Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction & Nonfiction

2019 Winners

The 2019 Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction were announced at the RUSA Book and Media Awards event at the American Library Association Midwinter Meeting in Seattle on Sunday, January 27, 2019. The winners will each receive $5,000. All the finalists will be honored during a celebratory event, sponsored by NoveList, at ALA’s 2019 Annual Conference in Washington, D.C.
Read the press release.


Rebecca Makkai
The Great Believers

Book cover: THe Great BelieversMakkai’s ambitious novel explores the complexities of friendship, family, art, fear, and love in meticulously realized settings––WWI-era and present-day Paris, and 1980s Chicago––while insightfully and empathically illuminating the early days of the AIDS epidemic.



Kiese Laymon
Heavy: An American Memoir

Book cover: Heavy: An American MemoirIn his artfully crafted and boldly revealing memoir, writing professor Laymon recalls the traumas of his Mississippi youth; the depthless hunger that elevated his weight; his obsessive, corrective regime of diet and exercise; his gambling, teaching, activism, and trust in the power of writing.


About the Awards

The Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction were established in 2012 to recognize the best fiction and nonfiction books for adult readers published in the U.S. the previous year. The winners (one for fiction, one for nonfiction) are announced at an event at the ALA Midwinter Meeting; winning authors receive a $5,000 cash award. For more information on award seals, please visit the ALA store

A longlist comprised of no more than 50 titles is released in September.  Six finalists, three fiction and three nonfiction, are announced in October.  The winners are announced at the RUSA Book and Media Awards Ceremony at the American Library Association's Midwinter Meeting.

Who Selects the Winners

The shortlisted authors and eventual winners reflect the expertise of a eight-member selection committee of library professionals from across the country who work closely with adult readers. The annually appointed selection committee includes a chair, one member of the American Booksellers Association, three Booklist editors or contributors, and three former members of RUSA CODES Notable Books Council.

The 2019 selection committee included the following experts who work closely with adult readers:

  • Annie Bostrom, 2019 chair, is Booklist’s Associate Editor for Adult Books. Along with reviewing both fiction and nonfiction, she is involved in the magazine’s extensive readers’ advisory programming efforts, including webinars and live events.
  • Craig Clark, Columbus Ohio, has worked as a branch manager and adult services librarian for several Ohio public libraries. He is the author of Read On...Sports: Reading Lists for Every Taste, has served as the chair of RUSA’s Notable Books Council, and writes for Booklist and NoveList.
  • Sherri Gallentine has been the head book buyer at Vroman’s Bookstore and Book Soup in Pasadena, California, for the last eight years and has worked in the book business for 25 years.
  • Marlene Harris, solo librarian, TAPPI (Technical Association of the Pulp and Paper Industry) since 2016, has been a book reviewer and blogger at Reading Reality since 2011. She reviews for Library Journal and is a contributor to NoveList.
  • Susan Maguire is Booklist’s senior editor for collection management and library outreach. Among her duties, she is the host of the magazine’s RA Conversations series of live events. Before coming to Booklist, she was Readers’ Services Coordinator at the Chapel Hill (North Carolina) Public Library.   
  • Kathy Sexton has worked both as an independent bookseller and a readers’-advisory librarian. Currently, she is a Booklist reviewer and the Readers Services Supervisor at the Skokie (Illinois) Public Library, where she coordinates book discussions, author events, reading programs, and generally helps people find their next great read. 
  • Sarah Barbara Watstein, dean, Lemieux Library and McGoldrick Learning Commons at Seattle University, also serves as co-editor of Reference Services Review. She has served on numerous ALA and RUSA book, print and media award committees during her more than 30-year career in libraries.

The 2020 Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence selection committee, announced on March 7, 2019, includes the following experts who work closely with adult readers:

  • Donna Seaman, 2020 Chair, is Booklist’s Adult Books Editor and is the author of Identity Unknown: Rediscovering Seven American Women Artists. Donna has also served as a juror for the National Book Critics Circle Awards and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize.
  • Hilary Albert is Head of Reference at Mahopac Public Library in Mahopac, New York.
  • Barbara Bibel is a reference librarian and Booklist reviewer from Berkeley, California.
  • Carol Haggas serves was a readers’ services advisor for the St. Charles Public Library, St. Charles, Illinois, and is a Booklist reviewer.
  • Stacey J. Hayman is a Booklist reviewer and a librarian at Rocky River Public Library in Rocky River, Ohio.
  • Sarah Godwin is Manager of Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh, North Carolina.
  • Patrick J. Wall is Library Director at University City Public Library in University City, Missouri.

Supporting the Awards

The Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction are made possible by a grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York on the occasion of the foundation’s centennial and in recognition of Andrew Carnegie's deep belief in the power of books and learning to change the world.

ALA Co-sponsors

Booklist and the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) cosponsor the awards. Booklist also sponsors the Michael L. Printz Award ,  Odyssey Award and Alex Awards. RUSA’s Collection Development and Evaluation Section (CODES) administers Notable Books, The Reading List, The Listen List and the Sophie Brody Award.