There’s nothing like the look that crosses an author’s face when they hear they’ve won the Kirkus Prize. And most years, you’d need to book a flight to Austin to see it.
This year—wherever you were in the world—you could witness those unforgettable moments with us when the Kirkus Prize ceremony streamed live on YouTube, with host Meg LaBorde Kuehn at the Austin Central Library, our usual venue in Austin, Texas, and 20 of the authors, illustrators, and translators joining us live on Zoom.
Ahead of the ceremony, I sat down on Zoom with 17 of the 2020 finalists for a series of “cocktail party” conversations to learn where you’d find them at an in-person cocktail party, how they learned they were shortlisted for the Kirkus Prize, what they’d sing at Kirkus’ semisecret private-room karaoke afterparty; and much more.
Then 2019 winners Colson Whitehead, Saeed Jones, and Jerry Craft came on Zoom to discuss what the Kirkus Prize has meant to them and share words of encouragement for this year’s finalists.
Portions of those conversations were shown during the ceremony Thursday night; here are the complete videos.
Megan Labrise is the editor at large and host of the Fully Booked podcast.