ALA unveils shortlist for 2024 Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction
For Immediate Release
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. 2024 selection committee chair Aryssa Damron will announce the two medal winners at the Reference and User Services Association’s (RUSA) Book and Media Awards livestreaming event, held during LibLearnX in Baltimore on Saturday, January 20, at 9:45 a.m. Eastern.
2024 Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction Shortlist titles include:
Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction 2024 Shortlist
- “The Berry Pickers,” by Amanda Peters. Catapult. In 1962, an Indigenous Mi’kmaq family is in Maine to pick summer blueberries when their youngest child, four-year-old Ruthie, disappears. Her six-year-old brother, Joe, saw her last. Told in alternating, first-person chapters from Joe and a narrator called Norma, this braided novel fascinates. While little is easy for Peters’ characters, in the end, for all of them, there is hope.
- “Denison Avenue,” by Christina Wong and Daniel Innes. ECW Press.
In a mixed-media narrative saturated with a sense of poignancy and grief, Wong Cho Sum navigates the sudden death of her husband by a hit-and-run driver. As an “invisible” elderly observer, she compares the old Chinatown she remembers with this new, slowly gentrifying one. Innes’ detailed and beautiful hand-drawn illustrations are eye-catching complements to Wong’s writing.
- “Let Us Descend,” by Jesmyn Ward. Scribner, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, Inc.
Sold away from her mother, teenage Annis, daughter of a Black mother and the white man who enslaved them, must endure a grueling march to the slave markets of New Orleans with only her wits and her mother’s ivory awl to help her survive. Ward’s vivid imagery and emotionally resonant prose convey the horrors of chattel slavery in stark, unforgettable detail.
Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction 2024 Shortlist
- “The Great Displacement: Climate Change and the Next American Migration,” by Jake Bittle. Simon & Schuster.
This multifaceted examination considers numerous communities that have been wiped out by changing weather patterns and foretells a future filled with additional displacements. Environmental journalist Bittle uses a combination of science reporting and individuals’ stories to explain the fates of towns deemed uninhabitable and ends with a plea for comprehensive environmental policy change and urgent action.
- “The Talk,” by Darrin Bell. Henry Holt and Company.
In 2019, Bell became the first Black editorial cartoonist to win a Pulitzer Prize. In this brilliant graphic memoir, Bell’s growth from a trusting child afraid of dogs to an esteemed, nationally syndicated cartoonist is a marvel to witness through his spectacular panels and pages. A must-read manifesto against racist brutality.
- “We Were Once a Family: A Story of Love, Death, and Child Removal in America,” by Roxanna Asgarian. Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
Investigative reporter Asgarian’s years of work getting to know the birth families of six children killed by their adoptive parents in 2018 uncovered a devastating web of intergenerational poverty, violence, and wrenching separations. She exposes the tragedy of what happened and the ongoing, insupportable failings of the foster system.
Carnegie Medal winners will each receive $5,000. All the finalists will be honored during a celebratory event in June 2024 during the ALA Annual Conference in San Diego.
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 http://www.ala.org/carnegieadult. Also, book cover artwork is available for download at http://www.ala.org/rusa/awards/carnegie-medals/resources.
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 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.
The American Library Association (ALA) is the foremost national organization providing resources to inspire library and information professionals to transform their communities through essential programs and services. For more than 140 years, ALA has been the trusted voice of libraries, advocating for the profession and the library’s role in enhancing learning and ensuring access to information for all. For more information, visit www.ala.org.