Books reviewed by Kirkus Reviews that earned the Kirkus Star and that have original publication dates between Nov. 1, 2017, and Oct. 31, 2018, are automatically nominated for the 2018 Kirkus Prize. Children’s and teen books are frequently dependent on finished art and design to have their full effect. In order to ensure that judges have access to finished copies of all titles under consideration, the eligibility dates for the 2018 Kirkus Prize for Young Readers’ Literature are Oct. 1, 2017, through Sep. 28, 2018. Both traditionally published and self-published books reviewed by Kirkus that earn the Star are eligible. Because a number of indie books are submitted for review past publication date, a starred indie book is considered eligible if the date Kirkus publishes its review online falls within the date parameters of Sept. 1, 2017 to Aug. 31, 2018. Kirkus’ editors and staff evaluate each of the nominated books to determine which ones make it to the next round of consideration, which is conducted by a panel of judges. Books can not be submitted just for the Kirkus Prize; eligibility for the Prize begins with the process of having a book reviewed by Kirkus Reviews. (If your book is traditionally published, you or your publicist can learn how to submit your book for review by reading these guidelines. If your book is self-published, you can submit your book to Kirkus’ indie department by following these guidelines.)

The Prize has three categories: the Kirkus Prize for Fiction, the Kirkus Prize for Nonfiction and the Kirkus Prize for Young Readers’ Literature. Both traditionally published and self-published books reviewed by Kirkus that earn the Star are eligible, although eligibility for self-published books is determined by the date of the online publication of Kirkus’ review, not the books’ publication dates, since self-published books are sometimes submitted for review to Kirkus after publication.

Each of the three categories is composed of three highly regarded judges: a writer, a bookseller or librarian and a Kirkus critic. Our judges are chosen for their intellectual curiosity, sense of fairness and wide knowledge of literary excellence across the various genres within the category of books they’re judging. Judges will confer among themselves to choose the six finalists in their categories (finalists are announced on September 25, 2018), and will then meet in person to choose the winners before the announcement on October 25. In the Young Readers’ Literature category, the finalists will include two picture books, two middle-grade books and two teen books.

For answers to other questions, please visit the FAQ page for the 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 85 years of discerning, thoughtful criticism Kirkus Reviews has contributed to both the publishing industry and readers at large. Books that earn the Kirkus Star with publication dates between Nov. 1, 2017 to Oct. 31, 2018 (see FAQ for exceptions), are automatically nominated for the 2018 Kirkus Prize. Six finalists in each of three categories will be announced on Tuesday, September 25, 2018. The Kirkus Prize judges will select three winners on Thursday, October 25, 2018.