Colson Whitehead and Matthew Desmond Awarded the 2017 Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction

The Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction were announced tonight at the American Library Association’s Midwinter conference in Atlanta. The winners are The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead, for excellence in fiction, and Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American Cityby Matthew Desmond, for excellence in nonfiction. Read the Booklist reviews of the winners below.


The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead

In this magnetizing and wrenching saga, Whitehead tells the story of smart and resilient Cora, a young third-generation slave on a Georgia cotton plantation, who flees with a young man who knows how to reach the Underground Railroad. Hard-driving, laser-sharp, artistically superlative, and deeply compassionate, Whitehead’s unforgettable odyssey adds a clarion new facet to the literature of racial tyranny and liberation.

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colson whithead underground railroad carnegie award


Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City, by Matthew Desmond

Harvard professor Desmond takes a compelling look at home evictions in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, one of America’s most segregated cities.  Desmond’s natural storytelling style easily moves from engaging narrative to straight reporting. He does a marvelous job exposing these harrowing stories of people who find themselves in bad situations, shining a light on how eviction sets people up to fail.

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matthew desmond evicted carnegie award


To learn more about the Carnegie medals and the winners this year, click here and visit



About the Author:

Eugenia Williamson is the Associate Editor of Digital Products at Booklist. She worked in bookstores for twelve years, reviews books for The Boston Globe, and writes about books, culture, and politics for several other publications. Follow her on Twitter at @Booklist_Genie.

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