The American Library Association has unveiled the shortlist for the annual Andrew Carnegie Medals, with six books competing in two categories for the prestigious literary prizes.
James McBride’s Deacon King Kong, a Kirkus Prize finalist, made the Carnegie fiction shortlist along with Megha Majumdar’s A Burning and Ayad Akhtar’s Homeland Elegies. Majumdar’s book, which the ALA praised as “an electrifying debut,” also appeared on this year’s National Book Award longlist.
Rebecca Giggs’ Fathoms: The World in the Whale is a finalist for the Carnegie nonfiction prize; it was also a finalist for this year’s Kirkus Prize. Also making the shortlist are Claudia Rankine’s Just Us: An American Conversation and Natasha Trethewey’s Memorial Drive: A Daughter’s Memoir.
The Carnegie Medals come with a cash prize of $5,000. Established in 2012, are among the country’s youngest literary awards.
Past winners have included Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See, Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch, and Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad in the fiction category, and Matthew Desmond’s Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City, Kiese Laymon’s Heavy: An American Memoir, and Sally Mann’s Hold Still: A Memoir with Photographs in the nonfiction category.
The winners of the Carnegie Medals will be announced on Feb. 4, 2021.
Michael Schaub is a Texas-based journalist and regular contributor to NPR.