Literary journal Kirkus Reviews announced on Tuesday the finalists for its first annual writing award, the Kirkus Prize. Bryan Stevenson’s forthcoming book Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption is one of six finalists in nonfiction.
The nominees were chosen from among more than 1000 titles published from November 1, 2013, to October 31, 2014, that received a starred review in Kirkus, an 81-year-old publishing industry trade magazine best known for its prepublication assessments.
The books were evaluated by three separate groups of judges, including author Sloane Crosley, who served on the nonfiction panel. “We looked for topical variety and stellar writing, books that were wall-to-wall with research, often groundbreaking research, that told their stories in a fascinating way,” Ms. Crosley told NPR. “Or books that were heartfelt and human but also filled with all the information needed to make us feel like we got the fullest story and the best possible delivery of that story.”
The other nonfiction finalists are Jonathan Swift by Leo Damrosch, a biography that won a National Book Critics Circle Award in March; Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast; The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert; The Lagoon: How Aristotle Invented Science by Armand Marie Leroi; and Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty.
The six fiction finalists are The Blazing World by Siri Hustvedt; Euphoria a novel by Lily King inspired by the life of the anthropologist Margaret Mead; All Our Names by Dinaw Mengestu; Florence Gordon by Brian Morton; The Remedy for Love by Bill Roorbach; and The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters. A third prize will be given for young readers’ literature.
Winners will be announced at a ceremony in Austin, Texas, on October 23, just before the start of the Texas Book Festival.