many color illustrations included in the text."
Acclaimed scholar and biographer Damrosch (Literature/Harvard Univ.; Jonathan Swift: His Life and His World, 2013, etc.) brings decades of study to this analysis of William Blake's art, poetry, religion, and philosophy.Read full book review >
CLEMENTINE by Sonia Purnell
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 27, 2015

"A riveting, illuminating life of a remarkable woman."
The biography of Winston Churchill's unfailing champion. Read full book review >
TWO HOURS by Ed Caesar
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTS
Released: Oct. 27, 2015

"Caesar's winning prose will keep even armchair readers turning pages, perhaps tuning in to watch the next marathon."
A wide-ranging and compelling account of marathons and the very fastest men who run them. Read full book review >
THE ENGLISH AND THEIR HISTORY by Robert Tombs
HISTORY
Released: Oct. 27, 2015

"European history buffs and readers undaunted by a 1,000-page history will find a lucid, engaging, and pleasantly nondidactic book, with helpful maps."
A massive yet accessible study of the historical and linguistic continuity that make up the English people. Read full book review >
SINATRA by James Kaplan
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 27, 2015

"An appropriately big book for an oversized artistic presence."
The meatiness of the material justifies the length of the author's second (and concluding) volume of his biography of Frank Sinatra (1915-1998). Read full book review >
HUNGER MAKES ME A MODERN GIRL by Carrie Brownstein
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 27, 2015

"Unlike many rock star memoirs, there's no sense that this book is a chore or a marketing effort. It's revealing and riveting. On the page as in her songs, Brownstein finds the right words to give shape to experience."
First-class account of the life and times of an essential riot grrrl and the band she helped create. Read full book review >
THUNDER & LIGHTNING by Lauren Redniss
NATURE & TRAVEL
Released: Oct. 27, 2015

"A highly atmospheric, entertainingly earnest, and intimate engrossment with the world's most popular topic of conversation."
Redniss (Radioactive: Marie & Pierre Curie: A Tale of Love and Fallout, 2010) delivers an arrestingly unconventional exploration of weather.Read full book review >
WE WERE BROTHERS by Barry  Moser
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 20, 2015

"With masterful narrative control, Moser reveals the narrowness of perspective as well as the limitations of memory."
This boyhood memoir reveals much more than it ever explicitly states, with its tight focus on boyhood, brotherhood, estrangement, and reconciliation. Read full book review >
A FIELD PHILOSOPHER'S GUIDE TO FRACKING by Adam Briggle
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Released: Oct. 19, 2015

"Goliath takes it right between the eyes in this unique take on the convoluted politics, science, and cultural issues at stake regarding fracking."
Out of the university and into the streets, Briggle (Philosophy/Univ. of North Texas) brings the practice of "field philosophy" to the question of whether fracking is feckless or feasible. Read full book review >
TED HUGHES by Jonathan Bate
Released: Oct. 15, 2015

"Unauthorized, yes, but worthy of becoming the standard life of Hughes. Illuminating, elegant, and excellent."
Imaginative, comprehensive biography of the writer best known in the United States not for his own work, but for his tragic marriage to the doomed Sylvia Plath. 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.