2023 Kirkus Prize Finalists Announced

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The finalists for the 2023 Kirkus Prize are out. The Kirkus Prize, in its 10th year, is one of the richest literary awards in the world and grants a prize of $50,000 every year to authors for works of fiction, nonfiction, and young readers’ literature.

This year’s finalists were books published between November 1, 2022 and October 31, 2023. Each of them earned the Kirkus star — which Kirkus uses to mark “books of exceptional merit” — even before being nominated for the prize.

Tom Beer, Kirkus’ editor-in-chief, said of the finalists, “From gorgeously written and moving fiction, to deeply researched and clear-eyed nonfiction, to young readers’ literature that entertains and educates, the finalists represent the very best books that Kirkus has seen this year.”

The 2023 Kirkus Prize Finalists are:


cover of Let Us Descend by Jesmyn Ward

Witness by Jamel Brinkley

Birnam Wood by Eleanor Catton

White Cat, Black Dog by Kelly Link

The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store by James McBride

The Bee Sting by Paul Murray

Let Us Descend by Jesmyn Ward

Young Readers

cover of America Redux: Visual Stories From Our Dynamic History by Ariel Aberg-Riger

Together We Swim by Valerie Bolling, illustrated by Kaylani Juanita

João by a Thread by Roger Mello, translated by Daniel Hahn

Julia and the Shark by Kiran Millwood Hargrave, illustrated by Tom de Freston

The Skull: A Tyrolean Folktale by Jon Klassen

America Redux: Visual Stories From Our Dynamic History by Ariel Aberg-Riger

The Eternal Return of Clara Hart by Louise Finch

The winners will be announced in New York City’s Tribeca neighborhood on October 11 at 7 pm.

Find more news and stories of interest from the book world in Breaking in Books.