The American Library Association on Sunday announced the winners of the 2022 Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction. Tom Lin won the fiction honor for The Thousand Crimes of Ming Tsu (Little, Brown) and Hanif Abdurraqib won the nonfiction honor for A Little Devil in America: Notes in Praise of Black Performance (Random House).
The selections were announced at the Reference and User Services Association's Book and Media Awards (BMAs) virtual event held January 23 during the ALA’s inaugural LibLearnX winter event.
Lin’s award-winning novel follows Ming Tsu as he seeks to find and kill the men who beat him, stole his wife, and sentenced him to 10 years of forced labor building the Central Pacific Railroad. The ALA judges called Lin’s “beautifully imagined first novel” a “transcendent epic.” The New York Times praised Lin for reimagining the American Western by "centering the story on people who helped build the West but have often been erased from its mythology."
Blending pop-culture essays, memoir, and poetry, Abdurraqib’s nonfiction winner delves into "the many iterations of Black artistic expression through an often deeply personal lens," reads an ALA release. In a starred review, PW called the book a “staggeringly intimate meditation” that “shines a light on how Black artists have shaped—and been shaped by—American culture.” Abdurraqib graced the cover of PW’s 2021 Best Books issue.
The 2022 fiction finalists also included Kirstin Valdez Quade for The Five Wounds (Norton) and Lauren Groff for Matrix (Riverhead).
The 2022 nonfiction finalists also included Ibram X. Kendi and Keisha N. Blain for Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America, 1619–2019 (One World) and Kristen Radtke for Seek You: A Journey through American Loneliness (Pantheon Books).
“Congratulations to both Medalists for gifting readers with essential antidotes to the polarizing challenges we continue to face,” said Terry Hong, chair of the selection committee for the 2022 Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence. “Amidst the alarming spikes of violent anti-Asian hate, The Thousand Crimes of Ming Tsu is a brilliantly fictionalized reclamation of Asian American history. Meanwhile, A Little Devil in America stupendously asserts crucial expressions of Black American performance. Both provide irrefutable evidence of a nation that has been diverse for centuries.” Hong added.
The Carnegie Medals, established in 2012, have become a coveted literary honor. The first single-book awards for adult books given by the American Library Association, the honors reflect the expert judgment and insight of library professionals and booksellers who work closely with adult readers.
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). Winners will each receive $5,000 and will be honored at a celebratory event at ALA's 2022 Annual Conference in June.