Recent Literary Award Winners and Finalists

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Bookselling This Week has compiled a list of literary award winners and finalists announced over the past week, including the 2016 Kirkus Prize finalists; the longlist for the Andrew Carnegie fiction and nonfiction medals; National Book Foundation honorees; National Humanities Medal winners; and Dayton Literary Peace Prize finalists.

And the winners (and finalists) are…

2016 Kirkus Prize Finalists

The finalists for the third annual Kirkus Prize in the categories of fiction, nonfiction, and young readers’ literature were announced this week. Writers become eligible for the prize by receiving a starred review in Kirkus Reviews.

A panel of judges composed of writers, booksellers, librarians, and Kirkus critics select the Kirkus Prize finalists and winners.

The winners, who will receive $50,000 each, will be announced at a special ceremony in Austin, Texas, on November 3.

The 2016 Kirkus Prize finalists are:


  • Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance (Harper) 
  • The Black Presidency by Michael Eric Dyson (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
  • At the Existentialist Café by Sarah Bakewell (Other Press)
  • Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond (Crown)
  • In the Darkroom by Susan Faludi (Metropolitan Books)
  • Truevine by Beth Macy (Little, Brown)


  • Imagine Me Gone by Adam Haslett (Little, Brown)
  • The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead (Doubleday)
  • Carousel Court by Joe McGinniss Jr. (Simon & Schuster)
  • The Sport of Kings by C.E. Morgan (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
  • Barkskins by Annie Proulx (Scribner)
  • A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles (Viking)

Young Readers’ Literature

  • Burn Baby Burn by Meg Medina (Candlewick)
  • Thunder Boy Jr. by Sherman Alexie, illustrated by Yuyi Morales (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)
  • Freedom Over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life by Ashley Bryan (Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books)
  • We Will Not Be Silent: The White Rose Student Resistance Movement that Defied Adolf Hitler by Russell Freedman (Clarion Books)
  • As Brave as You by Jason Reynolds (Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books)
  • The Reader by Traci Chee (G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers)

2016 Andrew Carnegie Medals for Fiction and Nonfiction Longlist

Forty-seven books — 24 fiction and 23 nonfiction — make up the newly announced longlist for the 2016 Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction, which is now available on the awards’ website.

The six-title shortlist — three each for the fiction and nonfiction medals — chosen from these titles will be announced on October 26. The two medal winners will be revealed on January 22, 2017, at the American Library Association Midwinter Meeting.

The Medals and the lists leading up to the selection of the winners can be widely used as a guide to quality reading material. The timing of the announcements now aligns with other major adult book awards and potential holiday sales. 

The Andrew Carnegie Medals selection committee includes an assortment of library professionals as well as a bookseller member of the American Booksellers Association, Sheryl Cotleur, the frontlist adult titles buyer for Copperfield’s Books in California. The Medals are funded through a grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York and are cosponsored and administered by the American Library Association’s Booklist and Reference and User Services Association.

National Book Foundation Honorees

The National Book Foundation (NBF), which annually administers the National Book Awards, recently announced the winners of two special awards.

NBF’s 2016 Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community was awarded to Cave Canem, a writers’ center that promotes the work of African American poets and writers through retreats, workshops, and prizes. Traditionally presented to individuals who have expanded the audience for literature in America, this is the first time the $10,000 Literarian Award will be presented to an organization.

The Foundation also awarded Robert A. Caro its 2016 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters (DCAL), a lifetime achievement award for exceptional work and significant impact on American literature. An acclaimed biographer, Caro is the author of The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York (Knopf) and the multivolume biography The Years of Lyndon Johnson (Knopf).

Caro and Cave Canem founders Cornelius Eady and Toi Derricotte will receive their awards at the National Book Awards Ceremony and Benefit Dinner on November 16.

National Humanities Medals Winners

President Obama has announced the 12 new recipients of the 2015 National Humanities Medal, a list that includes authors Rudolfo Anaya, Ron Chernow, Louise Gluck, James McBride, Louis Menand, Elaine Pagels, Abraham Verghese, and Isabel Wilkerson.

The 2015 recipients also feature a physician, a historian, a chef, and a higher education program. President Obama will award the Medals in conjunction with the National Medal of Arts during a White House ceremony on September 22, which will stream live at   

Dayton Literary Peace Prize Finalists

The finalists for the 2016 Dayton Literary Peace Prize were announced last week. The award is given for outstanding fiction and nonfiction books published in 2015 that promote peace and non-violent conflict resolution.

Finalists for the award, which was inspired by the 1995 Dayton Peace Accords that ended the war in Bosnia, will be reviewed by a judging panel of prominent writers. A winner and runner-up in both fiction and nonfiction will be announced on October 11. Winners receive a $10,000 honorarium, and runners-up receive $2,500.

The 2016 finalists in the fiction category are:

  • A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara (Doubleday)
  • Delicious Foods by James Hannaham (Back Bay Books)
  • Green on Blue by Elliot Ackerman (Scribner)
  • Orhan’s Inheritance by Aline Ohanesian (Algonquin Books)
  • The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen (Grove Press)
  • Youngblood by Matt Gallagher (Atria)

The 2016 finalists in the nonfiction category are:

  • Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates (Spiegel & Grau)
  • Find Me Unafraid by Kennedy Odede and Jessica Posner (Ecco)
  • Nagasaki by Susan Southard (Viking)
  • Showdown: Thurgood Marshall and the Supreme Court Nomination That Changed America by Wil Haygood (Knopf)
  • The Reason You Walk by Wab Kinew (Viking)
  • The Train to Crystal City by Jan Jarboe Russell (Scribner)