Carnegie finalist named MacArthur genius fellow

Karen Russell
Karen Russell

Fiction writer, Karen Russell was named as one of 24 MacArthur “genius” fellows yesterday. The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation awards this annual grant to “encourage people of outstanding talent to pursue their own creative, intellectual, and professional inclinations.”

Russell was a finalist for the 2012 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction for her first novel, Swamplandia!. You can view her humble, enchanting acceptance speech here:

Karen Russell video

The Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction were established in 2012 to recognize the best fiction and nonfiction books for adult readers published in the U.S. the previous year. The shortlisted authors and eventual winners reflect the expert judgment and insight of the seven-member selection committee of library professionals who work closely with adult readers. These are the ALA’s first single-book awards for adult trade fiction and nonfiction.

A shortlist of finalists is drawn from the previous year’s Booklist Editors’ Choice and the Reference and User Services Association‘s (RUSA) Collection Development and Evaluation Section‘s (CODES) Notable Books lists.

The Reference and User Services Association, a division of the American Library Association, represents librarians and library staff in the fields of reference, specialized reference, collection development, readers’ advisory and resource sharing. RUSA is the foremost organization of reference and information professionals who make the connections between people and the information sources, services, and collection materials they need. Learn more about the association at

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