“All the Light We Cannot See” and “Just Mercy: A Story Of Justice And Redemption” Win the 2015 Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction

Supported by a grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction were awarded to All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (fiction) and Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson (nonfiction). The selections were unveiled on June 27, 2015 at the ALA Annual Conference & Exhibition in San Francisco.

The medals, established in 2012, recognize the best fiction and nonfiction books for adult readers published in the U.S. during the previous year. They serve as a guide to help adults select quality reading material and reflect the expert judgment and insight of library professionals who work closely with adult readers.

“The selection committee members derive great pleasure from reading lots of wonderful books and arriving at a short list of three fiction titles and three nonfiction titles and then from that list choosing the two medal winners. It’s an unforgettable experience,” said librarian and book blogger Nancy Pearl, former selection committee chair.

Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See, published by Scribner, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc., tells intertwined stories of a sightless French girl and a German soldier. Doerr masterfully and imaginatively re-creates the harsh conditions in WWII-torn France and the strictly controlled lives of the military occupiers.

Stevenson’s Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption, published by Spiegel & Grau, an imprint of Random House, is a passionate account of ways our nation thwarts justice and inhumanely punishes the poor and disadvantaged.

Medal winners each received a $5,000 prize, and finalists each received $1,500.  Fiction finalists included Nora Webster, by Colm Tóibín, published by Scribner, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.; and On Such a Full Sea, by Chang-rae Lee, published by Riverhead Books, a member of Penguin Group, USA. Nonfiction finalists included The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History, by Elizabeth Kolbert, published by Henry Holt; and Thirteen Days in September: Carter, Begin, and Sadat at Camp David, by Lawrence Wright, published by Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, LLC.

The awards are presented in recognition of Andrew Carnegie’s deep belief in the power of books and learning to change the world, and are co-sponsored by ALA’s Booklist publications and the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA). Members of the 2015 Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction selection committee included: Chair Brad Hooper, Booklist, Chicago; Betsy Burton, owner, The King’s English, Salt Lake City; Keir Graff, Booklist, Chicago; Kathleen De La Peña McCook, University of South Florida, Tampa, Fla.; Elizabeth Olesh, Baldwin (NY) Public Library; Katharine J. Phenix, Rangeview Library District (Anythink Libraries), Thornton, Colo.; and Donna Seaman, Booklist, Chicago.

More information regarding 2015 winners, finalists and the awards is available at http://www.ala.org/carnegieadult