A week and a half ago, my husband, Kevin and I attended the awards ceremony for the Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction. It took place at the end of the third day of the ALA (American Library Association) Annual Conference in Anaheim, California, and was a nice top-off to a weekend of rushing around grabbing author interviews for our website, Scripts & Scribes. Our feet and shoulders were aching and my calves, strangely, would ache the next day. (I have yet to figure out the reason for that, since all my other leg muscles were just fine.) We’d made multiple trips back to the car with bags full of ARC’s, and it was time to finally time to sit down, rest, and watch some awardin’.
The ceremony was a rather historic event, as this was the first year the Andrew Carnegie Medals were presented. In fact, there was apparently a bit of a mad rush of behalf of the superstar selection committee to get the finalists, and eventually the winners, chosen in time for the ceremony at ALA. But they did it. (I don’t know how people read that fast. I’m not a slow reader, but I just can’t absorb a book a day the way some people can. Different wiring, I suppose.)
There were three nominations each for both fiction and nonfiction.
For fiction: The Forgotten Waltz by Anne Enright, Swamplandia! by Karen Russell, and Lost Memory of Skin by Russell Banks.
And for nonfiction: Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman by Robert Massie,
The Information: A History, A Theory, A Flood by James Gleick, and Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable (who sadly died shortly after the book’s completion in 2011.)
The Forgotten Waltz and Catherine the Great ended up taking the top prizes, but clearly all six of these books are well worth a read.
The ALA is determined that the Andrew Carnegie Medals become the adult counterparts to the Newberys and Caldecotts. And based on the nominations and winners this year, I’d say they’re well on their way.