Longlist for 2021 Carnegie Medals Announced

October 26, 2020

On October 26, Booklist and the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) announced that 46 books (26 fiction, 20 nonfiction) have been selected for the longlist for the 2021 Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction.

“This was unquestionably a challenging year for all the obvious reasons,” said 2021 Selection Committee Chair Bill Kelly in an October 26 statement. “And yet, in the end, reading proved to be just the balm one needs to sustain us, to give hope and strength and resilience in the face of an oppressively uncertain future. In that sense, 2020 was a great year to be a reader of outstanding books, and the Carnegie committee sincerely hopes that others will find the same power we did in the books on this year’s longlist.”


  • Elliot Ackerman, Red Dress in Black and White
  • Ayad Akhtar, Homeland Elegies
  • Brit Bennett, The Vanishing Half
  • Marie-Helene Bertino, Parakeet
  • Louise Erdrich, The Night Watchman
  • Kelli Jo Ford, Crooked Hallelujah
  • Yaa Gyasi, Transcendent Kingdom
  • Julián Herbert, Bring Me the Head of Quentin Tarantino
  • Catherine Lacey, Pew
  • Raven Leilani, Luster
  • Megha Majumdar, A Burning
  • Emily St. John Mandel, The Glass Hotel
  • James McBride, Deacon King Kong
  • Colum McCann, Apeirogon
  • Fernanda Melchor, Hurricane Season
  • David Mitchell, Utopia Avenue
  • Maggie O’Farrell, Hamnet
  • Jenny Offill, Weather
  • Masatsugu Ono, Echo on the Bay
  • Marilynne Robinson, Jack
  • Douglas Stuart, Shuggie Bain
  • Graham Swift, Here We Are
  • Héctor Tobar, The Last Great Road Bum
  • Paul Yoon, Run Me to Earth
  • Charles Yu, Interior Chinatown
  • Bryan Washington, Memorial


  • Rutger Bregman, Humankind: A Hopeful History
  • Karla Cornejo Villavicencio, The Undocumented Americans
  • Barbara Demick, Eat the Buddha: Life and Death in a Tibetan Town
  • Rebecca Giggs, Fathoms: The World in the Whale
  • Michele Harper, The Beauty in Breaking
  • Miles Harvey, The King of Confidence: A Tale of Utopian Dreamers, Frontier Schemers, True Believers, False Prophets, and the Murder of an American Monarch
  • Cathy Park Hong, Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning
  • Jeffrey H. Jackson, Paper Bullets: Two Artists Who Risked Their Lives to Defy the Nazis
  • Robert Kolker, Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American Family
  • Laila Lalami, Conditional Citizens: On Belonging in America
  • Alan Mikhail, God’s Shadow: Sultan Selim, His Ottoman Empire, and the Making of the Modern World
  • Wayétu Moore, The Dragons, the Giant, the Women
  • Les Payne and Tamara Payne, The Dead Are Arising: The Life of Malcolm X
  • Claudia Rankine, Just Us: An American Conversation
  • Jenn Shapland, My Autobiography of Carson McCullers
  • Rebecca Solnit, Recollections of My Nonexistence
  • Patrik Svensson, The Book of Eels: Our Enduring Fascination with the Most Mysterious Creatures in the Natural World
  • Natasha Trethewey, Memorial Drive: A Daughter’s Memoir
  • Isabel Wilkerson, Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents
  • Jia Lynn Yang, One Mighty and Irresistible Tide: The Epic Struggle over American Immigration, 1924–1965

The six-title shortlist—three each for the fiction and nonfiction medals—will be chosen from longlist titles and announced on November 17. Kelly will announce the two medal winners at RUSA’s Book and Media Awards event, which will take place online 3–4 p.m. Central time on February 4, 2021.

The awards are funded through a grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York and are cosponsored and administered by Booklist and RUSA. The first single-book awards for adult titles given by the American Library Association (ALA), the Andrew Carnegie Medals reflect the expert judgment and insight of library and book professionals who work closely with adult readers.

Carnegie Medal winners will each receive $5,000. The six finalists and two winners will be honored during a celebratory event next summer during ALA’s Annual Conference.


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