The inaugural winners of the Andrew Carnegie Awards for Excellence in Literature were announced last Sunday at the American Library Association‘s (ALA) annual conference. There were two prizes awarded, one for fiction and one for nonfiction. The Carnegie Award for Fiction went to Anne Enright for The Forgotten Waltz, and the Nonfiction Award went to Robert K. Massie for Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman.
Many are familiar with the ALA’s other prestigious awards, the Newbery and Caldecott, but those honors are awarded to children’s and young adult books, respectively, and there was no prize for adult literature. The Carnegie Award now fills that void. The two winners were chosen by library professionals working in conjunction with adult readers.
The selection process makes the Carnegie Award unique, as the majority of other major book awards are judged by writers and critics. “In many ways, librarians are the first book critics many readers come into contact with, and hence we are deeply thankful for their insight and guidance,” said Vartan Gregorian, president of Carnegie Corporation of New York and a former president of the New York Public Library. “The Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction take that notion one step further and place the librarians’ seal of approval on these wonderful books.”
Both Enright and Massie will receive a medal and $5,000. Each finalist receives $1,500; both fiction and non-fiction finalists are listed after the jump. (more…)