The American Library Association has chosen The Great Believers, by Rebecca Makkai, published by Viking, as the winner of the 2019 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction, and Heavy: An American Memoir, by Kiese Laymon, published by Scribner, as the winner of the 2019 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction.
The selections were announced at the Reference and User Services Association's Book and Media Awards this past weekend during the ALA Midwinter Meeting in Seattle. The awards, established in 2012, are the ALA's highest (and first) single-book honors for adult books. Carnegie Medal winners each receive a $5,000 purse.
“It was an incredible year of reading and discussing the best books of 2018 alongside the dedicated and insightful readers on the committee. Everything came into focus when we selected these two very powerful Andrew Carnegie Medal winners,” Annie Bostrom, Booklist’s associate editor for adult books and chair of the Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction selection committee, said in a statement. “We think that readers across the country will find the winning titles as affecting and unforgettable as we did.”
The Medals are made possible, in part, by a grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York, and are co-sponsored by ALA's Booklist and the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA). This year's fiction finalists included There There by Tommy Orange and Washington Black by Esi Edugyan, both published by Alfred A. Knopf. 2019 nonfiction finalists included Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company that Addicted America by Beth Macy, published by Little, Brown, and The Line Becomes a River: Dispatches from the Border by Francisco Cantú, published by Riverhead.