2017 Nominees: nonfiction

NON-FICTION
Released: Nov. 15, 2016

"A timely, significant book."
Washington Post reporter Lowery chronicles his assignment to Ferguson, Missouri, following the police killing of Michael Brown and how he became the newspaper's go-to journalist covering the use of deadly force against unarmed black men in other cities. Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 31, 2016

"Essential reading in the ongoing national re-examination of mass incarceration."
A chilling portrait of America's "securest and most punitive" prisons. Read full book review >
A $500 HOUSE IN DETROIT by Drew Philp
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: April 11, 2017

"A standout in the Detroit rehab genre."
A young man finds joy in a "place they said no one could love." Read full book review >
A COUNTRY BETWEEN by Stephanie Saldaña
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 1, 2017

"A serene memoir in which the author takes valuable time to regard the character of the Palestinian people and their way of life."
Reflections of a young American wife and mother trying to make a home in war-torn Jerusalem. Read full book review >
NON-FICTION
Released: June 13, 2017

"An important book about a major scientific advance but not for the faint of heart. Readers not up to speed on high school biology should prepare themselves with a good popular primer on DNA, such as Matthew Cobb's Life's Greatest Secret (2015)."
A pair of biochemists offer a fresh examination of the "newest and arguably most effective genetic-engineering tool." Read full book review >
A DISAPPEARANCE IN DAMASCUS by Deborah Campbell
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Sept. 5, 2017

"In the stormwater's swirl, Campbell has found a bright and tender leaf to follow, and the effect on readers will be transformative."
A Canadian journalist covering the plight of Iraqis who fled to Syria a decade ago enlists the help of an Iraqi woman in Damascus—friendship and disaster ensue. Read full book review >
A FINE MESS by T.R. Reid
NON-FICTION
Released: April 4, 2017

"Though Reid's topic may be anathema to many readers, he makes it relentlessly revelatory and simple to understand."
An exploration of the absurd complexity of the American tax system and an astute comparison to many examples of simpler, effective tax collection by other governments around the world. Read full book review >
A LAND WITHOUT BORDERS by Nir Baram
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: April 11, 2017

"From horror to fatigue to indifference, an important look forward and back that provides a grass-roots sense that one state needs to satisfy sovereignty for all."
An honest and troubling snapshot of Israel—both Palestinian and Israeli—that reveals the creeping realization that a two-state solution may no longer be possible. Read full book review >
A LIFE DISCARDED by Alexander Masters
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 18, 2016

"A lovely, elegant book of interest to historians and biographers as much as to general readers."
An affecting, bittersweet portrait of an anonymous person rescued—if rescued it is—from obscurity quite by accident. Read full book review >
A LITTLE BOOK ON FORM by Robert Hass
ESSAYS & ANTHOLOGIES
Released: April 4, 2017

"Erudite, witty, and well-informed, this encyclopedic labor of love will become the go-to book on poetic form for years to come."
What makes a poem tick. Read full book review >
A REALLY BIG LUNCH by Jim Harrison
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 24, 2017

"If this is the last we get from Harrison, it serves as a fitting memorial."
A celebration of eating well and drinking even better as a recipe for the good life. Read full book review >
A REVOLUTION IN COLOR by Jane Kamensky
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 4, 2016

"There may never be a better biography of Copley than this sumptuous, exquisitely told story of a man and his time."
A majestic portrait of the American painter. 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 Sept. 1, 2016 to Aug. 31, 2017 (see FAQ for exceptions), are automatically nominated for the 2017 Kirkus Prize, and the winners will be selected on November 2, 2017, by an esteemed panel composed of nationally respected writers and highly regarded booksellers, librarians and Kirkus critics.