Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction a “Dream Come True,” Says Booklist Editor

Grantees in this story

A new and important literary prize recognizing the best work of fiction and of nonfiction, has been lauded as a dream come true by Bill Ott, editor and publisher of Booklist magazine.  Read the full article

“Until now,” writes Ott in the current issue of Booklist, “the ALA [American Library Association] has never sponsored an award that recognizes the single best work of fiction and nonfiction published for adults in a given year—an award, in other words, that would do for adult trade books and adult readers what the Newbery and Caldecott Medals do for children’s literature and young readers…” 

The Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction, announced in March, were established with support from Carnegie Corporation of New York to mark its Centennial. The medals are distinctly different from other major adult book awards—which are judged by writers and critics—in that they will be selected by librarians. The shortlisted authors—and eventual winners—reflect the expert judgment and insight of library professionals who work closely with adult readers.

Ott reports that “the new award has been receiving plenty of coverage in national media over the last month,” and then provides a quick summary: “Cosponsored by Booklist and RUSA (ALA’s Reference and User Services Association), the Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction will be selected from a ‘long list’ of 50 titles drawn from RUSA’s Notable Books list and our Editors’ Choice list. The medals will recognize the best single fiction and nonfiction book for adult readers published in the U.S. in the previous year.” 

“The medals,” writes Ott, “will recognize the best single fiction and nonfiction book for adult readers published in the U.S. in the previous year. In addition to the two winners, two additional authors, short-listed in both categories, will be named finalists. The winning authors and finalists will receive cash prizes ($5,000 and $1,500 each, respectively).”  

The Booklist editor and publisher writes that “…we now have the adult book award we’ve always wanted, and it’s off to a great start, with the perfect committee chair in the irrepressible Nancy Pearl, who has become a kind of national standard-bearer for the joys of books and reading.”