Julie Otsuka and Ed Yong are the winners of the 2023 Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction, the American Library Association announced in a news release.
Otsuka took home the fiction prize for her novel The Swimmers, about a group of people whose lives are thrown into disarray when their beloved community swimming pool is forced to close. In a starred review, a critic for Kirkus wrote of the book, “The combination of social satire with an intimate portrait of loss and grief is stylistically ambitious and deeply moving.”
Yong won the nonfiction award for his An Immense World: How Animal Senses Reveal the Hidden Realms Around Us. The book was a finalist for the Kirkus Prize and a nominee for the PEN/E.O. Wilson Award; a Kirkus reviewer praised it as “one of the year’s best popular natural histories.”
“Julie Otsuka proves herself a master of narrative voice, thrillingly balancing the incredible vitality of community life with the myriad challenges faced by individuals and families within that community,” said Stephen Sposato, chair of the prizes’ selection committee. “And, standing out even during a recent golden age of nature writing, Ed Yong dazzles with a deeply considered exploration of the many modes of sensory perception that life has evolved to navigate the world, written with exhilarating freshness.”
The Carnegie Medals, which “recognize the best fiction and nonfiction books for adult readers published in the U.S.,” were established in 2012. Previous winners have included Donna Tartt for The Goldfinch, Colson Whitehead for The Underground Railroad, Sally Mann for Hold Still, and Kiese Laymon for Heavy.
Michael Schaub, a journalist and regular contributor to NPR, lives near Austin, Texas.