The American Library Association has awarded the 2017 Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction to Colson Whitehead for The Underground Railroad," and Matthew Desmond for Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City. The selections were announced on Sunday, January 22, at the ALA Midwinter Meeting in Atlanta, with an official award ceremony to come this summer, at the ALA annual conference, set for Chicago.

On the fiction side, Whitehead’s, The Underground Railroad (Doubleday) tells the story of a young third-generation slave who escapes the brutality of a Georgia cotton plantation and seeks sanctuary throughout the terrorized South. A starred PW review called the book “literature at its finest and history at its most barbaric, and “required reading for every American citizen.”

On the nonfiction side, Desmond’s Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City shares the stories of eight families who find themselves facing home evictions in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. A starred PW review call the book an “outstanding ethnographic study” girded by “gripping storytelling and meticulous research.”