At a reception last night in Chicago, Richard Ford and TImothy Egan were awarded the second annual Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction. Ford took home fiction honors for his novel, Canada (Ecco), while Egan took home the nonfiction prize for Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher: The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt).

Both Ford and Egan were on hand to accept their medals, and $5,000 prizes. In addition, the remaining finalists received certificates and $1,500. Fiction finalists include The Round House by Louise Erdrich (Harper) and This is How You Lose Her by Junot Díaz (Riverhead).

Nonfiction finalists included The Mansion of Happiness: A History of Life and Death by Jill Lepore (Knopf) and Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic by David Quammen (W.W.Norton & Company).

The awards, established in 2012, recognize the best of the best in fiction and nonfiction for adult readers published in the U.S. the previous year and "serve as a guide to help adults select quality reading material." They are the first single-book awards for adult books given by the American Library Association and reflect the expert judgment and insight of library professionals who work closely with adult readers. Publishers Weekly contributing editor Nancy Pearl, librarian, NPR commentator, and best-selling author of “Booklust,” serves as chair of the awards’ selection committee.

The Carnegie awards highlight what has been a very strong ALA annual conference, featuring great authors and speakers, a jammed exhibit floor, and high attendance.

Attendance was expected to rise for Chicago, not only a great, centrally-located host city, but also home of the American Library Association offices. Although final numbers including walk-ins and last minute attendees won't be published until Wednesday, as of Friday evening, June 21, pre-registration numbers showed a significant spike of more than 5,000, with 16,656 attendees in Chicago compared to 11,746 in Anaheim, and 5,250 exhibitors compared to 3,880 in 2012.