'The Sympathizer,' 'Hold Still,' receive 2016 Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction

For Immediate Release
Sun, 01/10/2016

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Macey Morales
Deputy Director
Public Awareness Office
American Library Association
312 280 4393

BOSTON —The American Library Association selects “The Sympathizer,” by Viet Thanh Nguyen, published by Grove Press, an imprint of Grove Atlantic, as the winner of the 2016 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction, and “Hold Still: A Memoir with Photographs,” by Sally Mann, published by Little, Brown, and Company, Hachette Book Group, as the winner of the 2016 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction.  The selections were announced this evening during the RUSA Book and Media Awards Ceremony and Reception that are part of the ALA Midwinter Meeting and Exhibits taking place at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center from Jan. 8 – 12. 

Viet Thanh Nguyen’s bravura debut novel, “The Sympathizer,” illuminates the double-mindedness of a half-French, half-Vietnamese spy as he confronts impossible and dire situations in divided, war-torn Vietnam and the polarized U.S., coalescing into a probing and unsettling tale of political and military failures.

Mann’s “Hold Still: A Memoir with Photographs,” offers a vital, witty, and bracingly honest account of family, a beloved Virginia farm, and the why and how of making art, revealing in the process the deep wellsprings of her poetic and complexly disquieting images.

“Choosing the two winners of the Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction is no easy task,” stated Award Chair Nancy Pearl. “The committee reviewed hundreds of titles, and the reward for all our hard work is that we have found two winners—and four other finalists—that readers won’t be able to put down or soon forget.”

This is the first time the Carnegie Medal winner announcements were made during the 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.  During the celebratory event, winning authors will each receive a medal and $5,000. The four finalists will each receive $1,500.

With the Youth Media Awards (YMA) following the morning after the Carnegie Medals for Excellence, the ALA Midwinter Meeting & Exhibits now offers all ALA book and media award announcements within the same 24 hours.

“As libraries transform to advance our legacy supporting literacy and creating a more digitally inclusive society, we find ourselves as partners in learning, exploration and inspiration,” said ALA President Sari Feldman. “Literary prizes such as the Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence illustrate how today’s librarians are an invaluable resource for adult readers who are looking for the best of the best in fiction and nonfiction titles.”

The Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction were established in 2012 and recognize the best fiction and nonfiction books for adult readers published in the U.S. in the previous year. 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.

2016 nonfiction finalists include  “H is for Hawk,” by Helen Macdonald, published by Grove Press, an imprint of Grove Atlantic, and “The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt's New World,” by Andrea Wulf, published by Alfred A. Knopf, Penguin Random House, LLC.

The 2016 fiction finalists include “The Book of Aron,” by Jim Shepard, published by Alfred A. Knopf, Penguin Random House, LLC, and “A Little Life: A Novel,” by Hanya Yanagihara, published by Doubleday, Penguin Random House, LLC.

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 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.

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 170,000+  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.