• The Hub

    News, Notes, Talk

    Here are the finalists for the 2021 Kirkus Prize.

    Snigdha Koirala

    September 13, 2021, 9:00am

    This morning, Kirkus announced its 18 finalists for the 2021 Kirkus Prize, which each year celebrates the best in fiction, nonfiction, and young readers’ literature. The winner in each category will be awarded $50,000, making the Kirkus Prize one of the country’s richest literary awards. Previous winners include Saeed Jones, Lesley Nneka Amirah, Ta-Nehisi Coates, and Ling Ma.

    Books that receive the rare and coveted starred review from Kirkus are automatically nominated for the prize. This year, the finalists were selected from 749 young readers’ literature titles, 328 fiction titles, and 454 nonfiction titles. Over 10,000 titles were reviewed by Kirkus during this eligibility period.

    “Our judges have surveyed a remarkably diverse field and identified books that deserve the widest possible readership,” says Tom Beer, the editor-in-chief of Kirkus Reviews, in a press release. “That has always been our mission at Kirkus, and we’re thrilled to further it with this year’s prizes.”

    A virtual ceremony will be held in Austin, Texas on October 28th, where each category winner will be named. Congratulations to the finalists!


    Finalists for the 2021 Kirkus Prize


    Mariana Enríquez, tr. Megan McDowell, The Dangers of Smoking in Bed (Hogarth/Crown)

    Honorée Fanonne Jeffers, The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois (Harper)

    Jocelyn Nicole Johnson, My Monticello (Henry Holt)

    Pajtim Statovci, tr. David Hackston, Bolla (Pantheon)

    Colson Whitehead, Harlem Shuffle (Doubleday)

    Joy Williams, Harrow (Knopf)


    Brian Broome, Punch Me Up to the Gods: A Memoir (Mariner Books)

    Dara Horn, People Love Dead Jews: Reports From a Haunted Present (Norton)

    Tiya Miles, All That She Carried: The Journey of Ashley’s Sack, a Black Family Keepsake (Random House)

    Kristen Radtke, illustrated by the author, Seek You: A Journey Through American Loneliness (Pantheon)

    Katherine E. Standefer, Lightning Flowers: My Journey To Uncover the Cost of Saving a Life (Little, Brown Spark)

    Juan Villoro, tr. Alfred MacAdam, Horizontal Vertigo: A City Called Mexico (Pantheon)


    Picture Books

    NoNieqa Ramos, ill. Jacqueline Alcántara, Your Mama (Versify/HarperCollins)

    Carole Boston Weatherford, ill. Floyd Cooper, Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre (Carolrhoda)

    Middle Grade

    Nikki Grimes and 19 illustrators, Legacy: Women Poets of the Harlem Renaissance (Bloomsbury)

    Christina Soontornvat, All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys’ Soccer Team (Candlewick)

    Young Adult

    Wai Chim, The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling (Scholastic)

    Sharon G. Flake, The Life I’m In (Scholastic)

  • Become a Lit Hub Supporting Member: Because Books Matter

    For the past decade, Literary Hub has brought you the best of the book world for free—no paywall. But our future relies on you. In return for a donation, you’ll get an ad-free reading experience, exclusive editors’ picks, book giveaways, and our coveted Joan Didion Lit Hub tote bag. Most importantly, you’ll keep independent book coverage alive and thriving on the internet.

    %d bloggers like this: