Book awards are part of a long established literary tradition. The Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction is a new arrival.The award is sponsored by a grant from the Carnegie Foundation and additional support from the American Library Association (Reference and User Services Association) and Booklist magazine. This award is the first of its kind for the American Library Association. The association sponsors many awards for children's and young adult literature. It now has an award for books for adults.
Unlike awards like the Pulitzer and National Book Award where authors and/or publishers are invited to submit their work, the Carnegie Medal Selection committee determines the list of finalists and selects the winner. The committee is composed of librarians both from public and academic libraries, as well as staff from the librarian review journal Booklist. The books for consideration are drawn from the Booklist Editor’s Choice and one of The American Library Association book lists. An initial list of 50 books is created and the finalists are selected from that list. The books must have been published in the United States during the last calendar year. The award achieves two objectives, it recognizes the authors, and at the same time it shines a needed spotlight on librarians and their efforts to select and promote literature.
The medal is named for Andrew Carnegie who came to this country from Scotland and died the second richest man in the United States. He funded the construction of over 1,600 public libraries in the United States, which featured innovations like a centrally located reference desk and open access to the stacks. His libraries are still in existence today, and his foundation continues to support libraries and the works they do.
Winners will receive a medal and $5,000. Finalists will each receive a $1,500 awards. The winners will be announced in June at the annual American Library Association Conference in Anaheim, CA.
The nominees for non fiction are:
- Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman by Robert K. Massie
- The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood by James Gleick
- Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable
The nominees for fiction are:
- The Forgotten Waltz by Anne Enright
- Lost Memory of Skin by Russell Banks
- Swamplandia! by Karen Russell
Come check these books out from the Port Jefferson Free Library.