Esi Edugyan continues to be celebrated on the literary awards circuit. Her third novel, Washington Black (Patrick Crean Editions), is a finalist for the 2019 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction. She was shortlisted alongside Rebecca Makkai’s The Great Believers (Viking), a novel set against the backdrop of the AIDS epidemic, and Tommy Orange’s There There (McClelland & Stewart), about an eclectic group of characters travelling to the Big Oakland Powwow.
The Victoria-based Edugyan’s Washington Black, about an 11-year-old slave who escapes from Barbados to America aboard a hot-air balloon, has been a reliable presence on many literary shortlists, including the Man Booker Prize, Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, and the Scotiabank Giller Prize. The Carnegie Medal winners will be announced at an awards event in Seattle on Jan. 27. The winner will receive $5,000.
Three finalists were also announced in the non-fiction category: Francisco Cantú’s The Line Becomes A River (Riverhead Books), a memoir of Cantú’s time working along the Mexican border with the U.S. Border Patrol; Kiese Laymon’s Heavy (Scribner), in which the author recalls his traumatic youth and subsequent disordered eating; and Beth Macy’s Dopesick (Little, Brown, and Company) about the American opioid crisis.