Andrew Carnegie Medals 2020 Finalists

Six finalists, three fiction and three nonfiction, for the 2020 Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction were announced November 4.

The two medal winners will be announced on January 26, 2020, at the Reference and User Services Association’s Book and Media Awards event at the American Library Association Midwinter Meeting & Exhibits in Philadelphia. Carnegie Medal winners will each receive $5,000.


One of the finalists includes an element of the fantastic:

Ta-Nehisi Coates
The Water Dancer
One World, an imprint of Random House, a division of Penguin Random House LLC

Hiram Walker is the son of an enslaved woman and her slave master, owner of a prominent Virginia estate. When Hiram is nearly killed in a drowning accident, he detects an amazing gift he cannot understand or harness. He travels between worlds, gone but not gone, and sees his mother, Rose, who was sold away when he was a child. Despite this astonishing vision, he cannot remember much about Rose. His power and his memory are major forces that propel Hiram into an adulthood filled with the hypocrisy of slavery, including the requisite playacting that flavors a stew of complex relationships….

The other two finalists are

Myla Goldberg
Feast Your Eyes
Scribner, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

Valeria Luiselli
Lost Children Archive
Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Penguin Random House LLC


Two of the three Nonfiction finalists address topics in the realm of science.

Maria Popova
Pantheon Books, a division of Penguin Random House LLC

Maria Popova brings her zest for facts and passion for biography to this exhilarating and omnivorous inquiry into the lives of geniuses who “bridged the scientific and poetic,” spinning a fine web connecting such barrier-breakers as Margaret Fuller, Ada Lovelace, Frederick Douglass, and Rachel Carson.

Adam Higginbotham
Midnight in Chernobyl: The Untold Story of the World’s Greatest Nuclear Disaster
Simon & Schuster

Adam Higginbotham has created a thoroughly researched, fast-paced, engrossing, and revelatory account of what led up to and what followed the explosion of Reactor Four at the Chernobyl nuclear-power plant on April 26, 1986, focusing on the people involved as they faced shocking circumstances that are having complex and significant global consequences.

The third finalist is:

David Treuer
The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America from 1890 to the Present
Riverhead Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC

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