In the wake of allegations of sexual misconduct against the author from a multitude of women on and off the record, Native American author Sherman Alexie has declined the prestigious American Library Association’s 2018 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction.
Alexie was announced as the winner and recipient of the coveted literary award on February 11, in Denver, for his book You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me: A Memoir.
Alexie’s publisher, Hachette Book Group, says that they are postponing the paperback edition of the book at Alexie’s request. An emailed official statement to Indian Country Today from a Hachette Book Group spokesperson stated their position.
“We were surprised and troubled to hear the allegations that have recently emerged, and are concerned about the distress this situation has caused so many. We’re encouraged that Sherman Alexie has apologized to those he has hurt and has dedicated himself, as he’s said, to becoming “a healthier man who makes healthier decisions.”
“At Mr. Alexie’s request, we have postponed publication of the paperback edition of You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me. We will be keeping Mr. Alexie’s other books in print,” wrote the spokesperson.
According to an article from Publisher’s Weekly online, “The move by Alexie relieves ALA officials from having to make a tough call.”
The article continued, “Though the Carnegie selection committee had settled on Alexie prior to the misconduct allegations against the author being widely known (the accusations began with anonymous comments posted to a January 3 article on the School Library Journal website), ALA officials were still going to have to decide whether to invite the author to a reception this summer. Carnegie winners typically address librarians and accept their medals at a reception at the ALA Annual Conference, which this year is set for June 21–25 in New Orleans.”
The Carnegie prize was established in 2012, is awarded for fiction and nonfiction. The library association told the Associated Press last week that no nonfiction prize will be given this year. Jennifer Egan’s “Manhattan Beach” was the fiction winner.
Currently there is no date set for any potential paperback release of Alexie’s novel by his publisher.
Follow Indian Country Today’s associate editor and senior correspondent, Vincent Schilling (Akwesasne Mohawk) on Twitter Follow @VinceSchilling