ALA unveils shortlist for 2016 Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction

For Immediate Release
Sun, 10/18/2015

Contact:

Macey Morales

Deputy Director

Public Awareness Office

mmorales@ala.org

CHICAGO-The American Library Association (ALA) today announced the six books shortlisted for the esteemed Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction, awarded for the previous year's best fiction and nonfiction books written for adult readers and published in the United States. The two medal winners will be announced by selection committee chair Nancy Pearl at the Reference and User Services Association’s Book and Media Awards event at ALA Midwinter Meeting & Exhibits in Boston on Sunday, January 10.

2016 shortlisted titles include:

Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction Shortlist

“H is for Hawk,” by Helen Macdonald, published by Grove Press, an imprint of Grove Atlantic.
Transfixed by books and birds of prey as a girl, Macdonald became a historian, writer, and professional falconer involved in avian research and conversation.  After the sudden death of her father, Macdonald trains for the first time a dangerous goshawk predator as part of her personal recovery. In this profoundly inquiring and wholly enrapturing memoir, Macdonald exquisitely and unforgettably entwines misery and astonishment, elegy and natural history, human and hawk.

“Hold Still: A Memoir in Photographs,” by Sally Mann, published by Little, Brown, and Company, Hachette Book Group.
Mann reveals the deep wellsprings of her most poetic and disconcerting images.  She shares, for the first time, the dark side of her notoriety, as well as the daring adventures behind more recent photographic series. Mann shares staggering family secrets, including her in-laws’ deceptive lives and violent deaths, her Mayflower-blue-blood mother’s scandalously unconventional childhood, and her self-sacrificing country-doctor father’s complicated legacy of slave ownership, wealth, and philanthropy.

“The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt's New World,” by Andrea Wulf, published by Alfred A. Knopf, Penguin Random House, LLC.
Andrea Wulf, a historian with an invaluable environmental perspective, presents with zest and eloquence the full story of German naturalist Alexander von Humboldt’s adventurous life and extraordinary achievements, from making science “accessible and popular” to his early warnings about how deforestation, monoculture agriculture, and industrialization would engender disastrous climate change.

Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction Shortlist

“The Book of Aron,” by Jim Shepard, published by Alfred A. Knopf, Penguin Random House, LLC.
Jim Shepard, a writer of extraordinary historical vision, psychological acuity, and searing irony, presents a profoundly moving portrait of its young narrator Aron; explores, with awe, our instinct to adapt and survive; and through the evolving consciousness of his phenomenally commanding young narrator, exposes the catastrophic impact of war and genocide on children.

“A Little Life: A Novel,” by Hanya Yanagihara, published by Doubleday, Penguin Random House, LLC.
This long, claustrophobically written novel follows the lives of four college men from their early post-graduation days in New York through much of their accomplished adult lives, and backward to their childhoods. This profoundly disturbing book is about pain and compulsion, secrets and betrayals, sexuality and loss—but, finally, about friendship.

“The Sympathizer,” by Viet Thanh Nguyen, published by Grove Press, an imprint of Grove Atlantic.
Viet Thanh Nguyen’s cross-grained protagonist exposes the hidden costs in both countries of America’s tragic Asian misadventure. Nguyen’s probing literary art illuminates how Americans failed in their political and military attempt to remake Vietnam—but then succeeded spectacularly in shrouding their failure in Hollywood distortions. Compelling—and profoundly unsettling.

This is the first time the Carnegie Medal winner announcements will be made at Midwinter Meeting & Exhibits, reflecting a new calendar for the awards, with the shortlist announced in October, the winners in January, and the popular celebratory event continuing at ALA Annual Conference each year. Winning authors each receive $5,000, and the four finalists each receive $1,500.

The ALA Midwinter Meeting & Exhibits now offers 24 hours of ALA book and media award excitement with the Book and Media Awards preceding the ALA Youth Media Award (YMA) announcements.

The awards, established in 2012, recognize the best fiction and nonfiction books for adult readers published in the U.S. in 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 American Library Association and reflect the expert judgment and insight of library professionals who work closely with adult readers.

The Medals 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 on the finalists and the awards can be found at http://www.ala.org/carnegieadult.  Also  book cover artwork is available for download at http://tinyurl.com/CarnegieMedals2016 .

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 Reference and User Services Association (RUSA)
The Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) is a member community engaged in advancing the practices of connecting people to resources, information services, and collections, building relationships among members from all types of libraries, encouraging openness, innovation, and idea sharing, and promoting excellence in library services and resources.

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