The American Library Association (ALA) is proud to announce the first recipients of the Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction, funded through a grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York. Anne Enright’s The Forgotten Waltz received the medal for fiction, and Robert K. Massie’s Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman received the nonfiction prize. The medals recognize the best fiction and nonfiction books for adult readers published the previous year in the United States. The selections were unveiled during the ALA Annual Conference in Anaheim, California.
Enright’s The Forgotten Waltz, published by W. W. Norton & Company, the vicissitudes of extramarital love and the obstructions to its smooth flow—including spouses, children, and the necessary secrecy surrounding an affair—are charted in sharp yet supple prose. In a year without a Pulitzer Prize in fiction, this award becomes even more meaningful for the literary community. Massie’s Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman, published by Random House, an imprint of the Random House Publishing Group, is a compulsively readable biography of the fascinating woman who, through a combination of luck, personality, and a fine mind, rose from her birth as a minor German princess to become the Empress of all the Russias.
The two finalists in fiction were Lost Memory of Skin by Russell Banks and Swamplandia! by Karen Russell, while the finalists in nonfiction were The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood by James Gleick and Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by the late Manning Marable.
Looking for ways to include the award-winners in your programs? Download the programming guide (PDF), which includes ideas for encouraging your patrons to read the books on the award’s longlist and the shortlist, including the winners and finalists, as well as useful links to more information and reading group guides. A free downloadable poster and bookmark is also available for promoting your programs.
This is the first time that ALA is offering single-book awards for adult trade fiction and nonfiction. Winners and finalists were selected by library professionals who work closely with adult readers—a departure from most major book awards, which are judged by writers and critics. The medals are made possible by a grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York and are co-sponsored by ALA’s Booklist magazine and the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA).