ALA today announced six books as finalists for the 2013 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 US. Along with a medal presentation at ALA’s annual conference in Chicago on June 30, each winning author will receive $5,000 and the four finalists will each receive $1,500.
The 2013 shortlisted titles are:
Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction:
The Mansion of Happiness: A History of Life and Death, by Jill Lepore. Published by Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc.
From board games, including one called The Mansion of Happiness, to public-library children’s rooms to cryogenics, historian Lepore’s episodic inquiry into our evolving perceptions of life and death is full of surprises, irreverent wit, and arresting perceptions.
Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher: The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis, by Timothy Egan. 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.
Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic, by David Quammen. Published by W. W. Norton & Company.
Science writer Quammen schools readers in the fascinating if alarming facts about zoonotic diseases—animal infections that sicken humans, such as rabies and Ebola. Drawing on the dramatic history of virology, he profiles brave viral sleuths and recounts his own hair-raising field adventures. A vital, in-depth account offered in the hope that knowledge will engender preparedness.
Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction:
Canada, by Richard Ford. Published by Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.
“First, I’ll tell you about the robbery our parents committed.” So begins Ford’s riveting novel, 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.
The Round House, by Louise Erdrich. Published by Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.
In her 14th novel, Erdrich writes in the voice of a man reliving the fateful summer of his thirteenth year. Erdrich’s intimacy with her characters energizes this tale of hate crimes and vengeance, her latest immersion in the Ojibwe and white community she has been writing about for more than two decades.
This Is How You Lose Her, by Junot Díaz. Published by Riverhead Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA), Inc.
Fast paced and street-talking tough, Díaz’s stories unveil lives shadowed by prejudice and poverty and bereft of reliable love and trust. These are precarious, unappreciated lives in which intimacy is a lost art, masculinity a parody, and kindness, reason, and hope struggle to survive like seedlings in a war zone.
The awards, established in 2012, recognize the best of the best in fiction and nonfiction books 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.
The awards are made possible 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 publications and the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA). Annotations and more information on the finalists and the awards can be found at: ala.org/carnegieadult.