Books

Ta-Nehisi Coates's debut novel The Water Dancer among finalists for U.S. Carnegie Medal

The $5,000 U.S. prize is presented by the American Library Association and annually recognizes the best fiction and nonfiction published in the U.S.
The Water Dancer is a novel by Ta-Nehisi Coates. (One World)

Ta-Nehisi Coates' first novel, The Water Dancer, is among the finalists for the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence.

The $5,000 U.S. prize is presented by the American Library Association and annually recognizes the best fiction and nonfiction published in the U.S.

The Water Dancer tells the story of Hiram Walker, who is born into bondage in Virginia. His father is plantation owner Howell Walker and his mother is Rose, who has been sold away. After almost drowning, Hiram resolves to escape from the Deep South and becomes involved with the Underground. 

It was selected as the first book for the latest iteration of Oprah's book club, which is a partnership with Apple.

Three titles were shortlisted in both the fiction and nonfiction categories. 

The other fiction finalists are Lost Children Archive by Valeria Luiselli and Feast Your Eyes by Myla Goldberg.

In Lost Children Archive, a family road trip from New York to Arizona grows increasingly tense as news of an "immigration crisis" at the U.S.-Mexico border breaks over the radio. 

From Mexico and New York, and many places in between, a conversation with the virtuoso young writer, Valeria Luiselli. The National Book Foundation named her one of its “5 Under 35” award. An exciting new voice and original sensibility. 52:44

Feast Your Eyes is a novel about an ambitious female photographer trying to balance her career with family in the 1950s.

In the nonfiction category, the finalists are Figuring by Maria Popova, The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee by David Treuer and Midnight in Chernobyl by Adam Higginbotham.

The winners will be announced Jan. 26, 2020.

The prize has been given since 2012. Previous fiction winners include Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan, The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead and The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. 

Previous nonfiction winners include Heavy by Kiese Laymon and Hold Still by Sally Mann.

No Canadians have won the prize. Esi Edugyan was nominated in 2019 for the novel Washington Black.

With files from the Associated Press.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.