ALA Gives First Awards for Adult Literature

The American Library Association awarded its inaugural Andrew Carnegie Awards for Excellence in Literature at a ceremony last night in Anaheim, California. The organization that has for decades awarded the Caldecott and Newbery medals for children's and young adult literature is honoring for the first time books of fiction and nonfiction for adult readers.

Irish author and Man Booker alumna Anne Enright took the Carnegie Award in fiction for her fifth novel, The Forgotten Waltz, published in the United States by Norton. Also shortlisted were Russell Banks for his twelfth novel, Lost Memory of Skin (Ecco), and Pulitzer finalist Karen Russell for her first, Swamplandia! (Knopf).

In nonfiction, Robert K. Massie's biography Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman (Random House) won the Carnegie Award. The late Manning Marable's much-lauded biography Malcolm X (Viking) and James Gleick's The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood (Pantheon) were also finalists.

Each winner, selected by a committee chaired by librarian Nancy Pearl, received five thousand dollars, and each finalist received fifteen hundred dollars. As with the Caldecott and Newbery medals, copies of the honored books will also be decorated with a seal announcing the award.