ANAHEIM, Calif., June 25, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The American Library Association (ALA) is proud to announce the first recipients of the Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction, funded through a grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York. Anne Enright's The Forgotten Waltz received the medal for fiction and Robert K. Massie's Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman received the nonfiction prize. The medals recognize the best in fiction and nonfiction books for adult readers published the previous year in the United States. The selections were unveiled during the ALA Annual Conference in Anaheim, Calif.
This is the first time that the ALA, which sponsors the prestigious Youth Media Awards, including the John Newbery and Randolph Caldecott Medals for children's literature, is offering single-book awards for adult trade fiction and nonfiction. Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction winners and finalists were selected based on the expert judgment and insight of library professionals who work closely with adult readers. This is a departure from most major book awards, which are judged by writers and critics.
In Enright's The Forgotten Waltz, published by W. W. Norton & Company, the vicissitudes of extramarital love and the obstructions to its smooth flow—including spouses, children, and the necessary secrecy surrounding an affair—are charted in sharp yet supple prose. In a year without a Pulitzer Prize in fiction, this award becomes even more meaningful for the literary community.
Massie's Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman, published by Random House, an imprint of the Random House Publishing Group, is a compulsively readable biography of the fascinating woman who, through a combination of luck, personality, and a fine mind, rose from her birth as a minor German princess to become the Empress of all the Russias.
"Congratulations to Anne Enright, Robert K. Massie and our finalists," said Nancy Pearl, high-profile librarian, NPR commentator and chair of the Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction selection committee. "We are so excited to have such a talented and deserving group of authors for our inaugural awards."
The medals are made possible by a grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York and are co-sponsored by ALA's Booklist magazine and the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA).
"In many ways, librarians are the first book critics many readers come into contact with, and hence we are deeply thankful for their insight and guidance," said Vartan Gregorian, president of Carnegie Corporation of New York and a former president of the New York Public Library. "The Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction take that notion one step further and place the librarians' seal of approval on these wonderful books."
Enright and Massie each receives a medal and $5,000, and each finalist receives $1,500.
Nonfiction finalists include The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood, by James Gleick, published by Pantheon Books, a division of Random House, Inc., and Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention, by the late Manning Marable, published by Viking Penguin, a member of Penguin Group (USA).
Fiction finalists include Lost Memory of Skin, by Russell Banks, published by Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers and Swamplandia!, by Karen Russell, published by Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc.
For annotations and more information on the winners, finalists and the awards please visit http://www.ala.org/carnegieadult .
Members of the 2012 Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction inaugural selection committee include: Chair, Nancy Pearl; A. Issac Pulver, director, Saratoga Springs (N.Y.) Public Library; Nonny Schlotzhauer, librarian, Collection Development/Social Sciences, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pa.; Danise Hoover, associate librarian, Public Services, Hunter College Library, New York; Brad Hooper, editor, Adult Books, Booklist, Chicago; Donna Seaman, senior editor, Adult Books, Booklist, Chicago; and Rebecca Vnuk, editor, Reference and Collection Management, Booklist, Chicago.
About Carnegie Corporation of New York
Carnegie Corporation of New York was created by Andrew Carnegie in 1911 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 the book review magazine of the American Library Association, considered an essential collection development and readers' advisory tool by thousands of librarians for more than 100 years. Booklist Online includes a growing archive of 135,000+ reviews available to subscribers as well as a wealth of free content offering the latest news and views on books and media.
About Reference and User Services Association (RUSA)
The Reference and User Services Association is responsible for stimulating and supporting excellence in the delivery of general library services and materials, and the provision of reference and information services, collection development, readers' advisory, and resource sharing for adults, in every type of library.
About the ALA
Established in 1876, the American Library Association (ALA) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization created to provide leadership for the development, promotion, and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.
SOURCE American Library Association