PODCAST

Episode 239: Kirkus Prize 2021

BY MEGAN LABRISE • October 26, 2021

The Kirkus Prize judges dish with Tom and Megan ahead of our 2021 awards ceremony.

Each year the Kirkus Prize—created to celebrate the many decades of discerning criticism Kirkus Reviews has contributed to the publishing industry and readers at large—awards three $50,000 prizes for authors of fiction, nonfiction, and young readers’ literature. In this special episode of Fully Booked, host Megan Labrise and editor-in-chief Tom Beer interview Kirkus Prize author-judges Naomi Shihab Nye, Masha Gessen, and Rumaan Alam about the judges’ deliberations ahead of the 2021 Kirkus Prize ceremony. Tune in Thursday, Oct. 28 at 6 p.m. ET to see whose books they chose as this year’s best.

Then editors Laura Simeon, Eric Liebetrau, and Laurie Muchnick join us with more information on each category’s finalists.

 

The 2021 Kirkus Prize finalists:

 

FICTION:

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

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

My Monticello by Jocelyn Nicole Johnson (Henry Holt)

Bolla by Pajtim Statovci, translated by David Hackston (Pantheon)

Harlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead (Doubleday)

Harrow by Joy Williams (Knopf)

 

NONFICTION:

Punch Me Up to the Gods: A Memoir by BrianBroome (Mariner Books)

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

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

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

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

Horizontal Vertigo: A City Called Mexico by Juan Villoro, translated by Alfred MacAdam (Pantheon)

 

YOUNG READERS’ LITERATURE:

Picture Books:

Your Mama by NoNieqa Ramos, illustrated by Jacqueline Alcántara (Versify/HarperCollins) 

Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Floyd Cooper (Carolrhoda)

 

Middle Grade:

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

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

 

Young Adult:

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

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

 

Thanks to our advertisers:

The Friday Edition by Betta Ferrendell
 
The Last Crystal by Frances Schoonmaker
 
Vanishing Girls by Lisa Regan

 

Fully Booked is produced by Cabel Adkins Audio and Megan Labrise.

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The Magazine: Kirkus Reviews

We continue our coverage of 2021's best books with our favorite children's and YA titles of the year plus our regular Dec. 1 issue. 

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  • The Kirkus Star

    One of the most coveted designations in the book industry, the Kirkus Star marks books of exceptional merit.

  • The Kirkus Prize

    The Kirkus Prize is among the richest literary awards in America, awarding $50,000 in three categories annually.

    See the 2020 winners.

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