Friday, January 31, 2020

Historical fiction award winners from ALA Midwinter 2020

The American Library Association Midwinter conference took place last weekend in Philly. I'm a bit late in reporting on the book awards there, so without further ado: here are the historical novels that garnered honors at the conference.

On the Reading List for 2020, which selects the best in genre fiction for adult readers:

In the Historical Fiction category, the winner was Lara Prescott's The Secrets We Kept (Knopf), focusing on two women on a secret mission to smuggle Pasternak's manuscript of Dr. Zhivago out of the USSR so it can be published and finally reach readers worldwide.

On the shortlist for Historical Fiction are: City of Flickering Light by Juliette Fay (1920s Hollywood), The Confessions of Frannie Langton by Sara Collins (Georgian London), The Song of the Jade Lily by Kirsty Manning (WWII-era Shanghai), and Where the Light Enters by Sara Donati (late 19th-century NYC).

Also for the Reading List awards, the winner in Fantasy was Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, set in Mexico during the Jazz Age.  The Mystery winner was Alison Sinclair's The Right Sort of Man (see my review), taking place in post-WWII London.

On to the ALA Notable Books for 2020, which (in the Fiction category) are principally novels of a literary bent. Those receiving accolades include:

Ta-Nehisi Coates, The Water Dancer (slavery in 19th-c America)
Michael Crummey, The Innocents (19th-century Newfoundland)
Colson Whitehead, The Nickel Boys (Jim Crow-era Florida)

Among the winners of the Alex Awards, adult books suitable for young adults, was Dominicana by Angie Cruz, an immigrant story set in 1960s New York.  The Nickel Boys appears on the winners' list here, too.


  1. I was interested to see that the Kirsty Manning book made the shortlist, and happy for Sara Donati too!

    I only heard about Gods of Jade and Shadows recently but the cover did catch my eye!

  2. I'm looking forward to reading all three. Donati's The Gilded Hour was very good!