The Finalists for the Kirkus Awards 2022 Revealed

The finalists for the Kirkus Awards 2022 were revealed on Thursday, September 8, 2022. Here are the writers of African descent among them.

Kirkus Reviews is a US book review magazine that publishes previews of books prior to their publication founded by Virginia Kirkus in 1933. The Kirkus Prize was created to celebrate the years of criticism that Kirkus Reviews had contributed to both the publishing industry and readers at large. It is one of the richest literary awards in the world, with $50,000 bestowed annually to authors of fiction, nonfiction, and young readers’ literature.

Lesley Nneka Arimah won in the fiction category while Brian Broome won in nonfiction in 2021. 2019 was a truly Black year at Kirkus as Colson Whitehead won in the fiction category, Saeed Jones took the honours in the nonfiction category and Jerry Craft was recognised in the Young Adult Category. In 2020, Raven Leilani, Mychal Denzel Smith, Gordon C. James, and Derrick Barnes won in their categories.

The finalists for the prize were announced in a variety of categories on Thursday, September 8.

“This year’s crop of Kirkus Prize finalists is an exhilaratingly diverse collection of books on a wide range of topics from authors across the United States and around the globe,” said Tom Beer, Kirkus’ editor-in-chief. “Chosen by our hardworking judges from among the very best books our critics reviewed in the past year, these titles are truly on the top shelf of contemporary literature.”

These are the writers of African descent among the finalists;


Judges: Author Deesha Philyaw (The Secret Lives of Church Ladies), bookseller Luis Correa, Kirkus critic Wendy Smith, and Kirkus fiction editor Laurie Muchnick


God’s Children Are Little Broken Things, Arinze Ifeakandu


Judges: Hanif Abdurraqib (A Little Devil in America: Notes in Praise of Black Performance), librarian Lillian Dabney, Kirkus critic Sarah Norris, and Kirkus nonfiction editor Eric Liebetrau.


  • By Hands Now Known: Jim Crow’s Legal Executioners, Margaret A. Burnham
  • The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story, edited by Nikole Hannah-Jones, Caitlin Roper, Ilena Silverman, and Jake Silverstein;

Young Readers Literature

Judges: author-illustrator Jerry Craft (New Kid), librarian and educator Junko Yokota, Kirkus critic Alec B. Chunn, and Kirkus young readers’ editor Laura Simeon.


  • The Year We Learned to Fly, Jacqueline Woodson and illustrator Rafael López.

The winners will be announced in a ceremony at the Austin Central Library in Austin, Texas on October 27. The ceremony, the first in-person one since 2019, will be live-streamed on the Kirkus’ YouTube channel.

Scholastica Moraa Declared the Winner of the Kendeka Prize for African Literature 2022
Nominees Announced for the 2022 The Book Behind Awards | How to Vote