'All the Light We Cannot See,' 'Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption' win 2015 Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction

For Immediate Release
Wed, 07/01/2015

Contact:

Macey Morales

Media Relations Manager

American Library Association

312-280-4393

mmorales@ala.org

SAN FRANCISCO —The American Library Association (ALA) is pleased to announce this year’s recipients of the Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction, funded, in part, by a grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York. “All the Light We Cannot See,” by Anthony Doerr won the medal for fiction, and “Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption,” by Bryan Stevenson received the medal for nonfiction. The selections were unveiled during the Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction Ceremony and Reception. The event took place on June 27 in San Francisco and is an annual highlight of the ALA Annual Conference & Exhibition.

The medals, established in 2012, recognize the best fiction and nonfiction books for adult readers published in the U.S. during the previous year and serve as a guide to help adults select quality reading material. They are the first single-book awards for adult books given by the ALA and reflect the expert judgment and insight of library professionals who work closely with adult readers. Brad Hooper, adult books editor, Booklist and winner of the 2015 Louis Shores Award for excellence in reviewing, serves as chair of the 2015 awards selection committee.

“Three years ago, at the first Carnegie Medals announcement ceremony, Nancy Pearl, former selection committee chair, greeted the audience members by saying, ‘We are going to make publishing history tonight,’” explained Hooper. “And as the current chair of the selection committee, I say that we are still making publishing history. The esteem in which the Carnegie medals are held by librarians, publishers, authors and the reading public continues to grow.

“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.”

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.

Before a crowd of more than 300, including ALA leadership and event featured speaker Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Doerr and Stevenson shared remarks and accepted their medals and $5,000 prizes.

Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction 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.

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.

The awards are made possible, in part, by a grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York 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).

Annotations and more information regarding 2015 winners, finalists and the awards are available at http://www.ala.org/carnegieadult. Book cover artwork and event photos are available for download at http://tinyurl.com/cm15artwork .

About Carnegie Corporation of New York
Carnegie Corporation of New York was established in 1911 by Andrew Carnegie to promote the advancement and diffusion of knowledge and understanding. In keeping with this mandate, the Corporation's work focuses on the issues that Andrew Carnegie considered of paramount importance: international peace, the advancement of education and knowledge, and the strength of our democracy.    

About Booklist
Booklist is the book review magazine of the American Library Association, considered an essential collection development and readers' advisory tool by thousands of librarians for more than 100 years. Booklist Online includes a growing archive of 160,000+ reviews available to subscribers as well as a wealth of free content offering the latest news and views on books and media.

About the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA)
The Reference and User Services Association is responsible for stimulating and supporting excellence in the delivery of general library services and materials, and the provision of reference and information services, collection development, readers' advisory, and resource sharing for adults, in every type of library.

About ALA
Established in 1876, the American Library Association (ALA) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization created to provide leadership for the development, promotion, and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.

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