Richard Ford and Timothy Egan win Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction

For Immediate Release
Wed, 07/03/2013


Communications and Marketing Office

ALA Media Relations


CHICAGO — The American Library Association (ALA) is pleased to announce this year’s recipients of the Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction, which are funded through a grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York. Richard Ford’s “Canada” received the medal for fiction, and Timothy Egan’s “Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher: The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis” received the medal for nonfiction. The selections were announced on June 30 at the Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction Awards Presentation held during the ALA Annual Conference in Chicago.

The awards, established in 2012, recognize the best of the best in fiction and nonfiction for adult readers published in the U.S. 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.  Nancy Pearl, librarian, literature expert, NPR commentator, and best-selling author of “Booklust” serves as chair of the awards’ selection committee.

“I know I speak for all award committee members when I say that being one of the judges for the Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction is both a great pleasure and a great responsibility,” said Pearl.  “We had many spirited exchanges before we narrowed the longlist of 50 titles to the shortlist of six, bitterly complaining amongst ourselves that we were limited to only six! Selecting the two winners from this stellar group of titles was incredibly difficult. The two winners, while differing greatly in subject matter, tone, and style, share two important characteristics: they're both terrific reads, both illuminating and absorbing and each is simply wonderfully written."

Ford’s "Canada," published by Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, begins “First, I’ll tell you about the robbery our parents committed.” The riveting novel is an atmospheric and haunting tale of family, folly, exile and endurance told in the precise and searching voice of Dell Parsons, a young man forced to navigate a harsh world.

In Egan’s "Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher: The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis," published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, popular historian Egan turns the life and work of master photographer Edward Curtis into a gripping and heroic story of one man’s commitment to the three-decade project that ultimately resulted in The North American Indian, a 20-volume collection of words and pictures documenting the Native American Peoples of the American West.

Ford and Egan accepted their medals and $5,000 prizes in person at the event.

Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction finalists each received $1,500. Fiction finalists include “The Round House” by Louise Erdrich, published by Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers and “This is How You Lose Her” by Junot Díaz, published by Riverhead Books a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

Nonfiction finalists include "The Mansion of Happiness: A History of Life and Death," by Jill Lepore, published by Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc., and "Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic," by David Quammen published by W.W.Norton & Company.

The Medals are funded through 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. The awards are co-sponsored and administered annually by ALA’s Booklist magazine and the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA).

Members of the 2013 Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction selection committee included: Chair, Nancy Pearl; Brad Hooper, editor, Adult Books, Booklist, Chicago; Danise Hoover, associate librarian, Public Services, Hunter College Library, New York; A. Issac Pulver, director, Saratoga (N.Y.) Springs Public Library; Nonny Schlotzhauer, librarian, Collection Development/Social Sciences, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pa.; Donna Seaman, senior editor, Adult Books, Booklist, Chicago; and Rebecca Vnuk, editor, Reference and Collection Management, Booklist, Chicago.

Annotations and more information on the finalists and the awards can be found at

About Carnegie Corporation of New York
Carnegie Corporation of New York was created by Andrew Carnegie in 1911 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 135,000+ 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, a division of the American Library Association, represents librarians and library staff in the fields of reference, collection development, readers’ advisory and resource sharing in every type of library. RUSA is the foremost organization of reference and information professionals who make the connections between people and the information sources, services, and collection materials they need.  

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.



Macey Morales
Media Relations Manager, ALA
Katherine Kelly
Media Relations Support, ALA