Kirkus Prize
Awarded for
CountryUnited States
Presented byKirkus Reviews
First awarded2014

The Kirkus Prize is an American literary award conferred by the book review magazine Kirkus Reviews. Established in 2014, the Kirkus Prize bestows US$150,000 annually. Three authors are awarded US$50,000 each, divided into three categories: Fiction, Nonfiction, and Young Readers' Literature.[1] It has been described as one of the most lucrative prizes in literature.[2][3]

Eligibility and selection

Books reviewed by Kirkus Reviews that have received the Kirkus Star are automatically eligible for the Kirkus Prize and are selected for nomination. The eligibility dates of publication for books is typically between November 1 of the previous year and October 31 of the current year, with few exceptions. Self-published books that have earned the Kirkus Star are eligible for the Kirkus Prize. However, self-published books are not eligible based on their date of publication but rather the date of publication of their online review by Kirkus Reviews. All books must first be reviewed by Kirkus Reviews to be considered.[4]

The Prize is divided into three categories: the Kirkus Prize for Fiction, the Kirkus Prize for Nonfiction and the Kirkus Prize for Young Readers' Literature. Each category is judged by a panel of three judges: a writer, a bookseller or librarian, and a Kirkus Reviews critic. The editors and staff of Kirkus Reviews evaluate each of the nominated books, conducting a first round of eliminations. The panels of judges then decide upon six finalists in each of the three categories. In the Young Readers' Literature category, the six finalists include two picture books, two middle-grade books and two teen books. The three winners are announced at a ceremony. The prize money for books with multiple authors and illustrators is divided fairly as decided by the Prize's judges and administrators.[4]

Winners and finalists


Year Winners and finalists Book Ref(s).
2014 Blue ribbon Lily King Euphoria [5]
Siri Hustvedt The Blazing World
Dinaw Mengestu All Our Names
Brian Morton Florence Gordon
Bill Roorbach The Remedy for Love
Sarah Waters The Paying Guests
2015 Blue ribbon Hanya Yanagihara A Little Life [6]
Susan Barker The Incarnations
Lucia Berlin
Stephen Emerson (ed.)
A Manual for Cleaning Women
Lauren Groff Fates and Furies
Valeria Luiselli
Christina MacSweeney (tr.)
The Story of My Teeth
Jim Shepard The Book of Aron
2016 Blue ribbon C. E. Morgan The Sport of Kings [7]
Adam Haslett Imagine Me Gone
Joe McGinniss Jr. Carousel Court
Annie Proulx Barkskins
Amor Towles A Gentleman in Moscow
Colson Whitehead The Underground Railroad
2017 Blue ribbon Lesley Nneka Arimah What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky [8]
Mohsin Hamid Exit West
Hari Kunzru White Tears
Carmen Maria Machado Her Body and Other Parties
Alice McDermott The Ninth Hour
Jesmyn Ward Sing, Unburied, Sing
2018 Blue ribbon Ling Ma Severance [9]
Naima Coster Halsey Street
Lauren Groff Florida
Eduardo Halfon
Lisa Dillman (tr.)
Daniel Hahn (tr.)
Nafissa Thompson-Spires Heads of the Colored People
Katie Williams Tell the Machine Goodnight
2019 Blue ribbon Colson Whitehead The Nickel Boys [10]
Carolina de Robertis Cantoras
Laila Lalami The Other Americans
Valeria Luiselli Lost Children Archive
Yūko Tsushima
Geraldine Harcourt (tr.)
Territory of Light
Ocean Vuong On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous
2020 Blue ribbon Raven Leilani Luster [11]
Tola Rotimi Abraham Black Sunday
Juliana Delgado Lopera Fiebre Tropical
Elena Ferrante
Ann Goldstein (tr.)
The Lying Life of Adults
James McBride Deacon King Kong
Douglas Stuart Shuggie Bain


Year Winners and finalists Book Ref(s).
2014 Blue ribbon Roz Chast Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant? [5]
Leo Damrosch Jonathan Swift: His Life and His World
Elizabeth Kolbert The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History
Armand Marie Leroi The Lagoon: How Aristotle Invented Science
Thomas Piketty
Arthur Goldhammer (tr.)
Capital in the Twenty-First Century
Bryan Stevenson Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption
2015 Blue ribbon Ta-Nehisi Coates Between the World and Me [6]
John Ferling Whirlwind: The American Revolution and the War That Won It
Helen MacDonald H is for Hawk
Adam Tooze The Deluge: The Great War, America and the Remaking of the Global Order, 1916–1931
Simon Winchester Pacific: Silicon Chips and Surfboards, Coral Reefs and Atom Bombs, Brutal Dictators, Fading Empires, and the Coming Collision of the World's Superpowers
Andrea Wulf The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt's New World
2016 Blue ribbon Susan Faludi In the Darkroom [7]
Sarah Bakewell At the Existentialist Café: Freedom, Being, and Apricot Cocktails
Matthew Desmond Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City
Michael Eric Dyson The Black Presidency: Barack Obama and the Politics of Race in America
Beth Macy Truevine: Two Brothers, a Kidnapping, and a Mother's Quest: A True Story of the Jim Crow South
J. D. Vance Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis
2017 Blue ribbon Jack E. Davis The Gulf: The Making of an American Sea [8]
Edward Dolnick The Seeds of Life: From Aristotle to da Vinci, from Sharks' Teeth to Frogs' Pants, the Long and Strange Quest to Discover Where Babies Come
Patricia Lockwood Priestdaddy: A Memoir
Valeria Luiselli
Lizzie Davis (tr.)
Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in Forty Questions
Michael W. Twitty The Cooking Gene: A Journey Through African American Culinary History in the Old South
Laura Dassow Walls Henry David Thoreau: A Life
2018 Blue ribbon Rebecca Solnit Call Them by Their True Names: American Crises (and Essays) [9]
Shane Bauer American Prison: A Reporter's Undercover Journey into the Business of Punishment
Kiese Laymon Heavy: An American Memoir
Beth Macy Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company That Addicted America
Sarah Smarsh Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth
Timothy Snyder The Road to Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America
2019 Blue ribbon Saeed Jones How We Fight for Our Lives: A Memoir [10]
Hanif Abdurraqib Go Ahead in the Rain: Notes to A Tribe Called Quest
Naja Marie Aidt
Denise Newman (tr.)
When Death Takes Something from You Give It Back: Carl's Book
Patrick Radden Keefe Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland
Dina Nayeri The Ungrateful Refugee: What Immigrants Never Tell You
Rachel Louise Snyder No Visible Bruises: What We Don't Know About Domestic Violence Can Kill Us
2020 Blue ribbon Mychal Denzel Smith Stakes Is High: Life After the American Dream [11]
Eric Jay Dolin A Furious Sky: The Five-Hundred-Year History of America's Hurricanes
Rebecca Giggs Fathoms: The World in the Whale
Deirde Mask The Address Book: What Street Addresses Reveal About Identity, Race, Wealth, and Power
Aimee Nezhukumatathil
Fumi Nakamura (ill.)
World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, and Other Astonishments
Isabel Wilkerson Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents

Young Readers' Literature

Year Winners and finalists Book Ref(s).
2014 Blue ribbon Kate Samworth Aviary Wonders Inc.: Spring Catalog and Instruction Manual [5]
Cece Bell El Deafo
Jen Bryant
Melissa Sweet (ill.)
The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus
Jack Gantos The Key That Swallowed Joey Pigza
E. K. Johnston The Story of Owen: Dragon Slayer of Trondheim
Don Mitchell The Freedom Summer Murders
2015 Blue ribbon Pam Muñoz Ryan
Blue ribbon Dinara Mirtalipova (ill.)
Echo [6]
Martha Brockenbrough The Game of Love and Death
Lauren Child The New Small Person
Daniel José Older Shadowshaper
Duncan Tonatiuh Funny Bones: Posada and His Day of the Dead Calaveras
Jonah Winter
Shane W. Evans (ill.)
Lillian's Right to Vote: A Celebration of the Voting Rights Act of 1965
2016 Blue ribbon Jason Reynolds As Brave as You [7]
Sherman Alexie
Yuyi Morales (ill.)
Thunder Boy Jr.
Ashley Bryan Freedom Over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life by Ashley Bryan
Traci Chee The Reader
Russell Freedman We Will Not Be Silent: The White Rose Student Resistance Movement That Defied Adolf Hitler
Meg Medina Burn Baby Burn
2017 Blue ribbon Cherie Dimaline The Marrow Thieves [8]
Jairo Buitrago
Rafael Yockteng (ill.)
Elisa Amado (tr.)
Walk with Me
Cao Wenxuan
Helen Wang (tr.)
Meilo So (ill.)
Bronze and Sunflower
Karen English It All Comes Down to This
Lilli L'Arronge
Madeleine Stratford (tr.)
Me Tall, You Small
Angie Thomas The Hate U Give
2018 Blue ribbon Derrick Barnes
Blue ribbon Gordon C. James (ill.)
Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut [9]
Elizabeth Acevedo The Poet X
Tomi Adeyemi Children of Blood and Bone
Meg Medina Merci Suárez Changes Gears
Yuyi Morales Dreamers
Jacqueline Woodson Harbor Me
2019 Blue ribbon Jerry Craft
Blue ribbon Jim Callahan (color.)
New Kid [10]
Kwame Alexander
Kadir Nelson (ill.)
The Undefeated
Juana Felipe Herrera
Lauren Castillo (ill.)
Angie Thomas On the Come Up
Juan Pablo Villalobos
Rosalind Harvey (tr.)
The Other Side: Stories of Central American Teen Refugees Who Dream of Crossing the Border
Alicia D. Williams Genesis Begins Again
2020 Blue ribbon Derrick Barnes
Blue ribbon Gordon C. James (ill.)
I Am Every Good Thing [11]
Elizabeth Acevedo Clap When You Land
Kimberly Brubaker Bradley Fighting Words
Hanna Alkaf The Girl and the Ghost
Carole Lindstrom
Michaela Goade (ill.)
We Are Water Protectors
Jason Reynolds
Ibram X. Kendi
Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You: A Remix of the National Book Award-winning Stamped from the Beginning

See also


  1. ^ Dwyer, Colin (September 30, 2014). "Book News: First-Ever Kirkus Prize Picks 18 Finalists". NPR. Retrieved November 23, 2015.
  2. ^ Dwyer, Colin (October 25, 2018). "Here Are The Winners Of The 2018 Kirkus Prizes". NPR. Retrieved November 24, 2020.
  3. ^ Schaub, Michael (September 25, 2018). "Literary awards season heats up with $50,000 Kirkus Prize finalists". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 24, 2020.
  4. ^ a b "Kirkus Prize". Kirkus Reviews. Retrieved November 25, 2020.
  5. ^ a b c "2014 Kirkus Prize". Kirkus Reviews. Retrieved November 26, 2020.
  6. ^ a b c "2015 Kirkus Prize". Kirkus Reviews. Retrieved November 26, 2020.
  7. ^ a b c "2016 Kirkus Prize". Kirkus Reviews. Retrieved November 26, 2020.
  8. ^ a b c "2017 Kirkus Prize". Kirkus Reviews. Retrieved November 26, 2020.
  9. ^ a b c "2018 Kirkus Prize". Kirkus Reviews. Retrieved November 26, 2020.
  10. ^ a b c "2019 Kirkus Prize". Kirkus Reviews. Retrieved November 26, 2020.
  11. ^ a b c "2020 Kirkus Prize". Kirkus Reviews. Retrieved November 26, 2020.