A committee of librarians has done what Pulitzer Prize officials could not do this year: they selected a winning work of fiction, giving the first-ever Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction to Irish novelist Anne Enright for her book The Forgotten Waltz (W.W. Norton). Robert K. Massie, meanwhile, took home top honors for nonfiction for Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman (Random House).

The awards were emceed by Seattle librarian (and PW columnist) Nancy Pearl were announced at a reception last night at the American Library Association Annual Conference in Anaheim, CA.

Runners up for the nonfiction award were James Gleick for The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood (Pantheon) and Manning Marable’s Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention (Viking Penguin). Marable passed away on April 1, just days before his book was published.

Fiction runners-up included Russell Banks for Lost Memory of Skin (Ecco) and Karen Russell for Swamplandia! (Knopf).

Made possible by a grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the awards are co-sponsored by the American Library Association’s Booklist and the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA). The award is the library community’s first national awards for adult trade books, and hopes are the Carnegie Medals will grow in stature to that of the ALA’s Youth Media Awards, where the Newbery and Caldecott Awards are the most prestigious for children’s books.