Tartt was honored for her bestselling (and prize-collecting) novel The Goldfinch, an urban epic that begins with a terrorist attack at New York’s Met Museum. Now orphaned, ten-year-old Theo struggles to fend for himself on the streets of Manhattan while maintaining a connection to his deceased mother through a 17th-century painting he stole from the Met during the attack.
Kearns Goodwin’s The Bully Pulpit, an overview of the Progressive Era, won the nonfiction prize. The book details the falling out between former friends and allies Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft, as well as the role of the emerging muckraking press in helping Roosevelt put an end to the excesses of the Gilded Age.
Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction were established in 2012 to recognize the best books in those two genres published in the previous year. The medals are accompanied by a $5,000 cash prize.