Authors Jesmyn Ward and James McBride are among the nominees for the 10th annual Kirkus Prizes

Aug 30, 2023, 6:47 AM

NEW YORK (AP) — Novels by Jesmyn Ward and James McBride and story collections by Jamal Brinkley and Kelly Link are among the finalists Wednesday for the 10th annual Kirkus Prizes, for which winners in fiction, nonfiction and young reader’s literature each receive $50,000.

Kirkus judges selected six books for each of the three categories, with winners to be announced Oct. 11. The awards are presented by the trade publication Kirkus Reviews.

Ward’s slave narrative “Let Us Descend” and McBride’s 20th century tale “The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store” were nominated in fiction, along with Brinkley’s “Witness,” Link’s “White Cat, Black Dog,” the acclaimed Irish novelist Paul Murray’s “The Bee Sting” and New Zealander Eleanor Catton’s “Birnam Wood.”

In nonfiction, finalists include Jennifer Homan’s George Balanchine biography “Mr. B,” Safiya Sinclair’s memoir “How To Say Babylon” and Tania Branigan’s “Red Memory: The Afterlives of China’s Cultural Revolution.” The other nonfiction nominees are Clancy Martin’s “How Not To Kill Yourself: A Portrait of the Suicidal Mind,” Héctor Tobar’s “Our Migrant Souls: A Meditation on Race and the Meanings and Myths of ‘Latino’” and Ilyon Woo’s “Master Slave Husband Wife: An Epic Journey From Slavery to Freedom.”

Young people’s literature nominees include Valerie Bolling’s “Together We Swim,” illustrated by Kaylani Juanita; and the Brazilian author Roger Mello’s “João,” translated from the Portuguese by Daniel Hahn. Others cited were Kiran Millwood Hargrave’s “Julia and the Shark,” illustrated by Tom de Freston; Jon Klassen’s “The Skull;” Ariel Aberg-Riger’s “America Redux;” and Louise Finch’s “The Eternal Return of Clara Hart.”

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Authors Jesmyn Ward and James McBride are among the nominees for the 10th annual Kirkus Prizes