The American Library Association has announced the longlist for the 2021 Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction.

In all, a total of 46 books (26 fiction, 20 nonfiction) were selected, with a six-title shortlist—three each for the fiction and nonfiction medals—to be chosen from the longlist titles and announced on November 17, 2020.

The two medal winners will be announced by selection committee chair Bill Kelly at the Reference and User Services Association’s Book and Media Awards (BMAs) event, which will take place online on February 4, 2021, 3-4pm CST.

When the Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction were first awarded in 2012, ALA leaders hoped to establish an award for adult books that would one day assume the prestige of the association’s historic Newbery and Caldecott awards, the gold standards for kids’ books. Now in its ninth year, the Carnegie Medals have become a coveted literary honor, and the award ceremonies at the ALA annual conference have created some memorable moments, including powerful speeches by winners.

The 2021 longlist includes:


  • Elliot Ackerman, Red Dress in Black and White
  • Ayad Akhtar, Homeland Elegies
  • Brit Bennett, The Vanishing Half
  • Marie-Helene Bertino, Parakeet
  • Louise Erdrich, The Night Watchman
  • Kelli Jo Ford, Crooked Hallelujah
  • Yaa Gyasi, Transcendent Kingdom
  • Julián Herbert, Bring Me the Head of Quentin Tarantino
  • Catherine Lacey, Pew
  • Raven Leilani, Luster
  • Megha Majumdar, A Burning
  • Emily St. John Mandel, The Glass Hotel
  • James McBride, Deacon King Kong
  • Colum McCann, Apeirogon
  • Fernanda Melchor, Hurricane Season
  • David Mitchell, Utopia Avenue
  • Maggie O’Farrell, Hamnet
  • Jenny Offill, Weather
  • Masatsugu Ono, Echo on the Bay
  • Marilynne Robinson, Jack
  • Douglas Stuart, Shuggie Bain
  • Graham Swift, Here We Are
  • Héctor Tobar, The Last Great Road Bum
  • Paul Yoon, Run Me to Earth
  • Charles Yu, Interior Chinatown
  • Bryan Washington, Memorial


  • Rutger Bregman, Humankind: A Hopeful History
  • Karla Cornejo Villavicencio, The Undocumented Americans
  • Barbara Demick, Eat the Buddha: Life and Death in a Tibetan Town
  • Rebecca Giggs, Fathoms: The World in the Whale
  • Michele Harper, The Beauty in Breaking
  • Miles Harvey, The King of Confidence: A Tale of Utopian Dreamers, Frontier Schemers, True Believers, False Prophets, and the Murder of an American Monarch
  • Cathy Park Hong, Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning
  • Jeffrey H. Jackson, Paper Bullets: Two Artists Who Risked Their Lives to Defy the Nazis
  • Robert Kolker, Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American Family
  • Laila Lalami, Conditional Citizens: On Belonging in America
  • Alan Mikhail, God’s Shadow: Sultan Selim, His Ottoman Empire, and the Making of the Modern World
  • Wayétu Moore, The Dragons, the Giant, the Women
  • Les Payne and Tamara Payne, The Dead Are Arising: The Life of Malcolm X
  • Claudia Rankine, Just Us: An American Conversation
  • Jenn Shapland, My Autobiography of Carson McCullers
  • Rebecca Solnit, Recollections of My Nonexistence
  • Patrik Svensson, The Book of Eels: Our Enduring Fascination with the Most Mysterious Creatures in the Natural World
  • Natasha Trethewey, Memorial Drive: A Daughter’s Memoir
  • Isabel Wilkerson, Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents
  • Jia Lynn Yang, One Mighty and Irresistible Tide: The Epic Struggle over American Immigration, 1924–1965

The Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction are made possible 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. The six finalists and two winners will be honored during a celebratory event in the summer of 2021 during ALA's annual conference.