NEW YORK (AP) — Novelist Julie Otsuka has strong memories of a California library from an early age. The soft, firm sound of a librarian closing a book. A shopping bag that she and her friends will fill with her sci-fi and other stories.
“I was like living in a library,” she says. “I was free to explore it, away from adult eyes.”
The library world also has warm feelings for Mr. Otsuka. In her novel “The Swimmers,” a group of swimmers collectively narrate their daily lives and what happens when those routines are disrupted, she received her $5,000 honor from the American Library Association. She has won the Carnegie Award for Excellence in Fiction for her. Ed Yong’s “An Immense World: How Animal Senses Reveals the Hidden Realms Around Us” won the non-fiction medal with a prize of $5,000.
“Julie Otsuka balances the incredible vitality of community life with the myriad challenges faced by individuals and families within that community to create a narrative,” said Stephen Sposato, chair of the medal selection committee. I am proving to be a master of the voice of the world,” he said.
“And Ed Yong, who also stood out in the recent Golden Age of Nature’s writings, pondered the many modes of sensory perception that life has evolved to navigate the world, with a refreshing freshness. It is written in and catches the eye.”
Otsuka, 60, also wrote the 2011 PEN/Faulkner Prize-winning novel Buddha in the Attic. and “When the Emperor Was a God”. Her other honors include her Guggenheim Fellowship and the Literature Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Yong, 41, a Malaysian native who moved to the UK as a teenager, is a staff writer at The Atlantic. He won the 2021 Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. Like Otsuka, Yung was influenced early on by libraries. “For me, the library was, strangely enough, a gateway to the natural world as an indoor space,” he told the Associated Press. “As a child, I spent a lot of time reading books to expand my knowledge and love of nature.
The Carnegie Medal was established in 2012 with a grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York. Past winners include James McBride, Doris Kearns Goodwin and Matthew Desmond.