Out of Austin, Texas, three writers have emerged from a ceremony with fresh laurels in hand: C.E. Morgan, Jason Reynolds and Susan Faludi have won Kirkus Prizes this year — for fiction, young readers’ literature and nonfiction, respectively. The prize, awarded by the literary publication Kirkus Reviews, doles out $ 50,000 apiece along with the honors in every single category.
Judges plucked the 3 winning books from the pool of much more than 1,one hundred books that received a starred overview from Kirkus Critiques in roughly the past 12 months.
C.E. Morgan’s novel The Sport of Kings “takes the kind of dauntless, breathtaking chances readers after routinely expected from the boldest of American novels,” the panel of judges wrote in their citation. The book, which embraces decades of Kentucky horse-racing history, treats race with as a lot care as the competitions on the track. And its vast scope has attracted adjectives from critics like “sweeping,” “daring” and — to borrow an additional description from the Kirkus judges — “profoundly orchestrated.”
But then, if you’ve been listening to All Issues Considered, you might have identified that currently. This summer, when the show asked booksellers for their recommendations, Californian John Evans broke out Morgan’s opus as 1 of his suggestions:
Jason Reynolds, meanwhile, earned the Kirkus Prize for young readers’ literature with the book As Brave as You, which features a risk-averse kid from Brooklyn on a go to to his grandparents in Virginia. In a statement, the judges explained their selection:
“By way of eleven-year-old Genie’s irrepressible curiosity, readers encounter a complex landscape peopled by an ensemble of richly created characters. Reynolds’ novel, told with compassion, humor, and an eye to historical context, introduces us to a phenomenal, actually unforgettable family members.”
Reynolds, who spent his personal childhood in Washington, D.C., told NPR earlier this year that he’s been inspired by a similar change of scenery in his personal life — only in the reverse direction. When he left college, he headed to Brooklyn, where his struggle to make a life as an adult led him to a worthwhile lesson about fear.
“Be not afraid of discomfort. If you cannot place oneself in a situation exactly where you are uncomfortable then you will never grow. You will in no way adjust. You’ll never ever understand. And I feel for me, the discomfort of drowning is what taught me to swim.”
The Kirkus Prize isn’t the only literary honor to take notice of Reynolds this year. His novel Ghost is also on the shortlist for this year’s National Book Award.
The winner in the nonfiction category, Susan Faludi’s In the Darkroom, depicts another, a lot more intimate departure. In it, the Pulitzer winner tells of receiving an e mail from her estranged father, who delivers some startling news: He has undergone gender reassignment surgery. What follows is a “compelling, lyrical, and candid exploration of identity, gender, and the intensely complicated relationship among a transgendered father and her daughter,” according to judges.
“A lot of the queries I have about identity boil down to no matter whether identity is some thing you choose or the extremely issue you cannot escape,” Faludi told NPR’s Renee Montagne this summer season. “And my father’s personal understanding of that exploration was important to her figuring out one thing about herself and to attaining a particular peace with herself.”
Faludi added: “Life doesn’t give you any basic, fast fixes.”