Colson Whitehead’s novel The Nickel Boys was announced the winner in the fiction category of the Kirkus Prize 2019 on October 24, 2019.
Kirkus Reviews is a US book review magazine, founded in 1933 by Virginia Kirkus, that publishes previews of books prior to their publication. 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 the fiction category for her short story collection What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky in 2017. Those who have been shortlisted have been Tomi Adeyemi in 2018 and Dinaw Mengestu in 2014. In 2019, the only African interest in the award was with Laila Lalami for her novel The Other Americans.
Colson Whitehead was announced the winner for the fiction prize for his novel The Nickel Boys where he brilliantly dramatizes American history through the story of two boys sentenced to a hellish reform school in Jim Crow-era Florida. It is a follow-up to the Pulitzer Prize, and National Book Award-winning #1 New York Times bestseller The Underground Railroad.
Other winners on the night were Saeed Jones for How We Fight For Our Lives in the nonfiction category and Jerry Craft for New Kid in the Young Adult Category.