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Kirkus announces finalists for $150,000 in literary prizes

Now in its second year, the Kirkus Prizes -- at $50,000 each, one of the heftier purses in American literary awards -- announced their finalists Wednesday morning. Winners will be announced at a ceremony in Austin, Texas, Kirkus’ home base, on Oct. 15.

To be eligible for the Kirkus Prize, a book must have been published in the U.S. in the last year and have earned a starred review in Kirkus, the magazine that provides pre-publication book reviews that are particularly important to the libraries and booksellers placing book orders.

With its high-profile -- and generous -- literary awards, Kirkus is making moves to become known to everyday readers as well.

Prizes are given in three categories: $50,000 each in fiction, nonfiction, and young readers’ literature. There are six finalists in each category, with young readers’ literature subdivided into age groups.

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One of the nonfiction finalists, Ta-Nehisi Coates, was awarded a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship on Tuesday; his book is also long-listed for the National Book Award. It’s up against Helen MacDonald’s memoir “H is for Hawk,” which has already won England’s Costa Book Award ($45,000). Two of the fiction finalists appear on the National Book Award long list.

The complete Kirkus Prize finalist list is below.

FICTION:
“The Incarnations” by Susan Barker (Touchstone/Simon & Schuster)
“A Manual for Cleaning Women” by Lucia Berlin (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
“Fates and Furies” by Lauren Groff (Riverhead)

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“The Story of My Teeth” by Valeria Luiselli; translated by Christina MacSweeney (Coffee House Press)
“The Book of Aron” by Jim Shepard (Knopf)
“A Little Life” by Hanya Yanagihara (Doubleday)

NONFICTION:
“Between the World and Me: Notes on the First 150 Years in America” by Ta-Nehisi Coates (Spiegel & Grau)
“Whirlwind: The American Revolution and the War that Won It” by John Ferling (Bloomsbury)
“H Is for Hawk” by Helen Macdonald (Grove)
“The Deluge: The Great War, America and the Remaking of the Global Order, 1916-1931" by Adam Tooze (Viking)
“Pacific: Silicon Chips and Surfboards, Coral Reefs and Atom Bombs, Brutal Dictators, Fading Empires, and the Coming Collision of the World’s Superpowers” by Simon Winchester (Harper)
“The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt’s New World” by Andrea Wulf (Knopf)

YOUNG READERS’ LITERATURE:
Picture Book:
“The New Small Person” by Lauren Child (Candlewick)
“Lillian’s Right to Vote: A Celebration of the Voting Rights Act of 1965" by Jonah Winter; illustrated by Shane W. Evans (Schwartz & Wade/Random House)

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Middle Grade:
“Echo” by Pam Muñoz Ryan (Scholastic)
“Funny Bones: Posada and His Day of the Dead Calaveras” by Duncan Tonatiuh (Abrams)

Teen:
“The Game of Love and Death” by Martha Brockenbrough (Levine/Scholastic)
“Shadowshaper” by Daniel José Older (Levine/Scholastic)

Book news and more; I’m @paperhaus on Twitter


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