ALA unveils shortlist for 2022 Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction

For Immediate Release
Mon, 11/08/2021


Communications and Marketing Office

ALA Media Relations


CHICAGO –Today, the American Library Association (ALA) 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. 2022 selection committee chair Terry Hong will announce the two medal winners at the Reference and User Services Association’s Book and Media Awards (BMAs) virtual event on Sunday, Jan. 23, 2022, 5 p.m. CT, during LibLearnX: The Library Learning Experience

2022 Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction shortlist titles include:

Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction 2022 Shortlist

“The Five Wounds,” by Kirstin Valdez Quade. W. W. Norton & Company.
Amadeo Padilla filled the role of Jesus during the re-creation of the Crucifixion as part of Holy Week, and he also has heavy burdens to bear in his real-life in Las Penas, New Mexico, with his pregnant teen daughter, Angel and an ailing matriarch. Quade delivers a nuanced and authentic tale of characters who understand the inevitability of fate but try to forge ahead anyway in the hope of breaking free. 

“Matrix,” by Lauren Groff. Riverhead Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.
In the twelfth century, Marie, former child crusader and “bastardess heir to the crown” of France and England, at age 17, considered unmarriageable due to her great height and plainness, arrives at the dismal abbey that she will eventually transform as abbess over the course of Groff’s splendidly daring, descriptive and spine-tingling novel of faith, power and temptation. 

“The Thousand Crimes of Ming Tsu,” by Tom Lin. Little, Brown and Company, a division of Hachette Book Group.
In Utah, in 1869, Ming Tsu reckons he has killed some 200 men and is now on his way to killing the five who had beaten him half to death, stolen his wife, and had him sentenced to 10 years of forced labor building the Central Pacific Railroad. Two years later, Ming has escaped and is ready for retribution. Infused with magic realism, Lin’s beautifully imagined first novel is a transcendent epic.

Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction 2022 Shortlist

“Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America, 1619–2019,” by Ibram X. Kendi and Keisha N. Blain. One World, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.
African American history is a communal quilt, crisscrossed with the stitches of elders, youth, LGBTQ folk, mothers, fathers, revolutionaries and poets. Editors Kendi and Blain honor this multilayered heritage in a monumental work of collaborative history. Ninety Black writers each take on a five-year period from 1619–2019, and each 40-year section concludes with a poem adding up to a seamless collection that crackles with rage, beauty, bitter humor, and the indomitable will to survive.

“A Little Devil in America: Notes in Praise of Black Performance,” by Hanif Abdurraqib.
Random House, a division of Penguin Random House LLC.
Blending pop-culture essays, memoir and poetry, Abdurraqib delves into the many iterations of Black artistic expression through an often deeply personal lens. Divided into five “movements,” these pieces offer an expansive exploration of subjects ranging from the often-tragic lives of legendary Black artists to close examination of a singular performance. Startling, layered and timely, this is an essential, illuminating collection.

“Seek You: A Journey through American Loneliness,” by Kristen Radtke. Pantheon Books, a division of Penguin Random House LLC.
Radtke examines isolation as a social, biological, and personal phenomenon in a graphic-essay style, centering her inquiry around four human behaviors—listen, watch, click and touch­­ing—and considering television, American “loners,” social media, and the need for touch in prose and vector-drawn illustrations, rendering contextual and emotional detail in a provocative and engaging look at loneliness.

Carnegie Medal winners will each receive $5,000. All the finalists will be honored during a celebratory event in the summer of 2022 during ALA's annual conference.

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).

More information on the finalists and the awards can be found at Also, book cover artwork is available for download at

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 a book-review magazine that has been published by the American Library Association for more than 100 years, and is widely viewed as offering the most reliable reviews to help libraries decide what to buy and to help library patrons and students decide what to read, view or listen to. It comprises two print magazines, a digital magazine for library patrons, an extensive website and database, e-newsletters, webinars, and other resources that support librarians in collection development and readers' advisory.

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 nonprofit 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.