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    Here are the finalists for the 2020 Kirkus Prize.

    Rasheeda Saka

    September 9, 2020, 9:00am

    This morning, Kirkus Reviews announced its 18 finalists for this year’s Kirkus Prize in Fiction, Nonfiction, and Young Readers’ Literature.

    The finalists were selected by a panel of judges from the pool of titles that received Kirkus Stars in the last year—this amounts to 352 fiction titles, 395 nonfiction titles, and 629 young readers’ literature titles, out of the more than 10,000 total books reviewed during the same period. (!) This year’s judges include Chang-rae Lee, Kiese Laymon, and Nicola Yoon.

    “This has been an unprecedented and challenging year for authors, publishers, booksellers, and librarians,” says Kirkus Reviews editor-in-chief Tom Beer in a press release. “We’re thrilled that the Kirkus Prize can help bring attention to 18 books of exceptional merit that deserve the widest possible readership. The diversity and timeliness of all the finalists speak to our present moment, but they will endure as lasting works of literature.”

    The winner in each category will receive a prize of $50,000. Previous winners include Colson Whitehead, Ling Ma, and Derrick Barnes.


    2020 Kirkus Prize Finalists


    Tola Rotimi Abraham, Black Sunday

    Juliana Delgado Lopera, Fiebre Tropical

    Elena Ferrante, tr. Ann Goldstein, The Lying Life of Adults

    Raven Leilani, Luster

    James McBride, Deacon King Kong

    Douglas Stuart, Shuggie Bain



    Eric Jay Dolin, A Furious Sky: The Five-Hundred-Year History of America’s Hurricanes

    Rebecca Giggs, Fathoms: The World in the Whale

    Deirdre Mask, The Address Book: What Street Addresses Reveal About Identity, Race, Wealth, and Power

    Aimee Nezhukumatathil, World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, and Other Astonishments

    Mychal Denzel Smith, Stakes Is High: Life After the American Dream

    Isabel Wilkerson, Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents


    Young Readers’ Literature 

    Picture Books

     Derrick Barnes, illustrated by Gordon C. James, I Am Every Good Thing

    Carole Lindstrom, illustrated by Michaela Goade, We Are Water Protectors 

    Middle Grade

    Hanna Alkaf, The Girl and the Ghost 

    Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, Fighting Words 

    Young Adult

    Elizabeth Acevedo, Clap When You Land 

    Jason Reynolds & Ibram X. Kendi, Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You: A Remix of the National Book Award-winning Stamped From the Beginning


    The three winners of the 2020 Kirkus Prize will be announced at a special virtual ceremony via the Austin Public Library in Austin, Texas on Thursday, November 5 at 5:00pm (Central) / 6:00pm (Eastern).

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