ALA unveils shortlist for 2020 Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction
For Immediate Release
Communications and Marketing Office
ALA Media Relations
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 2020 selection committee chair Donna Seaman at the Reference and User Services Association’s Book and Media Awards (BMAs) event at American Library Association (ALA) Midwinter Meeting in Philadelphia, PA, on Sunday, January 26, 2020 from 5 -7 p.m.
Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction 2020 Shortlist
“Figuring,” by Maria Popova. Published by Pantheon Books, a division of Penguin Random House LLC.
Maria Popova brings her zest for facts and passion for biography to this exhilarating and omnivorous inquiry into the lives of geniuses who “bridged the scientific and poetic,” spinning a fine web connecting such barrier-breakers as Margaret Fuller, Ada Lovelace, Frederick Douglass, and Rachel Carson.
“The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America from 1890 to the Present,” by David Treuer. Published by Riverhead Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.
David Treuer presents a richly dimensional “counternarrative” to the long-standing depiction of defeated, hopeless Native Americans, documenting, instead, the many ways each assault against Indigenous lives and cultures gave rise to a strong Native resolve not only to survive, but to emerge revitalized.
“Midnight in Chernobyl: The Untold Story of the World’s Greatest Nuclear Disaster,” by Adam Higginbotham. Published by Simon & Schuster.
Adam Higginbotham has created a thoroughly researched, fast-paced, engrossing, and revelatory account of what led up to and what followed the explosion of Reactor Four at the Chernobyl nuclear-power plant on April 26, 1986, focusing on the people involved as they faced shocking circumstances that are having complex and significant global consequences.
Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction 2020 Shortlist
“Feast Your Eyes,” by Myla Goldberg. Published by Scribner, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, Inc.
In this mesmerizing, brilliantly structured, and deeply insightful novel about a radical photographer and single mother and how her controversial images affect her daughter, Myla Goldberg brings into provocative focus the need to make art, the obstacles confronting women artists, and the transcendence of love.
“Lost Children Archive,” by Valeria Luiselli. Published by Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Penguin Random House LLC.
Intense and timely, Valeria Luiselli’s novel tracks husband-and-wife audio documentarians as they travel cross-country with their two children and deep into the painful history of the Apache people and the present immigration crisis on the Southwest border, while freshly exploring themes of conquest and remembrance, and powerfully conveying the beauty of the haunted landscape.
“The Water Dancer,” by Ta-Nehisi Coates. Published by One World, an imprint of Random House, a division of Penguin Random House LLC.
Ta-Nehisi Coates’ first novel is a profoundly imagined and psychologically and socially perceptive drama about the atrocities of slavery sieved through the experiences and convictions of young Hiram Walker, who, as the son of an enslaved woman and the owner of a prominent Virginia estate, possesses a strange and liberating power.
The Carnegie Medal winner announcements will take place during the ALA Midwinter Meeting & Exhibits, which now offer all ALA book and media award announcements in the same 24 hours, with the Book & Media Awards (BMA) preceding the ALA Youth Media Award (YMA) announcements. Carnegie Medal winners will each receive $5,000. All the finalists will be honored during a celebratory event at ALA’s 2020 Annual Conference in Chicago, IL.
The awards, established in 2012, 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 and booksellers 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 and the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA).
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.
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 includes a growing archive of 200,000+ 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.
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.