Darrin Bell’s The Talk (Holt) and Jocelyne Allen’s translation of Susumu Higa manga Okinawa (Fantagraphics/Mangasplaining Extra) have been longlisted for the Non-Fiction 2024 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence, marking another year of inroads for graphic novels in this prestigious adult literary award.

The Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence, the only ALA award for single-titles directed toward an adult readership, is split between fiction and adult non-fiction categories. This year’s Medal for Excellence featured 21 fiction and 24 nonfiction titles – 45 books in all – of which two graphic novels managed to make the cut.

 2024 Andrew Carnegie

The Talk, an intimate graphic memoir about anti-blackness and police brutality in modern America; and Okinawa, in which the author muses on the modern history of the Japanese island, are the third wave of graphic novels to make the Medal of Excellence longlist. These titles follow in the wake of 2022’s Fiction longlisted Keum Suk Gendry-Kim graphic novel The Waiting (translated by Janet Hong, published by Drawn & Quarterly), plus 2023 Non-Fiction longlisters Emma Grove’s The Third Person and Kate Beaton’s Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands (both also published by Drawn & Quarterly). While no graphic novel has yet made it to finalist, this remains a solid achievement of recognition for the medium.

The six-title shortlist will be declared November 14, 2023, with the winners in the announced at the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) Book & Media Awards on January 20, 2024 during the Baltimore LibLearnX weekend.

2024 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence Selection Committee Chair Aryssa Damron said about this year’s picks:

“Our committee relished this amazing opportunity to read together and discuss so many amazing titles. With almost two decades of award committee experience between us all, we were continually excited to have this opportunity for reflection on our reading and to push ourselves to read further and wider than ever before. This long list represents the tireless work of these professionals who have truly bonded this past year over our love of books and our immense awe at each other’s ability to provide such nuanced engagement with each and every title that came across our desks. Chairing this astounding group of readers has been the joy of a lifetime as a leader and as a reader.”

The annual selection committee is usually comprised of Booklist editors or contributors, members of RUSA’s CODES Notable Books Council, plus a representative of the American Booksellers Association. The committee for this year was:

  • Aryssa Damron, Librarian for the District of Columbia Public Library [2024 Selection Committee Chair]
  • Montoya Barker, Special Collections Librarian, Indianapolis (Ind.) Public Library
  • Lillian Dabney, Adult Services Librarian, Seattle (Wash.) Athenaeum;
  • Marlene Harris, Reviewer, Reading Reality LLC;
  • Audrey I-Wei Huang, Bookseller, Belmont Books in Belmont, Massachusetts;
  • Laurie Unger Skinner, Librarian, Vernon Hills, Illinois;
  • Hana Zittel, Community Outreach Manager, Denver (Colo.) Public Library

The Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence has been awarded annually to adult works of fiction and non-fiction in the United States since 2012. It is co-sponsored and administered by the American Library Association publication Booklist and RUSA, with the Carnegie Corporation serving as main sponsor. While having a similar name, the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence is not to be confused with the United Kingdom’s long-established children’s Carnegie Medal for Writing, which began in 1936.